Soaking up the sun and sangrias at Torre del Mar, near Malaga on the Costa del Sol in Spain. Discovered a wonderful Camping park with beach opposite & beautiful wide paved/tiled promenade that goes for 3.4km. We dust the bikes off and cycle along the coast, along the promenade then keep going. It seems there is no end to the beach-front in Costa del Sol. Intricate sand sculptures, Chiringuito (snack bar) or a restaurante are about every 100m – right on the sand. They will have twenty or thirty parasols and sunbeds for you to hire after lunch too. Overnight the calm waters have become large pounding surf.. and this is the Mediterranean??! The water is almost lapping at the sunbeds now!!
Whilst still in France, Bruce was required to detour from the town centre to a small side road due to roadworks. This was OK, until seeing another car approach on this narrow road, he moved slightly too far to the right and a loud whack — poor Bruce had clipped the awning on an overhanging tree. Nothing but the awning was damaged. After much searching whilst on our resort week, we found a repairer and are waiting for parts from Germany to arrive, about 10 days (?) Great opportunity to soak up the sun and have an in-depth look at the area.
It was fun collecting our “Aussie” friends Anneke and Warren from their hotel in central Malaga and introducing them to Bruce. He excitedly took us on a day trip up the windy roads to the old town of Ardales and Ronda. Ardales is in the hills behind Malaga. A lovely village celebrating its annual feast day. The most important celebrations in Ardales begin on 15 May. This is the day of San Isidro Labrador (Saint Isidore the Labourer in English), the patron saint of the locality. The whole town came out and the girls got dressed up!! San Isidro (c. 1070 – 15 May 1130) was a Spanish day labourer known for his piety toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and brick layers!! San Isidro is often portrayed as a peasant holding a sickle and a sheaf of corn. In Spanish art his emblems are a spade or a plough.
Ronda is one of the most ancient cities in Spain – and a major tourist attraction about 1.5hrs from Malaga. It is built on both sides of the 120m deep El Tajo (gorge). On one side new Ronda – on the other, ancient Ronda. Both sides are joined by Puento Nuevo (new bridge). The definition of “new” is worth pondering. The bridge to join the “old” and “new” parts of town was built in 1751!!! Around the city are remains of prehistoric settlements dating to the Neolithic Age, including the rock paintings of Cueva de la Pileta. Ronda was however first settled by the early Celts in the 6th century BC. Many peoples have added their “touch” to the town and environs. It boasts the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain, built in 1784.
The day concluded with an amazing Spanish cultural experience as we observe the festivities & street parades! By pure coincidence, we arrive in Estepona as the fantastic street parade begins. What timing!! The parade & floats reflect the agricultural influence and heritage. Children of all ages take part in the parade and floats. Even a baby, about 10 months, sits happily on the front of a tractor float with his dad by his side!! The “dancing” horses lead the procession with their proud riders!! Young girls also on horse-back. Those that had the honour of driving the tractor floats were indeed very proud!! The parade was a magic moment for us (Bev, Anneke and Warren). Mark was required to continue driving Bruce in circles as the whole region had come out to celebrate and there was no parking to be found.
What a pleasant surprise this morning as I enter the servicios (shower block) building in the camping park. An elderly Spanish senora was happily singing tunefully and loudly as she swept and scrubbed away! You never know what is around the corner!