The rock of Gibraltar sits at the tip of Spain’s south coast and is a British Overseas territory ceeded to them since 1713. The town was originally under Moorish rule in the Middle Ages. Julia tours did a great job in getting me to the region from Malaga City Center. My tour started at 7 a.m. at a pickup stop near my hotel and followed a southward journey through the coastal towns of Andalusia . Some of the beautiful towns dotting our sunrise journey includes , Arroya de la Meil , Benalmádena , Carvajal, Artola , Mejia’s and Estepona . The tour guide gave interesting facts of the region as we rode in the comfortable coach , however we could not eat on the bus but a couple stops were incorporated for snack and bathroom privileges . Arrival in Gibraltar took a little longer than if a private trip was taken because of all the pickup stops in the towns we drove through, however the views made it palatable. The approach to the Rock revealed a spectacular view of this age old region which have been on my list Travel spots for so long. There is a customs check at the “border” , a British border patrol officer entered the bus to check passports. We proceeded by a smaller van to tour the rock and the town of Gibraltar . The winding journey up the rock’s peak took us to altitudes of 426 meters(1397 feet) . Gibraltar is located at the southern tip of the Iberian Sea and across the straits of Gibraltar the continent of Africa can be seen by way of Morocco . The Mecaque Monkeys are the only wild population of monkeys on the European Continent and are roaming free throughout the Rock of Gibraltar peak. They are not shy with humans and are known to snatch your belongings if you are less than vigilant on your visit. The St. Michael’s Cave was included in the tour and provided a great experience to see the limestone formations enhanced by the changing light show. The surrounding town was charming with reminders that I was in Britain and not Spain, the red phone booth the post boxes and the monetary exchange I received after handing over Euros . A visit to Gibraltar will not disappoint .
Just a two hour train ride from Malaga is the must see beautiful town of Ronda . We decided not to take a coach tour which would be a longer trip because of all the pick up and drop off stops. We took the Renfe train from Estacion De Malaga Maria Zambrano which was conveniently just steps from our wonderful hotel The Barcelo Malaga . The train journey was seamless and relaxing as we passed beautiful lush landscapes as well and mountainous regions revealing many little towns along the way., Polígono Guadalhorce, Álora, Teba, Almargen and Antequera a mountainous area where hikers could be seen along the side of the mountain . Arriving in Ronda relaxed and refreshed , we headed to the local tourist office for maps and information. Plaza El Toros De Ronda is steps from the tourist office and cost just a few Euros for the entrance fees, we opted for the self guided audio guide to listen to the interesting facts and history . We will have to return in September to see a bullfight as that is when the season begins. Strolling through the town of Ronda revealed lovely stores and pubs as well as architecture of old.The Ronda gorge (El Tojo) was the centerpiece of our visit, so vast and beautiful , it took my breath away . You are able to see it from the top along the Puente Nuevo bridge and then acces the views from the bottom by hiking down , down ,down. The gorge separates the city’s 15th century old town from it’s new town. Returning up, up, up proved more daunting than the descent. At the helm of the gorge just to the right we discovered the El Morabito Cafe , a beautiful backyard restaurant looking out unto the magnificent views of the gorge. The food here was delectable and the sherry was a perfect pairing to complete a feeling of serene wellbeing . Your visit to the Ronda area will surely leave you with plans to return ....
I had the unrivaled pleasure of getting to this mountain top with a tour that was good but I will have to return . My visit did not even scratch the surface of the five hundred plus years of history embodied here. I felt like Moses getting to the top of the mountain without enough time to soak it all in. Montserrat is roughly about thirty minutes outside of Barcelona , it is a multi- peak rocky range which is part of the Catalan pre-costal range. The main peaks are 1,236 meters high , the range dates back some five million years . I made sure to place my foot on one of those early rocks to cement my union with such wonder from such times. This mountain houses , The Benedictine Abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat which is home to Our Lady of Montserrat (The Black Madonna), Museum of Montserrat and the Montserrat Monastery . The area can be accessed via bus tours , car or train , the Funicular Cremallera goes up the mountain and let’s you off right in the middle of everything. We enjoyed a movie about Montserrat just inside the bookstore , and had a taste of the shops , tour of the Santa Maria Cathedral and walk among the rocks going even further up the mountain. See more of my photos in my gallery .
This museum is one of the best I have visited to date! It wowed in ambiance and presentation from arrival to exit! The museum can be viewed from a block away and as you get closer the amazing architecture takes your breath away , literally . Wander with me as I present some of tases awe inspiring grounds , entrance and art housed inside . Your visit here should be scheduled for no less than a half day to appreciate the wonderful Parc de Montjuic and the Museum proper . There is a little refreshment stand at the foot of the museum where you can enjoy the view of the surrounding area while enjoying a beer or coffee . I tell you this is an outing that made my being sing!