There’s a Beach Boys song you may remember from the 1960’s (assuming you’re as ‘experienced’ as me) called “Help me Rhonda” and this has become our theme song for this particular day trip to … you guessed it … Ronda. Not just because of the name but also because of the lyrics that go ” Help me Rhonda, yeah, get her out of my heart”. That’s right, sing along if you know the words 🙂 .These lyrics apply directly to the bus trip itself and the … hmmmm … tour guide.
Google had reliably informed us that the medieval hilltop town of Ronda was about 90 minutes from Malaga by car so we were a little surprised that we were told to be at the assembly point at 7.10 am, an hour unseen by most sensible Spaniards.
As we trundled through the deserted streets just after dawn to meet up with our surprisingly small group of fellow adventurers, we hungrily planned breakfast at our destination. Oh, how foolishly deluded we were!
The bus duly arrived shortly after the appointed time and a very grumpy, elderly man hurried us on board. It then proceeded to stop at every cheek by jowl holiday resort along the Costa del Sol from Torremolinos to Marbella collecting more and more gullible participants along the way. All the while, the grumpy old man, who had finally introduced himself as Paco our tour guide, tried to convince us at regular intervals and in four different languages that we were in fact lucky, as there were usually many more pickups. The one thing I have learned from bitter experience is that the harder someone tries to convince you something is so, the less likely it is to be the truth!
Finally, four hours after our departure from Malaga, we finally arrived in Ronda and traipsed slowly around the streets behind our slow moving guide who seemed bent on wasting as much time as possible.
We followed him across the magnificent Puente Nuevo, the very impressive so-called ‘new’ bridge that was completed in 1793 after 40 years of construction and on to the historic centre of the old town for a scheduled wine tasting that proved to be a lifesaver … wine on tap … as much as you wanted in the time allowed. Blissful and amazingly heady on an extremely empty stomach!!!!
After a quick visit to the oldest bullring in Spain, we were given a couple of hours to have a delicious mixed tapas lunch and explore alone.
Then it was onto the bus again for the return journey which fortunately only took three and a half hours. Apparently, people disembark from buses more quickly than they get on them. The final nail in the coffin for this particular tour was when the bus driver stopped along the route and the tour guide speedily left the bus, presumably to go home, without a goodbye or even a backward glance and let the remaining passengers to the mercies of the fortunately excellent bus driver. It was a truly bizarre experience.
Ronda is a wonderful medieval village and is well worth a visit, but from my experience, take care not to book a trip through Julia Travels! It may have created a memory we will dine out on for years, but not for the right reasons.