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Published: April 14th 2012
April 12, 2012- Our hotel stay included breakfast and we were eager to check out the spread. Two items of note were the standard "Pan de tomato" and something we like to call "Pequena Debbie". The tomato bread is a tomato spread that you but onto toast. It tastes similar to brushcetta, and is delicious. We have been trying all different variations on this trip. The other item we discovered this morning was similar to a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll, but better. Amy and I split one. After breakfast, we headed out to visit Ronda during the day. Our first stop was the tourist information center. Just as we were walking up, I saw two buses chock full of tourists pull up in front...so I went from a normal pace to hyperspeed in order to beat the them all in; It worked but I also left Eileen and Amy in the dust. We picked up a map and tourist card and headed for the New Bridge (built in about 1753) Interpretative Center. The center was not so impressive, but the views from under the bridge were breath taking. Ronda spans a deep river gorge and the buildings and houses seem
to teeter close to the edge at some points. We crossed the bridge and started touring the Old Town on the other side of the ravine. We wandered up the street and found our first stop, the Giant's House. This house wasn't that impressive, as we had seen other Moor Style homes, but it was free with our card, so we checked it out. We were all unsure about stopping into the Art Museum of Joaquin Pienado, but we thought we would give it a look. We are glad we did. Joaquin was friends with Picasso and we were pleasantly surprised by his art. We all found paintings we like. One room of the museum was dedicated to a rather racy period of Pienado's art; it was quite explicit and made us all blush. After the museum, we wandered down to a park which had beautiful view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. The Ronda Museum was next on the list. The best feature of this museum was the outside area and we quickly moved on. After a brief hot beverage stop (it was really cold outside!), we found the highlight of our day....Santa Maria la Mayor Collegiate Church. This
church, just like most of the churches we have seen, was built on the site of an old Mosque. Once a city full of Moors was vanquished, the victorious Christians liked to build a church right on top of a mosque...just to drive the point home that they were the big winners. We picked up an audio guide that was very well done and we appreciated all of the lovely art within the church in a very short, informative tour. We made a few purchases in the crap shop before moving on. We walked down hill towards the city wall and wandered for awhile, taking in the lovely views. We ended up at the Arab baths (also on our tourist card). These baths are the best preserved Arab baths in Spain and the video inside the baths was informative and gave us an idea of why and how these baths were used. We crossed back into the New Town over the small bridge. Eileen took advantage of the church's fountain with 8 spouts to rinse/bless her bad wrist. We then did the same workout as last night (Spain Stairclimber) back up towards our hotel. We put our toes into The
Queso and Jamon Boutique (that is the actual name) before stopping at the supermarket to pickup supplies for sandwiches for our train ride. We collected our luggage from the hotel and headed for the train station just as the rain clouds rolled in. Our train trip including two changes was uneventful and relaxing. We arrived in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol around 9pm just in time to see a live band playing in our hotel bar. Picture the Love Boat with a bit of a lively Florida retiree scene and you will get a good idea of the place. We enjoyed the scene listening to the hubbub of German and Scandanavian vacationers/pension collectors partying it up before tucking in to bed.
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