We left Granada in the fog. It was a hair-raising
bus ride through the mountains, but our trusty driver, Pepe, brought us
through safely to great applause. After crossing the mountains we stopped
first at Antequera, the location of neolithic archeological remains,
then proceeded to Ronda, a striking city built across a dramatic ravine.
After lunch, we had an uneventful ride to our hotel on the Costa del
Sol, where we would spend two final nights in Spain before crossing
Since Pepe accomplished a heroic feat by bringing us through
the foggy mountains (seriously, we've made a lot of hairy bus trips,
but this was truly special), it seems appropriate to include a picture
of him (on the left) and our wonderful guide Gerardo, who was an encyclopedia
of information about Spain's history, culture and geography.
UNESCO World Heritage Site includes
, ancient burial sites of huge stones, near
the town of
Antequera. This one, the
Dolmen de Menga
, was built prior
to 2000 BC and is one of the largest in Europe.
visit to the ancient town of
was altogether too brief. The modern city is built on the two sides
of a deep gorge. Most of our travels are teasers that
make us want to learn more and come back.
This is the surrounding countryside as seen from the "New Bridge."
New Bridge, built in the 18th century, spans the ravine separating the two parts of the city.
It replaced an older one that collapsed.
One of our group climbed down into the ravine and I'm sure got much
more dramatic pictures, but I was more interested in lunch (at least
for this trip).
pictures from the high ground can't give quite the dramatic perspective,
but at least this one indicates the depth of the gorge that this city
was one of the birthplaces of bullfighting. This
was constructed in the 18th century at the time
that bull fighters began to face the bull on foot rather than on horseback.
Two major bullfighting families originated in Ronda:
the Romero and the Ordóñez families. This sculpture is
of Cayetano Ordóñez, who was used as the model of the
bullfighter in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises
night we settled into our hotel on the
Costa del Sol
, where we stayed for a couple of nights. I don't
recall which town it was in. This was the view west from our
The hotel had a private beach reached through
an extensive garden. Since it was winter, and windy to boot, there
were no bathing beauties to be seen and no temptation to take a
dip in the Mediterranean. Not that I am a fan of beaches at the best
next day we took a day trip to
Rock" is distinctive, although we never got the familiar
perspective from the Prudential logo.
In high season
the border crossing from Spain into Gibraltar, which is British territory,
can take hours.
There was plenty of space for busses and cars to wait. We zipped
Although Gibraltar was ceded "in perpetuity" to Britain
in 1713, Spain continues to
assert sovereignty over the territory.
Nevertheless, the inhabitants consistently choose to remain a British dependency.
Looking across the Bay of Gibraltar (or Bahía de Algeciras,
depending on your perspective) toward the Spanish port of Algeciras.
We will depart from this port for Morocco on the following day.
The jetty at the base of the mountain is part of an extensive British
repair station for naval vessels.
of the reasons to travel all the way to the top of the rock is to see
While I was taking this picture, Sue was very
anxious that I get it over with so that she could move away from the
critter (she wasn't actually standing close to it in spite of the
appearance). They could be aggressive to be sure and were very
agile. A little later
one jumped on my back from quite a distance away! No harm done to me
or ape although it was QUITE startling.
Hamming it up for the tourists.
rode to the top of the rock in taxis, but it is possible to climb
these intimidating Mediterranean Steps. At the time of our visit they were posted as
unfit for use, but have since been repaired.
There is also a
cable car to the top.
no mistake about it, Gibraltar is British. And in the tourist business.
At regular times during the day there is a "changing of the guard"
with red-coated regalia.
To continue on to Morocco, click your browser's "back"
button to return to the index page.