Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day Trippin

On the second Saturday of Feria two other girls and I decided to rent a car and go for an adventure to hit up all the places that were still on our list of places to see in southern Spain…Gibraltar, Ronda, and Arcos de la Frontera.  Due to a missed exit however we also got to se Vejer de la Frontera and Tarifa.  Vejer de la Frontera was our first ‘white city’ of the day and our first experience driving on roads not meant for cars.  Some of the corners were a tight squeeze and I’m still not sure how some of the roads were two-ways.  Tarifa is the southern most point of Spain (besides the Canary Islands) and from the beach we could see across to Africa!  We didn’t actually go into the city of Tarifa, but the beach we stopped at was absolutely gorgeous.

Vejer de la Frontera.

Can we make it through the arch way??

Typical "billboard" in Spain.

Beach of Tarifa....the mountains on the other side is Africa!

Our car :)

The drive from Tarifa to Gibraltar was one of the most breathtaking experiences I’ve ever had with green mountains rolling down to pristine, bright blue-turquoise water.  The traffic to cross the boarder to Gibraltar was very backed up, which we realized later was due to airport activity.  In order for Gibraltar to have an airport, the runway crosses the main (only) road from Spain to rock and therefore cars are not allowed to enter or exit Gibraltar during take offs and landings.  After driving around for almost two hours trying to find the nature reserve where the infamous monkey reside (yes, we were lost in a place where all the signs and people spoke English), we finally got there only to find out that it would cost each of us close to 15 pounds (over $20) to get in.  While the price included a dozen different exhibits, museums, etc. we just didn’t have enough time to visit everything in order to make it to our other destinations and couldn’t justify spending that much so see some monkeys.

Beautiful countryside.

The rock of Gibraltar

Runway of the Gibraltar airport


For the drive from Gibraltar to Ronda I got to get behind the wheel and enjoy the crazy mountain roads.  The majority of the time it wasn’t too bad, just the usual winding road along a cliff, but there were a couple insane motorcycle gangs that would come speeding past and scare the heck out of me.  I had heard so much about Ronda from my roommates and other friends who had already been and couldn’t wait to see it in person.  The white city is separated by a huge gorge and had some amazing views.  While we were there the center of the town was blocked off to cars due to a bike race going on and there were also mini Semana Santa processions with little kids carrying the pasos near the main church.  In order to get down to the river at the bottom of the gorge we climbed down an old mine shaft/cave and ended up in one of the most beautiful places ever (a common theme for the day I think)!

Bike race through the center of Ronda.


Famous bridge of Ronda

Down in the gorge!

From Ronda we took the Paseo de los Pueblos Blancos (Route of the White Towns) a road that wound its way through the Andalucían country side and passed nearly a dozen small, white villages on our way to the most famous one, Arcos de la Frontera.  In Arcos I had the pleasure of experiencing for myself the craziness of driving on ancient Spanish streets almost narrower than our car combined with a hilly terrain that made it probably the most entertaining drive of my life.

Not sure I was going to make that corner...

Arcos de la Frontera!

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