Ronda, Camping and Visiting Gibraltar (week 7)

Week 7
15th June
Today we drove to the National Parc Sierra Huetor and decided it was the prefect place to pop up our new tent. On the way we saw Ibex climbing a cliff on the other side of the valley and heard animals we had never heard before.

We had a kick about and went for a short exploration before retreating to our tent for the night. We were drawn out again by the loud sounds of bells from all around us. we peered around the tend to see a lone shepherd with quite possibly thousands of sheep and goats. We had a “chat” with him as best we could as we are yet to pick up a vast amount of Spanish and he certainly couldn’t understand a word of English.

16th June
We were awoken by the same shepherd taking his herd out for the morning and then we headed into the local city of Granada after having a coffee. We found a Mcdonalds with free internet and decided to hang around for a while. We later stocked up on supplies for another round of camping; food, beer, matches, marshmallows and a new tripod stove. We then returned to the national park and explored it some more before cooking a nice Mexican style bean wrap tea and toasting some marshmallow smores.

17th June
We drove onwards today and stopped in another national park with a lagoon renowned for its wildlife. We rode our bikes around the edge of the water and spotted an array of flora and fauna, water snakes, flamingoes and other water birds but most excitingly teeny tiny baby turtles and lots of grown ups too.
It was extremely hot and having little shelter we decided to move on to another lagoon and parked under some trees and relaxed with last nights mexican leftovers, some beers and a couple of books.
18th June
We drove to the canyon El Chorro today but were disappointed to find out the tickets for the canyon walk could only be booked in advance or obtained by spending 30EUR in a restaurant. We decided to just do a free section of the walk meeting a couple of of adorable stray kittens on the way.

We stopped at an abandoned house on the way…..

 We popped into the town of Ronda for fuel and cash then proceeded into the nearest national park in search of somewhere to spend the evening, we stayed by a beautiful little town called Grezlema.

19th June
Woke up and did some blog work whilst watching Spanish Ibex climb a sheer rock face whilst nibbling some leaves. We had a look around the small town of Grezlema before driving south to Gibraltar.

 Towards the end of the journey we saw hundreds of Storks nesting ontop of pylons.

Ended up in Gibraltar and parked by the harbour just before border control. We were assaulted by Mosquitos that night and did not sleep to well.

20th June
After a restless sleep we walked into Gibraltar and looked around the many English shops and restaurants lining the main street. We decided to walk up the rock which proved to be very difficult in the heat of the early afternoon. We went a different way to the normal tourist route and discovered a few jems off the beaten track.

We finally made it having drank all our water and sports drink supplies. We enjoyed watching the monkeys for a while.

We were lucky enough to see a couple of baby monkeys.

 We also explored an abandoned military cave which had been concealed but, luckily for us, it had also been broken into so we were able to find the entrance hidden away from the path. It contained different hanger style rooms seemingly built for storage during the second world war.

We were exhausted and therefore desperate to take the cable car back down but after finding out if would cost a whole £20 we decided to hike back down, almost dying on the way.

We had a nice cold drink in the main square where a livley food and music festival was being set up. After recovering from our walk we returned to the van and left gibralter for good. We entered the beautiful Parc des Acorns renowned for its natural beauty. We saw cork oaks, waterfalls lakes and lush meadows and also we were lucky to spot Ibex and even huge vultures.  We found a little dirt track which led us to a very pretty clearing with a water fountain and picnic tables dotted around the woods. We decided to stay the night.
21st June

Awoke to Fartons (a Spanish pastry) and coffee.

We drove to Ronda and explored. We admired the giant bridge across the two cliffs that seperate the old from the new parts of Ronda, it is a must see almost fairytale-esque place bursting with renaissance period buildings.

We later wondered into a hunting museum not really knowing what to expect. It was set inside a stunning high ceiling luxury stately home engulfed in marble gold. Sadly it was brimming with some of the most endagered animals on the plannet all hunted by the owner of the museum, who we met at the entrance. It was difficult to believe that just one man in his lifetime of about 60 years had been able to kill so many animals, he must have travelled all over the world and made a living from the sport. There were aligators, many bears including the endagered spanish brown bear with cubs, bison, all types of big cat from lions to panthers, an array of game including elk, ibex, deer, and many antalope, wolves and other wild dogs. It was a sad and haunting experience and if that wasnt enough,  there was a pile of blown up laminated photographs to rummage through. Many of the photos were of the owner posing next to his bloody lifless prizes, devastatingly alot of these were elephants with babys.

We had a few drinks in a nice little back alley cafe and later slept closeby in a mountain road pull in which sounded as though it was collapsing during the night.

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