After a stint off grid we headed to Ronda nearby for some on grid and headed out for what ended up being a muddy and downright torturous ride. Google maps must have had a hiccup the day it classified some of what we encountered, as roads! Far from it, and to cap it all, Cueva del Gato (Cat Cave) was closed for refurbishment. The whole ride was worth it though for the views, areas of Ronda off the tourist trails probably, and just the satisfaction of having done it and coped with chains coming off in the mud! It took us a few hours to clean the bikes, and ourselves. Check out the converted fire truck, could only be German eh! Jigsaw was playing ‘I Spy’… again!
After waking up to three shivering cats on our mat we walked, stiffly, into town. After a warm up coffee, we found a new discovery in Ronda, Museo Lara, a private collection of quirky miscellaneous objects from clocks and watches to guns and duelling pistols to porcelain ware. There was a sizeable section dedicated to photography and cinema and another to scientific instruments. There were some really interesting pieces, intricate details and gorgeous clocks and pocket watches. Worst of it all though, was a whole floor dedicated to gruesome torture paraphernalia from the Spanish Inquisition (they refer to it as The Holy Inquisition). Who dreams up, and more so even makes these things… I really didn’t want to look or I’d have had nightmares! We walked through the centre, early evening, before warming up with tapas and wine (yes, we took a taxi back!)
From Ronda we popped to Gaucin, just for a wander, which was off season closed. We walked around the town and were surprised at how quiet it was, having assumed Covid had had a lot to do with it last time. Not a single coffee shop, gift shop, snack shop was open. Great views though, can’t deny it’s an attractive place! The local Police Station had made a great effort with their knitted decorations, maybe knitting is their off season ‘team building’ activity on quiet days? From there, it was on to one of our favourite places, Casares.
The free Aire at Casares exemplified the post Covid motor home boom, we’d never seen it so busy, 6 different nationalities, 12 vehicles, 1 cat. Arriving mid afternoon we hiked the steep roads into and around the town, taking in the vistas and beautiful light as the sun went down. We’ve been here before, on our first covid escape tour and it lived up to our memories. Dozens of gliding Griffon’s, friendly people and a buzz that was severely lacking in Gaucin. We noticed some very enterprising ‘birds nest street art’, smart little things they are, on the uphill hike back to the aire, thank goodness that bar was open!
The following day, having been rudely awakened by frogs (sorry, the French) we rode out high into the Crestalina Mountain Range where we were among dozens of Griffon Vultures riding the therms (a lot easier than a bike) and swooping so low we could hear the wind through their wings (there’s a song in there somewhere) The smaller birds that nipped past and across us as we rode don’t get a look in, we tried though, noting a Kestrel dive bombing a vulture and a woodpecker. So many birds, so little knowledge! We made friends with a noisy donkey. Anyhow, lucky with a sunny clear day, if not nippy, so great views out towards the Med and The Rock, and Morocco in the distance. Back at base, Jigsaw enjoyed the space and has worked hard on her tree climbing technique, if only she’d work on the down bit. She also had fun in the children’s playground with pawdaddy!
Circa 20 km East of Malaga is Torre de Benagalbon, a busy small town which is ideally situated for exploring. Bikes out, we trundled along the road into town and looped down onto the beach front to ride there (it’s so well set up for bikes/scooters and people to not bump!) A really lovely day we had a couple of beach sit downs before nipping into Mercadona for small drinks and crisps for a sun downer on the beach… yes, we will never be described as classy! The following day we took up the challenge of riding all the way into Malaga, a great ride, all kinds of sights along the way, and the masses of families and friends Sunday lunching Spanish style. That’s what happens when shops are closed! We tried to view a yacht that we fancied but they wouldn’t let us on! Anyhow, to save our legs and give us more scope we are off to hire a car at the airport. The bus into Malaga may only be 85cents but a car gives us a load more scope. Its a L’Oreal car, at £120 for 2 weeks, it’s worth it!