Last month, on our last full day in Spain, we decided to drive over the Sierra de las Nieves mountains to Ronda. This town has many important historical sites and facts, including being famous as the birthplace of modern bullfighting. But we didn’t plan on a huge exploration. We had to get up early the next day to begin the trip back to Norway, so planned on just a drive and lunch and short walk to experience an area that was a different environment compared to Marbella and the Costa del Sol where our friend’s house is located and where we’d focused our week.
And that was a good thing: the day of our trip, August 15th, was a holiday in Spain, so many shops were closed … which also meant there weren’t as many people around. Nice!
We had spotty internet at the house, so couldn’t do any research. We weren’t sure what the road would bring and we didn’t know how high we’d go. We had bought a map at the gas station earlier in the week, so found our route, programmed the GPS, and said “let’s go!”
I hadn’t realized how high the route took us! We ascended towards the green mountains, stopping to look back towards the road we were on, the hazy skies, and the Mediterranean that isn’t really discernible in the first two images but I *know* had to be there in the distance.
And then we kept ascending. How high would we go? The road sign told us. The sign behind *it* warned of hielo (ice), but no sightings of that in the middle of the summer! And we drove at that height for a while, passing the tree line, weaving and winding, taking in the differences between Spanish and Norwegian rock. I have to admit that, even with my familiarity of Norwegian mountain roads, the road snaking around the upper mountains made me a little nervous.
And then we began the slight descent into Ronda, catching glimpses of the white buildings glistening in the sun, and the occasional house out away from the village.
We parked and walked a bit in Ronda, enjoyed a light tapas lunch at a restaurant’s outdoor area, then walked a bit more.
And then we took our time on the drive over the mountains back to Marbella, stopping to take photos, appreciating a little more the twisting road and different scenery and topography compared to our accustomed Norwegian views.
One of the first stops was to get a closer look at this. I’m still not sure what it was, aside from an old abandoned building with very unique graffiti, old iron beams, and an engraved rock — and my limited research hasn’t given any answers. Anyone have ideas?
Our journey continued, and I grabbed a couple impressions from the car window.
Stopping to look at this section of the road — after we’d driven it already, twice! — was a little disconcerting for me. My brain *knew* we’d already safely traveled it, and that brain *knew* it was a wide enough road for two cars … but still, the emotional “fear response” kept overruling the brain when, from this angle, it looked like freshly carved mountain and tumbling rocks.
But the closer scenery was a more colorful contrast — and I saw a couple vultures riding the winds above us.
One last shot through the car windows, looking back at the tree-bare mountains we’d just snaked through …
… and, according to the GPS, we were only about fifteen minutes from the house. All in all, a delightful way to spend our last full day in Spain!
(Here is where this part of the world is on the map.)