Tuesday 17th May: Rock scramble day.
It was fairly quiet on the streets at 8 am for our morning walk and it was lovely to view the main sites again but, this time, without all the crowds.
The plan for the day was to take the Hotel’s suggested 90 minute guided walk, stop for a bit of lunch before taking another scenic walk during the 2-5pm Siesta period.
Ronda is situated about 750 meters above sea level in the Serrania de Ronda mountains with the deep El Tajo canyon having been carved out by the Guadalevin River creating spectacular vistas from various points around the town. It is one of the oldest towns in Spain with its origins extending back to prehistoric times but it was the Moorish occupation that has given the town most of its character with the old Medina walls still evident in many areas. The same population pattern applies here though as with many of the stops on our journey: Roman occupation followed by the Moors and then the Christian Re-conquest of 1485.
The Hotel’s suggested guided walk took us past many of the key historic areas but three hours had passed and we hadn’t still hadn’t covered all of the stops. At one point a supposed ‘5 min stroll’ was actually a 30 minute walk down a steep incline and, then, a tough hike back up! I think I might offer to help edit their Walking Guide Map! We eventually ended up at the southern edge of the Old Town but had planned to stop in this area for lunch anyway as this was near where we’d start our next walk. Our Tapas lunch was at Restaurant San Francisco and this was just outside the lower gate of the Old Town. The gate here being a mixture of both 8th Century Moorish and 12th Century construction. The lunch was great and Mark noted his coffee was the best he’d had for a while. I did think of Susan Scarf though as a cat was rather persistent with scratching me for food. It was rather fussy too and over-looked the prawn omelet for just some prawn tails.
With lunch completed, we had gathered up some more energy to embark on a scenic walk below the city limits to capture a good view of Puente Nuevo. This was suggested as an easy 60 min walk by the Hotel Concierge but this, too, ended up being a winding steep walk down the outside of the city walls and, what do you know, we were then back near the point of the morning descent but…we were even lower! Thus, the climb back up was even longer and required scrambling on all fours in certain sections. That was me done for the day with exercise and so we headed back to the hotel to rest up and shower before venturing out for dinner.
We headed out at about 5pm and wandered the streets for more shopping before heading to Hotel Montelirio for dinner. This restaurant faced west over the gorge and offered great sunset views throughout dinner as well as great food. The best I’ve had so far on the trip!