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Spain, Andalucia, Malaga

Ronda - Friday 14th April 2006

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Diary - Top

Ronda day trip. We had a pretty bus ride through the mountains to an interesting historic town. Neil's camera was misbehaving and several excellent views of the deep river gorge in Ronda were not recorded.


We aim for the 9.10 bus to Ronda via San Pedro but discover we need to change. This we do but fail to get on the bus in San Pedro because it is full. We decide to go on by taxi. This was excellent because the driver came from Ronda himself, had a novia in Ronda and explained all about it to us. He dropped us off at the estaje which he had told me was famous but which I had never heard of. I didn't dare admit that I didn't even know what an estaje was. If we had come by bus, we should have gone to the town centre but I doubt if we would have found the estaje. Once we had been dropped off it became obvious what it was - like an étage in French.

We were on a stage or causeway high above a steep gorge dropping down hundreds of feet. It was breath taking. The views from the other side were equally spectacular. The whole town was very picturesque marred only by its ethnic toilets, the smell of which is still with me hours later and back in Estepona. I left my cubicle considerably better than I found it by flushing away the mountains of accumulated shit. The floor was covered with various so called sanitary items but there was little sanitary about them. Give me a prickly bush any day. I look up Gibral but it doesn't mean anything.

We found the railway station and looked up train times but there was none suitable and then made our way back to the bus station and booked a ticket for the 13.30. Then we had a quick lunch in a little square we had seen on our way there before returning to the bus station to catch our bus. Mini sampled the toilets there and they were little if any better than those on the town centre. The ride back was by a different route from the one taken by the taxi so we had a change of scene for the first bit.

The scenery is breath taking all the way - water falls, lakes, mountainsides of bare white rock (limestone?) and tree covered slopes. There was cistus too but still none of the spotted variety. Is this too an Atlantic thing? We eventually got back to San Pedro and Neil noticed a bus sign which seemed to have a cossack (kiosk) behind it. It did and I got tickets home. If we had been proactive this morning, might we have got tickets for Ronda? I did check the terminal building but that was locked - not surprising as it was Good Friday. Although the taxi was not cheap we should not have known about or seen the estaje without it or had the circuit of the town by experiencing the two routes in.

In the church in Ronda we saw the finishing touches being put to the statue which was to be carried through the streets later. It was huge and must have weighed a ton. It was great to see if only briefly the Sierra de las Nieves and to have confirmation that any attempt to do the coast through it would have taken months if indeed it was doable at all.

Now we have reached Málaga, we will enter a more sparsely populated area once more so there will be fewer people about, but the coast remains mountainous and we don't know if there will be any inland ways through it. Google Earth also shows the coastal belt covered by thousands of hectares of plasticos to look forward to.

It was sunny in Ronda but there is a sea fret here an it is chilly. At the highest point in the taxi, the temperature dropped from 21 down to 13 degrees.

Tonight we hope to have supper at The Vine's (sic). Will this be possible? It is and Neil and I order chicken and duck with salsas that Mini will like but she chooses a ratatouille and refuses offers of either. We could have had steaks. It appears that The Vine’s is open six nights a week and we could have gone there on Monday or Tuesday. The owner who is English (dinner as mother makes it?) takes me outside to show me his sign which clearly says closed am but open pm. Is this the same sign as we saw last week? He says it is but I am in doubt because I am sure there was an apostrophe last week and the sign was less well written. The owner is vindicated but I'm right. The sign has definitely been changed. I have a superfluous apostrophe phobia and would not think there wasn’t one when there was!

Our day in the rocky hills reminded Anne of a vacuous geography teacher. The aim of the day was to improve liaison between a local primary and secondary school. All sorts of interesting activities, visits and exchanges could have been planned but no - "please could the primary children be trained not to call rocks, stuns (Norfolk for stones)". Years too late, Anne finally thought of a good put-down. "How come it's called limestone and not lime rock?"

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