|One place that Jason and I were looking forward to exploring was the southern coast of Spain...la Costa del Sol! One weekend we decided to head to Marbella and Ronda. Marbella is known for nice beaches and resorts, while Ronda (a bit inland) is more known for its 500 foot gorge spanned by a Roman stone bridge, the Puente San Miguel, as well as the oldest bullring in Spain (built in the 1700s).
So, we jumped on the high-speed train for the two-hour trip to Malaga where we picked up our rental car and began our weekend of fun, sun and laughter! Our first laugh was immediately upon getting our rental car. As soon as we got into the car in the rental company's underground parking lot, we couldn't get the electric side mirrors to work. It had been such a long walk to the car in the first place, but Jason patiently walked all the way back to let the person at the counter know that the mirrors weren't working. After her attempts to move the side mirrors, her response to us was, "Oh well...enjoy your weekend!" So we drove out of the parking garage, parked on a side street and Jason spurted out directions as I tried with all my might to move the stubborn, electric, side mirrors by hand. Luckily we got the mirrors to move and we were off to Marbella.
Or so we thought. The next laugh came when we tried to leave Malaga and kept getting lost with the shaky map and directions we had to find the highway toward Marbella. We kept getting turned around on side streets and missed roads we were supposed to take due to the many one-way streets of Malaga. After what felt like a 30-minute unplanned tour of Malaga, we finally found our way to the main highway that lead us an hour down the road to Marbella.
Once we arrived at our hotel, all was forgotten! Jason booked us at the Westin in Marbella, with his travel points, and it was heavenly! It was a nicer room than we had expected. Once we saw the room, we didn't want to leave! We had a nice balcony that overlooked the pool area in one direction and had a view of the ocean in the other direction. This became our breakfast spot in the mornings and our wine-sipping place in the evenings!
The next day we made our way to Ronda, which was a little more treacherous than we thought. The main road between Marbella and Ronda is one of the most winding and dangerous roads. Joy! Luckily we made it safely to Ronda and enjoyed a great day of sightseeing. The town is divided into two parts, because of a gorge. The older part in the north, is the Moorish and aristocratic quarter and the new part in the south, was built after the Reconquest. We spent most of our time strolling through the northern part with it narrow streets and Moorish buildings as well as touring the beautiful bullring which ended up shielding us when the rain hit! Once the rain lifted, we continued exploring the city and ended the day by having a glass of sangria on a tiny balcony overlooking the monumental gorge and Roman bridge. What a view!
Sunday was spent relaxing in the pool area for a bit in the morning, before taking the train back to Madrid in the afternoon. Our last laugh of the weekend was when it came time to actually leave. Jason and I had budgeted our time appropriately so we could have a nice lunch in Marbella before driving back to Malaga, to drop off the rental car and get to Madrid. What we didn't plan on was spending so much time at lunch. We got enthralled with some magazines that we were reading and stayed a bit longer than we had planned. When we realized how late it was, we quickly jumped in the car and sped down the highway to Malaga. The next thing we didn't budget for was getting lost again in Malaga with those pesky one-way streets. We were so close to the train station but kept having to make circles around it to get to the correct one-way street to get to the car rental's underground parking garage. We literally got to the parking garage less than 10 minutes before our train was to leave! After we grabbed our bags and ran to the elevator to the train terminal, Jason looked at me and said, "Do you have keys to the apartment? Do you have cash?" After I nodded yes, he said, "Good. I'll go return the car! If I don't make it, I will see you in Madrid!" And with that, the elevator doors opened and he ran to the rental counter in one direction, while I ran to the train's security area in the opposite direction!!
Luckily Jason did make it, so we were able to enjoy the train ride, together, back to Madrid. But I will always remember the words, "If I don't make it, I'll see you in Madrid!!" A comical end to a wonderful weekend!
Best wishes, everyone!
Jason & Gina