Day 23 – Ronda

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With yesterday being as much of a non day as it was, partly due to our exhaustion and partly due to the weather (I forget, did I mention the weather yesterday? The mist was so thick we weren’t aware of the gardens across the road from our apartment till this morning!) we were very happy to find that today’s weather forcast was wrong and not only did it not rain all day but it was in fact rather hot!

After breakfast we drove away from tourist riddled Benalmadena (near Malaga) and the coast line and made our way inland to the town of Ronda. We took the scenic route there and scenic it was. Inland Spain certainly ‘feels’ a lot more Spanish! Beautiful, dry landscapes, mountains, rundown villas, ruins, rock formations, stunning modern villas, olive groves and terraced fields kept us entertained on the +- 100 km drive.

Ronda is divided in to two parts, Old and New and the two are separated by a huge bridge called Puente Nuevo over an equally huge gorge. We walked across the bridge and along the edge of the cliff stunned at such a fantasic view in the middle of ‘town’. We then went in to the Bullfighting ring which was the first to have fighters fight without being on horseback (i.e modern bullfighting) Unfortunately for us, although not for the bulls, fights only happen once a year now, in early September, which we missed. We walked around the grounds, seats and museum within the ring, and the stables etc outside.

A few days ago, I somehow hurt my foot and sprained my big toe, so when Edu, Simryn and Martin decided to climb down the gorge to take pictures of the bridge from the bottom, I went to Ronda’s wine museum instead. It was a really exciting experience, actually, with the little bits they translated in to English and the even smaller bits of Spanish I could piece together.

At the end of my walk through the twelve informative rooms, I went in to the courtyard for my tasters. The lady gave me five 100 ml wines: A local red wine produced in their cellars, very dry but good, a local sherry that tasted a little too much like Aquadent ( otherwise known as Portuguese Fire Water, a totally different story!) for my liking, and three delicious desert wines, one sweeter than the other. I chatted to a German couple about South African wines at the time and was really pleased I had stopped in there.

We took the highway back towards Benalmadena, a quick dip in the ocean and a kilogram of calamari for dinner.

As much as we loved Ronda, and I’m sure we’ll go back, I have to admit that the Costa Del Sol itself is too packed with holiday flats and tourists for me, and I think we’re all agreed, this is one of those places you go once to see what the fuss was about then leave as fast as you can to somewhere beautiful and intruiging, like Ronda.

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