A Picturesque Spanish Mountain Town

Posted by on Apr 27, 2012 in Blog, Spain | 6 comments

Leaving Sevilla with our bikes was going to be a snap. Eric had researched the directions and picked the easiest route to get to our next destination Marbella (200km) without having to go over steep mountains. While we were standing at an intersection holding a map we were approached by a friendly German guy named Michael who offered us help. Eric eagerly explained to him the route he had picked but Michael said “Umm, you can’t go that way with your bikes…it’s a highway”. Then he recommended that we go the more direct route over the mountains because there is a beautiful hill-top town (yes, another one) named Ronda that we just can’t miss. Eric was getting a little pale when I got excited about taking the mountain road but we did agree on following Michael’s advice and started heading towards Ronda.

For the first 30km the road from Sevilla to Ronda was a highway which then changed into a regular road that we could cycle on. There was a bike path along the highway, but soon after the first town the bike path ended and we were facing “no-bikes” signs with seemingly no other way to go except on the highway. After consulting the locals we found a dirt road that took us in the right direction but eventually we did end up with our bikes on the highway. It actually was smooth quick riding on a wide shoulder but I feared the police would show up at any time to stop us. It all went fine and when the highway became a bike friendly road we had made quick progress.

The landscape along the roads was constantly changing with vast rolling fields of various colors. It was hard to find a campsite for the night because there were no trees in sight that could shelter our tent and we already knew that there weren’t any campgrounds in the area. Our legs got tired and it was getting dark when we finally spotted some trees where we could set up our tent.

After more riding the next day we camped by a lake near the town Zahara. We found a secluded access path to the shoreline and I was thrilled that I was going to have a relaxed night of sleep without having to worry about angry famers or their ferocious dogs surprising us in the middle of the night. While we were lying in the tent we could hear the sound of the water splashing against the shore and I was ready to peacefully fall asleep when Eric abruptly rose from his sleeping bag. He motioned me to stay quiet because he had heard something. After five minutes of sitting up with neither one of us moving a bit and our ears trying hard to hear something out of the ordinary, Eric whispered to me that he thought he heard someone come out of the water. Great, I hadn’t even thought about the possibility of an amphibious attack or someone surprising us by coming across the lake either by boat or swimming. After a while Eric carefully poked his head outside the tent but it turned out that it was really just the water splashing with a little extra wind and no one was there. Still, the peace for my night was gone and I reached for some wine to help me go to sleep.

The next day we struggled hard with getting up the hills towards Ronda. As we climbed in elevation our surroundings became greener and lusher with more and more trees. When we turned a bend and saw the town sitting on the hill our hearts sank. We were already tired and that hill looked massive. We spotted a sign for a train station and even though it was hard for me to imagine that a train could even go up this hill we decided to check it out in the hopes not to have to cycle this steep hill. When we got there we were sad to see that it was deserted and not in operation. To add to the misery it started raining on us.

Very slowly we worked our way up the hill and were rewarded with dramatic views and magnificent sights such as the bridges that connect the rocks the town was built on. After getting some directions at the tourist information booth I decided to have us head to a spot that would give us a special view of the town. Little did I know that we had to go down tremendously steep cobble stone alleys to get to this location. Since it had just rained the cobble stones were wet and my heart was pounding with fear while I was trying to go down as slowly as possible without having my bike slip away from underneath me. When I got to the intersection at the bottom I tried to stop but my tire just slipped away. I immediately put my foot down to help stop the bike but to my dismay my shoe couldn’t grab on to the ground and as a result I fell over with the bike. Luckily I didn’t get hurt but it was scary nonetheless. Immediately people from all directions jumped towards me to try to help. Eric, whose shoes had better grip, needed to help push my bike through the streets until they had dried up. I think I have learned my lesson and will avoid wet steep cobble stone roads in the future.

We left Ronda around sunset and camped on a building site right above the city. Well, our immediate surrounding (mud balls and machinery) weren’t the most romantic but the view of the town at night was incredible.

The next day we still had to ascend for the first 20+km but after that we were compensated with a long ride downhill. No pedaling required. We just rolled, rolled, rolled. Yippee! The views were stunning and it only took us 40min to get from the highest point at 1065m to the sea level including frequent stops for pictures. We even made it on time for lunch with my friend Teba who was waiting for us at her home in Marbella.

6 Comments

  1. Great photos and blog! I look forward to continued stories from this epic adventure! op

    • We have been in Morocco for the last few weeks and have a treasure of awesome pics and stories to get blogged, stay tuned! Say hi to all the guards for me.

  2. Very cool story and photos! Have a blast!

    • Thanks buddy, looks like your traveling too? We are in Morocco till either the 15th or 22nd then Barcelona. Maybe you can catch up with us when we are in SE Asia???

  3. Hey Guys!

    Love the pictures and keep giggling like a school girl reading the stories! Have fun, keep safe and keep your wits about you!

    JJ OUT!

    • More blogging about morocco coming soon, just need a day free to get caught up with stuff. Too much fun and lots of stories to come.