Friday, November 18, 2011


Our plane landed in Malaga in southern Spain around noon on Wednesday November 9th.  Not having any specific plans for Malaga, except that we would need to get to the bus station in the evening, we headed towards water.  There was visible water...a sea or something we figured...within walking distance.  Checking Google maps, it seems like it would have been either the Alboran or Mediterranean Sea.  We only got so far before we saw a fairly large hill with ruins upon it, with an old steep path allowing you to get right up to the ruins.  We took that path and it took us to one of the nicest city lookouts I've ever been to.

I give you...Malaga .

...and here is a tilt-shifted image of the ruins that we were able to get nice and close to.  (Prepare yourself..I brought my homemade tilt-shift lens, thinking I'd get some nice tilt-shift opportunities.  I did.  Many.  Hopefully you like tilt-shift photography as much as I do.)

While we were looking for a place to have lunch, we saw this man.  My abnormal love for street musicians makes it hard to pass by without taking a quick shot.  He had a beautiful voice and a rather nice smile.

We hopped on the bus, headed to Ronda, stared at the gorgeous scenery zooming by, and were greeted by the night when we hopped off...

Our hostel was incredible.  Incredibly cheap and incredibly similar to a hotel...we had our own room, our own bathroom with a shower attached to the room, and I think there was maybe one other couple there, so we basically had our own whole hostel/hotel to ourselves.  As well as continental breakfast in the morning.  Which included fresh squeezed orange juice from probably the best oranges I've ever had.  We got up early on Thursday so that we could wander around the town before too many people/tourists were up and moving. We stepped outside and were greeted by sights including but not limited to these...

The city of Ronda is on top of a cliff.  A few cliffs actually, connected by a few stone bridges, the most famous of which, Puente Nuevo, took 30 years to build...from the 1750s-1790s.  We were able to look over the beautiful Spanish landscape, as well as directly into the gorge between the two cliffs, from our fantastic vantage point.  The sun was rising just as we first started looking around, illuminating the misty fields and mountain ranges that surrounded us.  Also, I tilt-shifted a horse.

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make our way down the side of the cliff.  After attempting to converse with a local (which on average went much better than we expected, all thanks to my somewhat-Spanish-speaking wife), we found out how to get down and did so.  

Here are some views of Ronda from below the town...showing the bridge. 

We then continued to roam through the town.  Orson Welles, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos all lived in Ronda at one point in time or another.  I can understand why.  It is seriously the most beautiful town I have ever visited and I will definitely be returning for another trip, if not joining those three greats by living there at some point in my life.  Supposedly the birthplace of bullfighting, Ronda's culture has evolved around it and with it.  Much of Hemingway's writings that include bullfighting were inspired by what he witnessed in Ronda.  Also, the most climactic scene in For Whom The Bell Tolls took place there.  But the town is on a cliff! Its main road is the bridge!  That's enough to get me to return.

On the other end of the town (a half mile away) there are some of the traditional Spanish homes with white washed walls and red roofs all clustered together...

I got an interesting "abstract" shot of them as well...thanks, of course, goes to my handy dandy homemade tilt-shift lens...

We then had to make our way back to the Ronda bus station so we could get back to Malaga so that we could get an overnight bus from there to Madrid.  The bus ride was ....interesting.  At one point in time my wife got off at what was just supposed to be a stop for a bathroom break (and luckily it was) but both she and I got a tad freaked out when at three in the morning the bus let those few people off, including her, and then proceeded to drive away.  Just slightly frightening, rather disorienting and extremely surreal as we both had to basically hope that the bus was going to return, as opposed to us never seeing each other again.  It did.  
Apparently it just needed to fuel up.  

We escaped that screwy bus once it reached Madrid.  Knowing how quickly hostels fill up, and having a certain desire to relive our Ronda hotel-like experience, we immediately sought one out.  We found a rather nice one with a great view of the city streets from our room, dropped off our bags and went out into the city of Madrid.  There was a beautiful park with an area filled with topiary, a little gallery with a local artist's work, a pond that looked like it would be a great place for some ice skating in just a few weeks, and a building made of glass that goes by the name of the Crystal Palace...there was an interesting exhibit called Written in the Celestial Bodies, which provided me with this shot (which I absolutely love, maybe due to lighting, maybe composition, I'm not sure...but I like it so much that in comparison all my other Madrid photographs bore me and won't be posted)...

After checking out another museum and a cathedral, as well as more walking around (always walking) we made our way to a grocery store, purchased some cheese, olives, baguettes, and fruit, went back to the hostel for a late dinner in our room.  We were up bright and early the next day, not by our own accord...our flight was a fairly early one and we never want to test the airport god.  All went smoothly, though.  Here are some shots from in the air on Saturday...

The first one is Madrid soon after we made it into the air.  The second one is France.  We think.  We carefully went over maps and considered the other land masses we were able to see.  Does that look like France to anyone?  Can you confirm our suspicions?

So yeah, note the amount of photographs from each city.  One of those cities has many more photos than the other two cities combined.  That one with the most...that was the best part of the trip.  That's where we have already decided to go for one of our future anniversaries.    

Hey.  That was Spain.  That was almost a week ago, though.  Normally I wouldn't post without including all the day's photos up to the day of the post.  But I am going to break that rule.  I've rambled long enough.  I'll post the last few day's shots either later tonight or tomorrow.

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