Trip Start May 27, 2007
37Trip End Sep 01, 2007
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Where I stayed
The bus was on time, as almost all are, and we proceeded to take a new highway up, up, up into the Sierra Nevada mountains. We had great views of the ocean and saw many new luxury developments that were under construction
Upon arrival at the simple bus station in Ronda Lee and I headed downhill towards a hostal recommended in Rick Steveīs. The hostal, the Ronda Sol, had a decent room for only 20€ a night which we snagged. It didnīt appear that many other guests were there so we wouldnīt encounter delays sharing a bathroom.
We wanted to make the most of our time so we headed into the old town to see some sights. The main tourist section of town is very small and easily walkable in only a few minutes. The primary feature of the city is the 18th century Nuevo Puerto (New Bridge) spanning the El Tajo gorge and the Rio Guadalvin 130 meters below. Lee and I peered over the edges of the bridge at the river far below and just admired the builders who could have constructed such a bridge. More interesting to us was the geology that allowed this tiny little river to carve such a huge gorge leaving two huge rock hills on either side that tower over the surrounding plains.
Just across the bridge is the Casa del Rey Moro (House of the Moorish King). Itīs an early 18th century mansion that has an old mine, some neglected gardens and a staircase down to the floor of the El Tajo gorge
Lee and I then took Rick Steveīs walking tour of Ronda. We were continually disoriented in Ronda for some reason. Itīs a tiny place but our sense of direction was off. We saw the handful of other sights in town such as the Old Bridge and the Roman Bridge. From the bridges it is just startling how distinct the boundary is between Ronda and the surrounding farms. Once off the rocky outcropping there were just fields for miles and miles.
Many of the restaurants in Ronda close earlier than is typical in Spain. We found many closed and ended up having Chinese at a passable place. We heard the Eagles sing Hotel California while there which just reminded me that itīs hard to escape the modern world. I can remember also hearing Chris Daughtry singing while I was at an Internet Cafe in Lagos, Portugal.
Our hostal was quiet (except for Leeīs snoring) since we were the only ones there
6/12 Lee decided he wanted to see the famous Pileta Caves outside of town. They are quite difficult to get to and I didnīt think I was up for the trek. The caves are the best look a tourist can get at prehistoric cave paintings in Spain. Lee took a bus from town (he was the only one on the bus!) where the driver was nice enough to stop as close to the caves as he could. Lee then hiked about 4.5 km up. When he arrived there was no one there despite signs saying they opened at 10. As weīve noticed opening late is quite common in Spain and an employee arrived about 11. Lee hooked up with a group from Alabama that had arrived and entered the still primitive cave. There is no electricity so they took lanterns. Lee was able to see some simple paintings of animals that have been dated to more than 20,000 years ago (no photos allowed). Thatīs so hard to imagine since that makes them 5 times older than the Egyptian pyramids! The Alabama family graciously gave Lee a ride back to town.
I wanted a rest day so I just walked through the old Moorish part of Ronda. Thereīs really not much there
I went by an Intersports store where I had seen some clothes that looked like a good value. Itīs a chain of sports stores in Iberia that has decent prices and a good selection. I bought quite a few things which will delay my need to do laundry a little longer. My daily Internet session was longer than normal since I was trying to get caught up. Afterwards I took my book out to the plaza and just read. I was enjoying the great weather and stayed until I finished the book. Iīm trying my best to lighten my backpack so each finished book helps (they either go to Lee or the hostel).
After returning from the cave Lee found a place nearby that gave him an 8€ haircut. I think Iīll let mine grow a little. Dinner was at a Chinese place again. This one gets my award for best restaurant name - Hola! (and a Chinese place no less).
6/13 Weīre off to the train station for a trip to Granada
Our tickets for the Andulucia Express train were only 11.25€ to Granada for the 2 1/2 hour trip. Ronda was a pretty town giving us a look at a different part of Spain.