Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Over the Hills - Ronda and Casares

One fine day we spent in Ronda, a charming historical town precipitously perched along dramatic escarpments and across the deep El Tajo Gorge.

Houses on the Tajo Gorge - Ronda, Malaga Province
We adjusted our timetables to that of the Spanish, where lunch was not even thought of until after 2pm, siesta was taken very seriously (people would stop by the side of the road to nap in their cars), and dinner before 9pm was a strangeness pursued only by certain tourists. Nibbling on melt-in-your-mouth thin slices of jamon iberico, we enjoyed the sights and took in the laid-back plaza ambience.

Stretch! Trying to reach the door knockers on this massive church door - Ronda, Malaga Province
Church of Socorro, Plaza del Socorro - Ronda, Malaga Province
Descending the hills towards Casares, we stopped several times for Ben to shoot the landscape that had turned golden with the setting sun.

Castle and Village of Casares, Costa Del Sol
Sunset over Casares, Costa Del Sol
Lone Tree at Sunset - near Casares, Costa Del Sol
Some curious dogs came out to see who had come to visit, and we all couldn't resist a little play.

El Blanco puppydog - near Casares, Costa Del Sol
At Casares we tried to find a place for dinner. It was a little early (for the Spanish) but thinking that there may have been more options closer to the centre, we attempted to drive our huge seven-seater into town. Hmm, not such a good idea we realised, noticing the walls closing in as the steep streets became narrower and narrower. Just at the point where one cannot reverse, another car came in the opposite direction. Side mirrors were folded in, passenger panic rose, and Jude must have felt the tension as she started to wail; we had all pretty much given up the paint of at least one of the side panels when suddenly the street opened up to a small but breathable plaza. Funnily enough, the locals didn't seem to blink an eyelid at our vehicle's transgressions, as Ben stopped for a bit to regain his senses, before swinging a multi-point turn to drive back down the alleyway again. All European streets seemed big and tame after that little exercise. No wonder scooters are so popular.

Pueblos Blancos - Casares, Costa Del Sol
Tired, hungry and mildly traumatised, we stopped at a restaurant off the main road out of Casares. This turned out to be one of the best meals that we had in Spain, as we were treated to fresh, creative and perfectly prepared Spanish takes on traditional food, complete with great wine, warm friendly service and quite a reasonable price tag to match.

Grilled Vegetables. Dinner at Venta Garcia Restaurant - Casares, Costa Del Sol
Chicken Salad. Dinner at Venta Garcia Restaurant - Casares, Costa Del Sol
Roast Pork and Apple Sauce. Dinner at Venta Garcia Restaurant - Casares, Costa Del Sol
Not a bad reward for a fun day's outing.

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