Walking near Ronda

We just discovered a walk near Ronda that we have overlooked for too long. Called in Spanish Tajo del Abanico or the Fan Gorge, it is just on the outskirts of Ronda and is an amazing walking experience. There is apparently an “odd-shaped rock in the shape of a fan” which gives its name to the gorge. We found many candidates but remained uncertain which is the real fan.

Judging from the wealth of fascinating historical remains on this walk, the path has been used by humans for a long long time. But I have only just got around to exploring it. I picked up a leaflet at Ronda Tourist Office ten years ago entitled Ho! To The George of the Fun and dismissed it as a joke. Bad judgement. This is an incredible 4.5 km each way linear walk, dotted with surprises from beginning to end.

The photos tell the story of our walk but you really need to experience this for yourself. It is fabulous.

The walk starts near the western approaches to Ronda, along a narrow lane. The Springtime flowers made us gasp. The photo does not do them justice and lacks the sound effects.

flowers

The birdsong was intense but this particular eagle was permanently silent. And the rabbit forever petrified.

eagle

We passed old farmhouses with perfectly proportioned stone towers – medieval granary.

tower

At the end of the lane, there is a gate adorned with the Mexican saint, the Virgen de Guadalupe, complete in every detail of her many symbols, both ancient and more modern, indigenous Mexican and Catholic.

guadalupe

We passed an era – a stone threshing circle of which there are many in this whole area and all equally degraded but were painstakingly made of lines of stones radiating from a center point about ten/twelve metres in diameter. The burning question is always where did they grow the crop that was threshed. There is no apparent arable land anywhere near the era. era

We pondered over a rock that we were convinced was the “fan” and then noticed a most curious structure under it.

round hole

Clearly manmade and with a stone stopper in the opening. We wandered on unaware that the piece de resistance was next on this startlingly varied menu of surprises. Cobblestone paths. Incredible stonework. An old Roman road. Staggeringly beautiful and exceedingly well constructed.

roman path

cobblestones

The overhanging cliffs were impressive.

tajo abanico

The rushing of the river now joined with the birdsong, notably the housemartins who divebombed us to keep us away from their rooftop nests in the Cave of the Fun!

cave

With incipient stalagtites.

stalactities

Opposite the funny cave was our best pick for the rock, the fan, the Abanico.

abanico

Retracing our steps and wondering again at the splendid array of entertainment we had been offered, John posed on an abandoned seat in the middle of nowhere.

handy chair

The dogs, our two Coton de Tulear, had a great time getting filthy but they are self-cleaning dogs and all the mud dropped out after a few hours. You can tell from our dress that it was cold. We went early, taking a breakfast picnic, and fortunately more than just a T-shirt as it was chilly in the gorge where the sun does not reach until late morning. That would be the ideal time to take in this truly spectacular stroll.

PS I make no apology for the many photographs in this posting! Had you been there, you too would have come back with a camera-full.