A coach trip to Ronda…but will there be a welcome in the hillside?

I’m not a real fan of long coach journeys. Especially when they involve getting off and on several times and exclaiming ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ at the scenery that’s presented to you upon alighting the steps. I must admit though, that most of the scenery today would pass the ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ test with flying colours.

We were booked on a guided tour of the ‘White Villages’, Zahara de la Sierra, Grazalema, and Ronda. All of these are in stunning situations, and worth getting up at 7:15am to go and see. However, I can’t let the day go past without my own small observations and criticisms. First a few images to give you a small flavour of this stunning part of Spain.

Zahara is a small village tucked away on the side of a cliff. It’s obviously very popular with tourists and the small central square soon filled up with cars. Local bars and restaurants broke out the seats and tables as soon as the tourists flocked in. We had two of the strongest expressos ever!!

On we drove to Grazalema, where they were holding a Fiesta. Luckily it didn’t involve throwing tomatoes at each other or doing unspeakable things to donkeys. Personally, as I hate crowds, I think I suffered enough without those to add to the experience. The Fiesta was jolly, lots of locals enjoying themselves with quite a few in local costume. There were even two guys dressed as 19th Century soldiers complete with authentic rifles. I can’t help but imagine them as extras in another Zorro movie..Our coach driver managed to thread his way back into the village and scurry us off to our last village, though at 30,000 population, really it’s a town.

We arrived in Ronda (not The Rhondda obviously) hot, tired and a bit late. Our Spanish guide, who bless him wasn’t possessed with the loudest of voices, explained (I think) that he couldn’t give us a tour of the old town centre because guides that weren’t local aren’t allowed to take tours. So he left us to look round ourselves, nothing to do with the fact we were running an hour late.. The view from the edge of the cliff, which is partly on top of the old city walls is simply breathtaking. Time constraints, dehydration and tiredness deprived us of exploring further, though Seville and the area surrounding it, has been earmarked for future exploration.

The sun had set by the time we were dropped off the coach back in Seville. We were both ravenous, so we called in to what has become our local tapas place, ‘Bar Europa’ and topped up our tummies. Tomorrow we are off to a market on the other side of the river for a cooking course….I have first dibs on the dessert…

When life gives you oranges…you eat a whole squid in Seville…

Here we are in Seville….it was 34C when we got off the plane this evening and now, well after 10pm, it’s not a lot cooler. The apartment is wonderful. The stairs to it maybe less so but the original features, modern additions and view from the shared roof terrace more than make up for it.

Our car journey to Orly was mostly uneventful, though the satnav is still confusing and we ended up at some sort of barrier to get into Rungis. Anyway, I turned round and drove against the traffic for a few metres and we picked up the route. Our passage through the airport was smooth as was the flight which arrived 30 minutes early. A further twenty minute taxi ride and we were here, in the maze of streets which typifies this area.

After a quick tour of the apartment we set off to find a supermarket and somewhere to eat. Not necessarily in that order though. Literally less than two minutes away, we’d located both. We didn’t go into the supermarket but we did eat at La Bodega It’s a tapas bar that also does larger individual dishes…whole squid with salad for example..

The food was very good, the ambiance great and service jolly but snail like. Honestly, we were both really hungry and very tired, much too tired to make gastronomic judgements. Who knows what we’ll discover and what will find it’s way into our stomachs during the coming days……

We’re off again…..

I’m sitting here at the computer, a mug of Nespresso ‘Barista’ coffee to hand (strength 11, so I’m now wide awake), whilst outside the first tendrils of Autumn are creeping round the house. The sky is overcast and a fine drizzle is falling. So, a perfect time to leave for warmer climes….

Seville and Cordoba are our destinations. Accommodation in both cities by Air B&B as usual. We are flying with Transavia out of Orly, so the big blue suitcase is being called into service again. We have booked a hotel room at Orly but with the reverse arrangement we had in May, leaving the car in the hotel car park and staying overnight when we return. Transavia have been so helpful, changing our flights twice and arranging for our return flight to land at 11pm…we should be thankful that it’s not Ryanair….

I’m filled with anticipation, excitement and nerves. These are two places neither of us have visited before and we’ll enjoy becoming explorers again. No doubt our gastronomic needs will be filled too, though we haven’t prebooked many restaurants. I’ve been checking the weather and wonder if we can cope with highs in the low 30’s and night time glacial lows of 20 degrees centigrade. I’m slightly nervous of driving to Orly, though we have done it before.

I guess the next blog will be from Seville….it’s a hard life…