Spain: Into the gorge of Ronda

Peacock at La Casa del Rey Moro

I don’t have much sightseeing planned in Ronda but one thing on my agenda is to hike down to an old mine to get a view of the gorge from down below. The access to this is through La Casa del Rey Moro. But first breakfast.

I’m taking many stairs today so the goal is make sure I have a large enough breakfast to hold me over a few hours. In addition, I have a fancy dinner scheduled this evening; I want to skip lunch so I have the appetite to enjoy all the courses tonight. More on that later.

Not many things open early in this town but I do find a restaurant a nearby that serves breakfast early enough. The breakfast is perfect. I order coffee and one of the biggest dishes on the menu. I am excited when plates of things are brought out to me. Many Spanish breakfasts consist of toasted bread with a spread on it such as crushed tomatoes. This morning I am given a number of choices to spread all over my toast: crushed tomatoes, olive oil, butter, jam, sobrasada pate (ground pork sausage, paprika and spices), zurrapa de lomo (another pork pate), and zurrapa de hígado (liver pate). I had fun making all kinds of combinations with all the toppings. The only one I didn’t care for is the liver pate but I am not a fan of liver normally. My order also includes a side of eggs and ham. In retrospect I didn’t really need the eggs and ham since the toast is more than enough. I am now well nourished for my day.

I head over to La Casa del Rey Moro to check out the water mine. La Casa del Rey Moro is palace is from the Nasrid period that has never actually housed a moorish king (the translation of Rey Moro). The appeal of this property is its gardens and water mine. Currently you can not visit the house but you can take about 300 steps down to the gorge below to see the remnants of a water mine and the clear water below.

I pass the gardens and head directly to the mine. I am expecting it to be busy because it is one of the few things to do in town but surprisingly I only see a couple people attempting the stairs. I head down the wet, cavernous stone staircase. I should have downloaded the audio guide in advance because there is no WIFI available. I feel like I am missing out on some important commentary on the way down. (Note: I am always forgetting to pre-download audio guides this trip).

With things like these I always get a set of stairs that are very tall which are always challenging for my short legs, this place was no exception.

I reach the bottom and get a great view of the water. It is very clear. I have the urge to jump in and swim. There is no sign prohibiting it nor is there any security or persons around to see me, but I don’t attempt it. Perhaps on a warmer day I might have taken the chance.

I stay a while and observe the birds flying above. I am by myself for at least 20 minutes, probably more. Another couple comes down the stairs onto the deck area, I chat with them a bit then start my ascent, giving them the same privacy I was given.

I stop a couple stories up to what looks like a storage area that might have been used during battle times.

I return to the top and explore the gardens and the view from the gardens.

There is an adorable peacock chick in the garden. I watch it carefully following its mother around.

After my visit I head towards the Baños Árabes or arab baths. It isn’t too far from here.

church near Baños Árabes

Baños Árabes Yacimiento Arqueológico is positioned at the beginning one of the old town entrances. During the days of Muslim rule a person had to enter the baths in order to enter the town. I watch a movie that describes how the baths work and how steam is used instead of warm pools. There is also a garden outside that is recreated as it would have been in the past for aid in the purification of the body and the soul.

I continue my day by following around the edge of town to look at the muralles or old stone walls. There are beautiful patches of wildflowers along the sides of the city.

I circle around to the south end of Ronda. A bride and groom pass me of the road in an old timey car.

There are a couple more things I can see in town but I done with sightseeing for the day. I find an outdoor cafe and have a beer.

Soon I’ll be heading to my fancy dinner. More on that later.

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