After two, gorgeous nights in Seville, it was time for us to move on to our next destination in the Andalusia region of Spain. Next up, we were heading even more south, first down to the small, historic town of Ronda before the sunny, touristy beaches in Marbella. More driving, more adventures.
We arrived in Ronda around 9h00 or 10h00, and then we had a couple of hours to explore the town on our own. Home to around 35,000 inhabitants, Ronda is seeped in Roman history, having two bridges, appropriately named the “New Bridge” and the “Old Bridge,” in town. It’s also very mountainous, with the town elevated a few hundred meters up, surrounded by the El Tajo canyon. That said, we got some amazing views of the land below us from the vantage point, along with white houses perched on the cliffs that bore a resemblance to those in Santorini, Greece (which I’d visited over ten years ago).
We wandered towards the outskirts of the city, with more views of the canyons and nature in juxtaposition with the houses on the cliffs, all of which were just amazing. Definitely a nice breather from all of the cities we’d visited so far in Spain which were lovely in their own right, but more urban for sure. We headed back into the town center, where we saw the oldest bullring in Spain from the outside (weren’t keen on paying to go inside, so we forwent it) then headed into the main shopping quarter where we popped into a small churros con chocolate shop for a little snack.
Close to noon, we returned to our tour coach, and from there we left Ronda, our next destination being Marbella. We drove for about an hour or so, and soon enough, we saw the ocean, along with plenty of rich houses and golf courses since Marbella, being somewhat of the “Monte Carlo of Spain,” is that way.
Our tour guide also told us that this particular region of Spain has one of the best weathers in the country, for it’s right by the beach- whether it’s summer or winter, the climate remains fantastically Mediterranean (which isn’t too different from what I grew up with in Los Angeles). We were told that from Marbella, you can see the Iberian Peninsula, along with Morocco, which was absolutely fascinating!
We arrived in Marbella in the early afternoon and after checking into our hotel, we were given the rest of the day to explore the town, mainly just to head to the beach and soak up some good ol’ sun after being frozen for much of the winter. Weather was absolutely gorgeous as my family and I walked over to the beach- seriously, it was 20 degrees Celsius (close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit), which is really good in the winter! I didn’t even need to wear my jacket, since the temperature was just that warm. Having that sort of weather, along with the deep blue sea and palm trees, reminded me too much of home…and I loved it.
We hadn’t had lunch at that point, so we stopped by a cafe-restaurant for some food. Interestingly, it was a sort of vegan/vegetarian joint, which seemed weird for me to see in Europe, even though it’s such a commonplace thing in Los Angeles. Any case, I had a tofu wrap to stave off the hunger until dinnertime (our waitress was pretty cute, by the way) and after we finished eating, we continued strolling along the promenade, taking in the sunshine and the wonderful, wonderful weather (I can’t stress that enough!).
Eventually, we stopped and turned back to return to our hotel. Really, there isn’t a whole lot to do in Marbella, at least historically and culturally-speaking, but rather just to lounge around and enjoy the warm temperatures (and I ain’t complainin’ about that!). Any case, we arrived back at our hotel where we rested until dinnertime, again at the hotel’s restaurant where the meal was included for us. It was buffet-style this time (unlike in Seville, which were three-course meals), and there happened to be a sort of paella served there: knowing me, I love paella, so you can bet that I had scoopfuls of that on my plate! Delicious…
We only spent one night in Marbella before we left the following day for our next destination. While riding in our coach, I couldn’t help but take a few, last photos of the beach, and I happened to capture this one pretty well, even from a moving vehicle, which is always tricky to do!
Altogether, Ronda and Marbella were more of the “relaxed” destinations from our Andalusian tour, which looking back was actually pretty good planning. After having traveled quite a bit myself, I’ve come to realize that, when on vacation, not every day needs to be a long, exciting adventure; rather, it’s actually okay to have more-relaxing days in between, as means of giving yourself a breather, preventing travel burn-out, and reinvigorating your energy and excitement to sight-see again. So basically, even though there wasn’t a whole lot to see in Ronda and Marbella, the pleasant, warm atmospheres in both of them were good enough for me! Seriously, Marbella was heaven…
…any case, more travel posts coming soon! Next: Granada, Spain!
— The Finicky Cynic
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