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Published: December 3rd 2006
As I mentioned in the previous entry, I bought a ticket for Algeciras. The ride over was through some fantastic terrain. It was very hilly and we were often surrounded by wind power generators. The Rock (of Gibraltar) came into view as we descended into Algeciras. It was cool to see across the bay, but wasn't nearly as impressive as I was expecting.
We pulled into the bus station and I made up my mind to go to Ronda and save Gibraltar for when the weather improved. I walked to the nearby train station and caught the 12:10 train towards Granada. The ride took about 2 hours on a slow, smelly diesel, but at least the scenery was pretty as we got up into more mountainous terrain leaving the coast.
Ronda is famous for the extremely deep gorge that divides the town in two, as well as one of the bridges that spans it. I had no idea what to expect, but based on the hordes of 60 year old tour group members who got off the train with me, it must have been pretty famous indeed to drag them away from the coast. I managed to get ahead
of them, it wasn't hard even carrying 20 kilos, and hiked to the tourist office, where they gave me a map and pointed me in the direction of the gorge.
On the way over I stopped in a park to check out the near vertical views afforded by the clifftop vantage. Ronda really is in an amazing location. There are mountains in the distance, and below the city is farmland that stretches all the way to them. It didn't take long to get over to the 100 meter deep gorge and I was sufficiently impressed. The bridge is a marvel of engineering considering that it was built in 1793.
Aside from the gorge, Ronda has the oldest bull ring in spain that's still in use, although it wasn't very impressive from the outside. Pretty quickly, I decided that I had seen enough, and I figured I'd try to get over to Málaga to spend the night. When I got to the train station, I discovered that I had missed the train, and that I wouldn't get into Málaga until really late if I took the next one, so I decided to stay.
I walked back in to
Mountains in the distance
town and settled on a budget Hostal for 13€ a night. Once again it was a single room, but at least it was clean if a bit cramped. I set off to do laundry, and after enquiring at the tourist office, I was told there were three laundry places. She kept trying to tell me something in spanish that I didn't understand, but I pretty quickly realized what it was. As it turns out, they weren't laundromats (lavandarias), but drycleaners. So, I was once again prevented from doing laundry.
I got some dinner at the grocery store, and hung out in the freezing room reading until I went to bed around 11. It was so cold in the room that I decided to leave my thermometer out overnight to see how cold it would get. Normally, I would have just turned on the heater, but for some reason the room had no heater!
I ended up sleeping very poorly until I got my sleeping bag out and added it to the bed. When I got up in the morning, I felt like shit, and the thermometer read 50 degrees (in the room!). I hiked over to the train station, but discovered that the train had left really early in the morning, and the next wouldn't be there until 2. Argh, I should have checked the schedule instead of just assuming it wouldn't leave before 9.
Since I had several hours to kill I went and used the internet to get caught up a little bit on the blog. Soon enough it was 1:30 and I headed back to the station to catch the train to Málaga.
Stay tuned for Málaga.
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