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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Curvy roads and narrow streets

Last Wednesday (May 11th), Dad, Jeannie and I wanted a more “relaxing” day after what had happened the day before in Morocco. So we decided to go see the Chorro Gorge in the mountains and stop by one of the “white hill towns” that Rick Steves suggested in his guidebook. We chose to visit a town called “Ronda” which was an amazing choice. 

Trying to get out of Malaga!
We slept in a little, ate breakfast, and then headed out to find the Chorro Gorge. However, we had some trouble finding our way out of Malaga. Don’t ask me how this happened, but we somehow ended up driving on a large sidewalk. It was late morning so the sidewalks were packed with all of the locals that were heading to work. There were so many people and not so many cars… we were driving slower than people were walking! Jeannie and I got out of the car and asked some construction workers where to go and he told us we could go straight ahead towards a busier road. We drove away as the construction workers laughed at us, found the road with cars on it instead of people, and finally got out of Malaga.

After we took the exit towards “El Chorro”, we drove up and down the edge of mountains (which I found out isn’t my dad’s favorite thing to do) for a couple hours, found the El Chorro Gorge, saw a lot of other beautiful sights, and had a pretty good laugh about bikers’ caps. Or was it calves? I’m still not sure.

El Chorro Gorge

After we got down away from those mountains (and Dad was a lot more relaxed), we went to find Ronda. As we approached the small town, we decided to have lunch right away. We all shared a big salad and we each ordered our own soup. After our late lunch, we drove into the town. As we drove in circles trying to find the town square, we approached the end of a road that became narrower as we continued to drive to the end of it! It was so narrow that my dad had to turn the side view mirrors in (which he unintentionally learned how to do earlier.) There was maybe an inch between each side of the car and the brick buildings. It was hilarious; I was completely silent, holding my breath, while Jeannie was screaming "watch out!", and Dad was owning it. It was like he had done this a million times before... he just pushed the button to fold in the side view mirrors like it was nothing as he continued to drive. We finally came across some older women and I asked them where their town center was. They were confused and one woman said, “I think it’s over there…” while another woman would disagree and say, “no, it’s that way!” This was when we discovered we weren’t even in Ronda! We were in some small little dinky town outside of it.

When we had actually arrived in RONDA, we parked the car and wandered around the city for a while. We toured the bullring, which is supposedly the first bullring in Spain and then we went to find the gorge. (Yes, another gorge.) The views from Ronda were absolutely incredible. I can’t believe I had never heard of this town before! The gorge, which separated the old city from the new city, was fascinating!

The bullring in Ronda

On the drive back to Malaga
We decided to take a different way home, which had its ups and downs. The good thing was that we got to drive through more mountains, which meant more incredible views. The bad thing was that we drove through more mountains, which meant Dad was more freaked out. We were driving on the edge of mountains over bridges about the time when the big earthquake happened just a couple hours away from us in Lorca. Fortunately, we didn’t feel it where we were! Once we reached Malaga, we had a couple more scary driving experiences with a bus, a motorcycle, and those darn roundabouts. 

More paella!
For dinner, we went to a seafood restaurant on the boardwalk where we had more paella. It was better than the overcooked paella that we had in Madrid, but still not as good as Lola’s or Valencia’s. We called it a night after a long day of driving and another long day of driving that we knew was to come the next day. We weren’t going to Spanish or Moroccan territory though… we were going to UK territory! 

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