The change in temperatures between the mornings and afternoons here has finally got to me: I’ve come down with a bad cold, so I’m currently wrapped up in a blanket looking like trash and feeling worse. However, in very exciting news: I had my first Spanish dream this week!! Well, Spanglish. I’d gone back home for Christmas and popped in to work to pick up some last minute Christmas dinner supplies (think it was brussel sprouts or something, but that’s not important), when an old Spanish grandmother needed some help finding chickpeas so I had to step in and translate for her. And that’s it. My first dream in Spanish would be super lame and involve a supermarket…of course.
Anyway, this weekend a friend came to visit and on Saturday we decided to go on a day trip to Ronda in Málaga province. The day began with an early start and a bus from my pueblo into Sevilla. After walking from San Bernardo to Prado and buying our return tickets to Ronda (€24 return, so not the cheapest), we killed some time in the station cafe with a coffee. As soon as we boarded the bus and saw the mix of nationalities, it became clear that the town was going to be crawling with tourists (even now in mid-November!). And to make matters worse, my attempts to sleep on the 1hr 45 min bus journey were thwarted by a dog barking underneath the bus (I felt so sorry for the poor thing – imagine being stuck under a bus for almost two hours!!) and a fellow passenger watching exercise videos juuuuuust loud enough that I could hear them (‘you too can get in shape if you follow this easy 30 day plan’).
After we got off the bus, we somehow navigated our way to the historic centre sans-map and the first port-of-call was the Mirador de Ronda where we were greeted by stunning views out over the landscape and a folk band playing the Skye Boat Song and The Dark Island (what are the chances?!?). The views really were quite spectacular – what a setting for a town! We then ducked in to the tourist information centre to swipe some free maps and made our way to view the main attraction: Puente Nuevo (yes, even though they finished building it in 1793, it’s still called ‘new bridge’). One of three bridges in the town spanning the El Tajo gorge, Puente Nuevo is the tallest, standing 120m above the bottom of the canyon. With sights like this, it’s easy to understand why tourists flock here.
We were feeling especially energetic, so we decided to try and find the path down to get a view of the bridge from below…note: try. We ended up overshooting by quite some way and decided to stop for a cup of tea (#priorities) before eventually finding it. There were no signs (at least, not any we could see), so if you’re in Ronda and pressed for time, I would definitely ask in a cafe or something. Now, if you’re thinking of visiting the town and climbing down to see the bridge, I would seriously recommend wearing a decent pair of shoes because the path was very much off-road (and there were no railings – wouldn’t find that in the UK!!). Not the easiest descent in the world to make in a pair of old, nearly worn-through Skechers but I made it! And just look at the view!!! How beautiful is that!
Twenty or so selfie attempts later (no, seriously), we hiked back up the path and decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch. And what a lunch it was! We stumbled upon a small, cosy restaurant called Santa María with a fantastic menu of the day deal: two courses, including bread, a drink, and dessert (or coffee) for €10,50!! And all delicious home-cooked food too! Despite the wide selection, we both ended up opting for the same thing: starter of lentejas a la rondeña (warming and delicious – exactly what we needed on a cold day) and main of grilled veggies with melted goats cheese. We decided to share desserts: one portion of profiteroles and a slice of chocolate cake. It was genuinely one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten in my life. Cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough!
Post-lunch we wandered the town and browsed the souvenir shops (Ronda seems to be the home of the super cheap postcards), before catching the bus back to Sevilla and then my pueblo. This weekend I also mourned the loss of my iPhone screen. It slipped out of my hand and cracked earlier the week, but had still been working until a teeny tiny piece of glass fell out at some point on Saturday and now it’s completely gubbed. I’ve made an appointment to get it repaired in Sevilla on Monday, so hopefully it pulls through.
No plans yet for next weekend, but hopefully I’ll be over my cold by then and I’ll be able to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, like breathing through my nose. And hopefully I’ll also having a functioning phone. Fingers crossed, folks.