“An arch is
make a strength”
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
So what’s at Ronda? EB asks as we train our way to another Spanish town. I shrug. I know it’s unique and incredible but I can’t remember why.
And then we get there. Oh.
Perhaps it’s because it’s perched on the edge of a cliff that plunges over 100 metres to the river below. With so many places to stand on the very edge of the abyss, it takes your breath away…
Perhaps it’s all those terraces and winding alleyways that involve endless incline and stair climbing.
Wait, there’s a bonus ancient Islamic mine with a million stairs (well, it felt like a million!).
And EB has spotted a path down the cliff, so his eyes are glazing over as he plans tomorrow’s walking adventure…
Or perhaps it’s being at a tapas and wine bar in the town square people-watching.
It seems like the entire community comes out at dusk (around 7.30) to hang out together.
From the very old to the very young they are there… running, jumping, chatting, laughing, flirting or just watching and remembering their younger crazier days.
No huddling around the goggle-box with dinner perched on laps for them. This is full-on, multi-generational socialising at it’s most inspiring.
Can’t wait to explore this incredible place.
Ah, Seville, Granada, now Ronda. I’m feeling deeply shallow as each place steals a piece of my heart… but how can you not love this Spanish life?
I know what you’re thinking… but I’m not talking about Granada’s legendary nightlife. Although I’m told there are 60,000 students at the university here. And they didn’t just come for the studying bit (but don’t tell their parents!).
This is about getting off the tourist trail, high up in the ‘hills’ above Granada, where a network of precarious tracks meander around the steep edges of slopes – and making way for mountain bikers (jealous!) and trail runners is an interesting balancing act.
We started in the historic centre and walked up past Alhambra, one of the most visited monuments in Europe. We thought we’d take a little wander up the dusty track to check out the mountain biking trails.
Three hours later, we’d wound our way up and down steep hills on some breathtaking trails – and discovered the ancient water channel above the Rio Darro.
Built by the original Arab settlers, the network of channels carried a fresh water supply down to irrigate the extensive Generalife orchards and gardens, through to the Alhambra palaces and back into the river system.
We followed the water channel for a while, until it came to a private olive grove – with a full-on sprinkler system going.
After running the gauntlet of water jets turning the steep track to a slippery slide, we decided to head back up and find a drier way down the slope.
This involved a bit of scrambling and, of course, a rather inelegant butt slide by moi.
But we finally found our way back down to civilisation, a well-earned snack… and a drink or three.
…because going off-piste is thirsty work.