Round to Ronda ... again

September 12, 2015 - Ronda, Spain

It will be sad to leave the Casa Palacio Carmen but today we have to move on to Ronda. In some ways we have misgivings about returning to Ronda as it seemed a bit of a tourist thing and yet we look forward to seeing the bridge, visiting the cafe at La Mina just to sit in the gardens and to eat at the Duquesa again.

We had plenty of time before our train so we took a leisurely breakfast in the garden. They put on a good choice of cheeses and cold meat as well as cereals and croissants and boiled eggs and it is a joy to sit in the garden and enjoy it all.

Too soon the time came to go upstairs and pack our bags. While we were there Margaret received an email from our balloon pilot explaining that the weather forecast for tomorrow is not suitable for our flight. Another depressing idea for our return to Ronda but we must go. I carried the bags downstairs; there is a freight elevator to the first floor but once I had carried them down from the second I thought I might as well keep going. Funny how you will accept that with a quirky, homely place like this.

It was beginning to rain when we arrived at the station and then we realised that there was weekend trackwork (so familiar to Sydney commuters) and we would go to Antequerra by bus before getting the train from there to Ronda. When the buses arrived it was pouring with rain but our cases were taken out into the rain by attendants and loaded into the bus while we could board from the front door under shelter. As we left Granada the rain started to clear and soon it was only showers in the distance and by the time we reached Antequerra Santa-Ana it was beginning to warm up again. We put our luggage through screening as we entered the station from the bus and sat down to wait 40 minutes for our train. While we were waiting I noticed a couple of women come rushing in towing suitcases and rush straight past the X-Ray screening station and waited for the kerfuffle to arise. The operator leapt to his feet and called out but his cry was drowned out by the crowd of bus passengers hanging around. He looked around frantically for other personnel and, seeing none, glanced back at his post at the machine in an obvious dilemma  He couldn't leave but somebody had broken the rules. He finally shrugged his shoulders with a little tilt of the head in that Spanish way - not my problem, I tried.

We had travelled this section of railway before and I pointed out to Margaret the bent, buckled and burnt railway carriage in one of the holding yards near Bobadilla, a reminder of the steep little downhill section of track ahead. Maybe just for the drivers rather than the passengers. Our driver delivered his train safely through to Ronda and we were among the first off and got THE taxi and were soon at the Maestranza Hotel and into our SUITE. This hotel was booked through Flight Centre and we got a large rebate on the accommodation costs so it is not expensive at $A460 for the four nights but we did not expect this level of luxury or space.

We spread ourselves out, unpacked and unwound before venturing out for a meal. Raoul, from our hotel in Granada, had given us some suggestions and one was in a little plaza behind the hotel so we tried it. The food was good but the accompaniments were basic. I had venison and Margaret had pork and both had chips and cooked cherry tomatoes. I would have expected something a bit different with the venison. Creme caramel and coffee to finish as we watched the comings and goings in the plaza. Many locals seem to come out and sit in the evening just to chatter and watch and walk around.

We went for a walk toward the main street and the bridge and were alerted to a parade by the sound of a marching band. When we came out onto the main street the police had blocked the roundabout while a large effigy of Mary was carried by about twenty people hidden under a float. I think there were five rows of four judging by the number of sandshoe shod feet I could see.

With the discovery of the plaza where we ate (there are many more choices), the procession of Mary (for her name day apparently) and our rather special hotel room our spirits and our feelings for Ronda have been lifted immeasurably.



Wedding in the Plaza
The Hop-onHop-off Train
Road sign not to be ignored
From the bus near Antequerra
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