Long Trip number 4, Ronda and Sierra Grazalema
We had long wanted
to visit Ronda, famous for the gorge that split the town in two and for
it's historic connection to the roots of bullfighting. The trip didn't
last for more than 4 days, and Ronda fulfilled all our expectations.
Fuente de Piedra and Garganta del Chorro
The trip started with a long go directly to Antequera,
a fuel stop, and onwards to Fuente de Piedra. The lake is famous for
its flamingos. The weather was warm along the coast and got hotter as
we climbed into the mountains. We had invested in safety trousers after
the accident, and these got pretty warm. The temperature was around
30 deg. Celsius and we circled the lake doing no more than 40-50km/h.
Sweat poured down our legs as we watched thousands of flamingos in a
distance, a pretty sight. We lunched in the town before heading south
towards Garganta del Chorro. The road led us through a beautiful landscape
and we stopped for coffie in the village of Valle de Abdalajis. The
restaurant was crowded with all generations, celebrating a birthday
of some sort, and we were invited to sit down and have a drink. Alcohol
was not in our minds in the heat but we relaxed and cooled off with
an icecream and water. The kids gathered around the bike asking the
regular question of 'Quanto corre?' - 'How fast can it go?'. One of
the kids wanted to buy the bike, but had no money with him, so we said
kindly good-bye and drove into the sun again.
From here we took the short road directly over to el Chorro,
a narrow road partly disappeared from heavy rain that goes through another
lovely valley. Finally it dives into the steep hills surrounding el
Chorro. The mountain sides goes
straight into the dam and la Garganta - the throat, showed itself at
the far end of the gorge. This narrow passage is no more than 10m across,
a hundred odd meters high and goes on for seven kilometers, a river
running through it. There's a railroad bridge crossing high up in the
gorge and a passage way clinging to the mountain side which looks like
it's going to fall down any moment. Some hikers still walk this construction,
adventure seekers or suicide candidates, I don't know.
Sierra de Ardales was the next stop, were two dams meet
making up the two embalses or lakes Guadalteba and Conde de Guadalhorce.
This is a recreation area with lots of spots to camp and swim.
After relaxing in the shadow of a tree we headed for
Ronda. It was close to night time and after some searching we ended
up at hotel Hermanos Macios, right in the center of town. The town is
famous for beeing the craddle of modern bull-fighting and has one of
Spains oldest bull-rings, dating back to 1785. The ring was next to
our hotel, and the first visit the next day. We got there before the
hords of tourists that comes in buses from the coast, and had it pretty
much to our selfs the first hour. Having just read Hemningways 'Death
in the afternoon' we spent a lot of time in the museum looking at pictures
and tales of bullfighters.
The town is divided by the most impressing
gorge we had ever seen, two hundred meter deep with straight walls into
the river Guadalevin. The Puente Nuevo - the new bridge - is at the
highest point and over two hundred years old. It took forty years to
build and the architect was one of the first victims, dropping over
the edge when he tried to reach his hat, lost while inspecting the construction.
Later a lot of people were pushed into the ravine in executions and
horses that died in the bullfight were thrown in there to rot down in
the river. Nowadays it's a major touristattraction and that's very understandable.
The rest of the day was spent walking around the old town and taking
the bike circling the edge of the town.
This was Bentes 30 birthday and we went for a better dinner
in the night. We ate at restaurant Pedro Romero just by the bull-ring
and headed for any open bar on a Monday. The town was close to dead
but we ended up in a half empty joint, playing triple-dart with one
of the locals. We got a little drunk and went happy and singing back
to the hotel at about four in the morning.
The next day started very slow with a late breakfast
and relaxing in the room before with took the bike out of the garage
and headed for Sierra Grazalema. This is Spains wettest area and therefore
the greenest. It remainded us of Norway in summer. The trip took us
to the village of Grazalema, onwards to Ubrique, Prado del Rey and Zahara
de la Sierra. The latter became one of our favourite villages so far
in this country. It lies high up in the hill, overlooking Embalse de
los Hurones, and seems untouched by tourism. A lot of peope visit this
place, but at least it's not crowded by foreigners living there.
Another trip over
In the evening we were to tired to do anything but eat and go to bed,
with an apponitment the next day in Malaga in mind. It was time for
the 10000km revision, which also included fixing some minor things on
the bike from the last drop. We left Ronda early in the morning and
headed south along the beautiful road that leads to San Pedro by the
coast and onwards to Malaga. We were back in Nerja in the afternoon.