April 19 Beas Granada -> Ronda -> Cadiz

The fog and drizzle was unpleasant and it was a long drive to Cadiz, so we debated whether or not to visit the ancient town of Ronda. Sheila’s tour book said that it was situated dramatically atop a precipitous cliff and split in two by a deep (100 m plus) gorge. Other than that, I knew nothing of Ronda, but I did know that we would probably never be back this way again and so it was decided. Not far from Antquera, what appeared to be an incomplete elevated carriage way for a highspeed train emerged from the fog. Construction seemed to have been halted for some time, perhaps in response to the country’s financial difficulty. Endless kilometres of mist and drizzle shrouded olives, winter fallow, and forage rolled past our windows, but the weather brightened somewhat as we drove into Ronda. We found parking at the edge what appeared to be an uninspiring regional service centre, but having arrived, we felt obliged to explore. We had no plan and as we walked towards the centre of town, we soon found ourselves embedded, shoulder to shoulder, in a mass of locals jamming the main shopping street. At first we though it must be a festival or some special event, but it was just a normal weekend. It was frenetic and a little claustrophobic. Needing some respite, we ducked into a coffee shop for a really bad pastry and even worse coffee, but recovered, we stepped back into the melee and worked our way down the street. Eventually the crowd thinned and we found ourselves at the tourist information centre, surrounded now by tourists. We picked up a map allowed the flow of tourists to carry us to a vantage point looking over the gorge and the old town. To say that the setting was dramatic is at best an understatement. Perched atop towering cliffs, a multi-tiered, stone-arched bridge spanned the gap between the more modern town and the narrow streets and buildings of the old town. Paths zigzagged their way up and down across the cliff faces, beneath the arches of the bridge we could see the stone retaining walls of roads and terraces on the other side of the bridge. The flow of people and cars carried us across the narrow bridge to the medieval town. Despite the scattered tourists and endless tourist shops, restaurants, and entrance fees, just wandering the streets was amazing. In the popular sections, tourists added life to the town.  they wandered, shopped, and took turns being photographed in front of..., or saw the sights from the plush seats of a horse-drawn carriage. But we found quiet corners and alleys where we could conjure images of the past and listen to the squeak of our sandals on the cobbles and flagstones polished smooth by numberless feet. In the quiet back alleys housekeepers and delivery staff tended to the discreet hotels and pensions. Having failed to find a suitable souvenir in Granada, Sheila was determined to buy some form of ceramic in Ronda so we returned to the shops. Sheila finally found the answer, the numerals 4 and 2, according to the “Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy”, “the answer to life the universe and everything” and also, coincidentally, our house number. Somewhat foot weary, and anxious to get to Cadiz and find a campsite, we left around mid- afternoon feeling that we had only gotten flavour of the town, but realizing that we would need at least another full day to explore just the streets of the old town let alone climb the cliff faces, visit the various paid tourist attractions, or get to know modern Ronda. The Cadiz campsite, actually Playa las Dunas, was across the bay from Cadiz in El Puerto de Santa Maria. We were excited to learn that there was a ferry to Cadiz about a 20 minute walk from the campsite, so that night we checked out the walk to the ferry (closer to 30 minutes at a brisk walk) only to discover that because of high winds, the ferry would not run for the next two days and that a bus would take us in instead. Having anticipated seeing Cadiz harbour from the water, I was disappointed.
Ronda, Andalusia, Spain
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
by David E. Moon
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map
An unfinished elevated railway emerged from the mist. Shopping in the newer Ronda, Andalusia, Spain The Bridge, Ronda, Andalusia, Spain

April 19 Beas Granada -> Ronda -> Cadiz

The fog and drizzle was unpleasant and it was a long drive to Cadiz, so we debated whether or not to visit the ancient town of Ronda. Sheila’s tour book said that it was situated dramatically atop a precipitous cliff and split in two by a deep (100 m plus) gorge. Other than that, I knew nothing of Ronda, but I did know that we would probably never be back this way again and so it was decided. Not far from Antquera, what appeared to be an incomplete elevated carriage way for a highspeed train emerged from the fog. Construction seemed to have been halted for some time, perhaps in response to the country’s financial difficulty. Endless kilometres of mist and drizzle shrouded olives, winter fallow, and forage rolled past our windows, but the weather brightened somewhat as we drove into Ronda. We found parking at the edge what appeared to be an uninspiring regional service centre, but having arrived, we felt obliged to explore. We had no plan and as we walked towards the centre of town, we soon found ourselves embedded, shoulder to shoulder, in a mass of locals jamming the main shopping street. At first we though it must be a festival or some special event, but it was just a normal weekend. It was frenetic and a little claustrophobic. Needing some respite, we ducked into a coffee shop for a really bad pastry and even worse coffee, but recovered, we stepped back into the melee and worked our way down the street. Eventually the crowd thinned and we found ourselves at the tourist information centre, surrounded now by tourists. We picked up a map allowed the flow of tourists to carry us to a vantage point looking over the gorge and the old town. To say that the setting was dramatic is at best an understatement. Perched atop towering cliffs, a multi-tiered, stone-arched bridge spanned the gap between the more modern town and the narrow streets and buildings of the old town. Paths zigzagged their way up and down across the cliff faces, beneath the arches of the bridge we could see the stone retaining walls of roads and terraces on the other side of the bridge. The flow of people and cars carried us across the narrow bridge to the medieval town. Despite the scattered tourists and endless tourist shops, restaurants, and entrance fees, just wandering the streets was amazing. In the popular sections, tourists added life to the town.  they wandered, shopped, and took turns being photographed in front of..., or saw the sights from the plush seats of a horse-drawn carriage. But we found quiet corners and alleys where we could conjure images of the past and listen to the squeak of our sandals on the cobbles and flagstones polished smooth by numberless feet. In the quiet back alleys housekeepers and delivery staff tended to the discreet hotels and pensions. Having failed to find a suitable souvenir in Granada, Sheila was determined to buy some form of ceramic in Ronda so we returned to the shops. Sheila finally found the answer, the numerals 4 and 2, according to the “Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy”, “the answer to life the universe and everything” and also, coincidentally, our house number. Somewhat foot weary, and anxious to get to Cadiz and find a campsite, we left around mid- afternoon feeling that we had only gotten flavour of the town, but realizing that we would need at least another full day to explore just the streets of the old town let alone climb the cliff faces, visit the various paid tourist attractions, or get to know modern Ronda. The Cadiz campsite, actually Playa las Dunas, was across the bay from Cadiz in El Puerto de Santa Maria. We were excited to learn that there was a ferry to Cadiz about a 20 minute walk from the campsite, so that night we checked out the walk to the ferry (closer to 30 minutes at a brisk walk) only to discover that because of high winds, the ferry would not run for the next two days and that a bus would take us in instead. Having anticipated seeing Cadiz harbour from the water, I was disappointed.
Ronda, Andalusia, Spain
A Sense of Place:  Travel, Photography, and Photo-art
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved
Slideshow Slideshow Route Map Route Map
An unfinished elevated railway emerged from the mist. Shopping in the newer Ronda, Andalusia, Spain The Bridge, Ronda, Andalusia, Spain