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Day 3: Malaga to El Chorro via Ronda

The weather wasn't forecast to be great today, but when we woke up in Malaga this morning it still felt pretty warm. We were checking out of our apartment today and heading off on the next stage of our trip, but before we did so we planned to visit the Cafeteria Esperanto, in the hope that it would be open and we'd be able to get some breakfast.


Luckily it was and we were able to able to enjoy coffee and churros while sitting outside - all for the bargain price of €3.50 :) 


Once we'd finished breakfast we headed back to the apartment, where we packed up our things and set off in our mint-green hire car towards the small town of Ronda. Ronda is located inland, about 65 miles from Malaga, and from the pictures I'd seen online it looked like a really beautiful place. The first part of our journey was quite speedy, leaving Malaga by what seemed like a motorway, but as we got closer towards Ronda we began travelling on winding roads through the Sierra de las Nieves natural park. The further we travelled the worse the weather became and when we eventually arrived in Ronda around midday it was decidedly damp!


We parked the car and began walking towards the centre of town, through some pretty gardens.


These led us to a viewpoint from where we got our first glimpse of the town.


Ronda is situated at the top of the El Tajo gorge. The gorge actually divides the town in half and is spanned by a couple of bridges, which we were hoping to see later in the day.  It looks like quite a precarious location for a town!


Even though today was a bit misty, we had some great views of the surrounding countryside.


I particularly liked this window in the rock.


Walking further towards the town, we came to Ronda's bull ring.


Next to here was another viewpoint with a bandstand.


From here we could see a bit more of the town :)


It turned out that we weren't far away from the centre now and we soon got our first glimpse of Puente Nuevo.


Construction of this bridge across the gorge started in 1759 and took 34 years to complete. 


The town's main road now runs across the bridge. We crossed it to see the view in the opposite direction.


I would not want to live in a house with a drop like this outside my window!!


From a viewing platform on this side of the road we could see Puente Viejo, the old bridge.


This one was built in 1616 and today is only accessible for pedestrians.


We were hungry by this point so found a small restaurant with a very affordable "menu of the day". For €12.50 each, we had a starter of spaghetti bolognese (which was large enough to be a main meal in its own right!), a main course (Tim had a Spanish stew, I went with chicken schnitzel) and a pudding of chocolate mousse, with a free drink and bread thrown in too. It seemed like very good value :) 

After lunch we had another walk around Ronda, crossing over the new bridge again...


...and admiring some of the town's churches.


We were trying to find our way down to the old bridge, but the first path we tried was closed off. We eventually found an alternative route, climbing down some of the steep little streets in the old town. It had stopped raining by this point but the rain had made the pavements quite wet and slippery so the walk was a bit of a challenge at times!


Eventually we made it down to the old bridge :) 


The gorge is narrower here, so it's not as wide as the newer bridge.


We had some great views from here back up towards the town and could even see the river Guadalevín down at the bottom of the gorge.


We also found a really pretty walkway to take us back up to the main town; a series of steps interspersed with viewing platforms, which was much easier to climb back up than the narrow streets would have been.


Apparently the gorge is 120 metres deep here.


It was certainly enough to give me vertigo if I looked down at it for too long. I can't imagine what it's like living in these houses!


Soon we were back up to the level of the main town.


We strolled back to the car the way we had come, enjoying the views back towards Ronda.


The weather had cleared up a bit now so we had some clearer views of the surrounding countryside too.


It seems like a really pretty part of Spain. I had no idea the countryside around Malaga was so mountainous until I started researching this trip.


We are staying in a hotel in a town called El Chorro tonight, which was about an hour's drive away from Ronda. The views continued to be beautiful as we made our way through the mountains.


There's a limit to how fast our tiny little car will go uphill, though :D 


We made it to El Chorro without any difficulty and checked in to the hotel. The room is a little bit unusual - we've got a nice living area...


...and an equally nice bedroom...


...but the two are linked by this very steep and narrow spiral staircase!


Not one to attempt after a couple of glasses of wine, I think xD We've got some great views of the mountains from our windows though :) 


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