Discover travel destinations of travelers writing a travel journal on FindPenguins.

2 travelers at this place

  • Day20

    Day 20: Down to Ronda

    March 7, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Time to pack up and leave Lucena after an interesting week! Spent the morning cleaning the house and packing, before our hosts arrived back from their week in Belgium around midday. Had a brief chat with them before we headed off to Malaga where we had to return our car.

    Had a bit of difficulty finding a petrol station to fill up, and then again finding the proper entrance to the carpark at the main train station where the rental car office was. Eventually we managed everything, and dropped the car off with no problems. We had an hour to kill before picking up the next rental car from a different agency, and conveniently it was lunchtime so we headed upstairs to check out our options. Out of Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and McDonalds we opted for the latter. They actually have some special localised items which are quite reasonable - Shandos had one with camembert, caramelised onion and sweet peppers!

    Back downstairs to the rental office where our expected VW Golf wasn't available - they gave us a brand new Mercedes A200 instead! Nice. Though it's much smaller than the old car, it's also essentially brand new (about 1200km on the clock) and worth a lot of money, so I'm terrified of scratching it!

    Navigated our way out of Malaga with some difficulty again - too many one-way streets and confusing directions from Google! Finally escaped the city and headed south-west into the countryside to our next destination, Ronda. This is a small town that's very well known in Andalusia for a very tall stone bridge between the two halves of town on separate sandstone pinnacles.

    Our Airbnb accomodation was a farmhouse about 10 minutes out of town, so we headed their first. The proprietor, a friendly English expat named Will, was actually unaware of our booking as he'd been offline for a few days: one of his dogs had eaten a dangerous spiked caterpillar and was having surgery to get a partial tongue amputation. Poor thing! Will keep a close eye on Schnitzel here.

    Thankfully our room was ready anyway and we settled in before heading into Ronda for some dinner (it was 7pm by this stage). Had a wander around and watched the sunset from a clifftop adjacent to the giant stone bridge, then headed for the various plazas to eat. First up we had some paella and a beverage from one place on a square popular with families, then we headed for a quiet side-street and a small tapas bar where we had more delicious food. Beef cheek in red wine was the highlight, closely followed by a sheep's milk cheese. Great prices too, will definitely be back!

    Squeezed the car out of the carpark (though I put a tiny scratch in the front bumper navigating to the ticket machine, stupid Spaniards put it at the outside of the furthest apex of the corner, so it was almost impossible to reach the machine from inside your car). Dang. It's only tiny, hopefully the rental company don't notice. Back to the farmhouse where we used our enormous clawfoot bath to rinse off and relax! Will had said there was good star-gazing from our balcony, but unfortunately it's only a few days from the full moon so the starts were mostly blotted out. Maybe next time!
    Read more

  • Day21

    Day 21: Exploring Ronda

    March 8, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Second day in the area and a good chance to check things out more closely. Had breakfast in our farmhouse around 9:30, then headed off to the nearby town of Arriate. It's a bit closer than Ronda though in a different direction. Very pretty but not quite as nice. Definitely not as touristy though! We found a parking space and just wandered around for a while, enjoying the quiet and the snapshots of small Spanish village life.

    Lots of white houses with arched windows and orange terracotta roofing, the typical European three-storey buildings with apartments above shops, and of course the centuries-old church as the tallest building in town. After a good wander we returned to the car and pressed on.

    Next stop was an ancient Roman theatre we'd read about, about 30 minutes drive out of Ronda. Off we went, up the long and winding road and with absolutely nobody around. We arrived to find the site closed and the gate locked, though we were at the end of a long road. With no cameras or people to be seen, and only a low fence stopping us, we clambered over and set off up the hill to the Roman theatre.

    It was extremely impressive, probably 10 metres high and about 30 across, still with the amphitheatre seating intact as well. You could clearly make out the stage, the proscenium arch and the access points on either side for the crowd. Strikingly well-preserved! It was also epically situated on top of a high hill, very near the edge of a cliff. There were large piles of rubble around that were clearly remains of houses and the old Roman settlement. Not sure what the plan is, as the piles looked man-made and the site generally had only been "discovered" in the 19th century.

    There was also the foundations and bases of Roman baths in a different part of the site which we had a good look at too. After an hour or so of looking we took our leave, and just in time as I spotted another car approached as we scaled the fence. Thankfully it wasn't police, just more tourists who only saw us on the correct side of the fence! Back into town we went.

    This time rather than risk another scratch to the car we parked on the outskirts of Ronda and walked in, looking for somewhere to eat. Decided against quite a few places and ended up at the same tapas restaurant as the previous evening where the food was just as good second time round! The waiter recognised us as well and greeted us warmly. It's interesting to see here that waiters and hospitality workers are professionals, in a way that they aren't in Australia. Waiting tables and tending bars in Oz tends to be seen as a uni student or backpacker job, a stepping stone on the way to getting a "real job". Not here though!

    Did some more looking around Ronda, though aside from touristy souvenir shops there isn't much else to see. Wandered along the clifftop walk for a while which ended abruptly in a locked gate - disappointing. Back to the car where we drove down a very rough and narrow track to the bottom of the bridge for a better look.

    I should mention that the bridge is called the Puente Nuevo (literally New Bridge), and it's 98 metres high, 66 metres long and constructed entirely of stone between 1759 and 1793. You can probably guess it's called New Bridge because it replaced the old bridge which collapsed, killing 50 people. Apparently both sides of the Spanish civil war in the 30s used the room under the main walkway as a prison and torture chamber, where the final step usually involved plunging off the span into the rocks 100m below.

    Great views from the bottom though! Seeing it from this perspective drove home how much earlier settlements depended on geography for their livelihoods and security - Ronda is built on a small sandstone plateau for natural defences, and the river flowing through the gorge drove mills and water wheels for agriculture.

    Another long and bone-crunching drive back to the farmhouse (our car definitely isn't set up for bumpy roads!), and a quick pit stop at the supermarket for dinner. We just had some bread with jamon and olive oil for dinner as we'd had a large lunch. I sat in front of the fire and watched Champions League football (Barcelona vs PSG), while Shandos wrote and dozed.
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:


Join us:

FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android

Sign up now