Madrid, Andalucia and N. Africa-Part 3

Ronda, Spain/View from a Town Bridge

Hello, everyone.  This will be my last installment for our Iberian get-away.  I hope you’ve enjoyed our holiday as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it all together.  Doing so has given me a chance to relive my own visit.  Last time I left you on Costa del Sol, where we had just finished a day trip to La Alhambra in Granada.  Now, thinking of Costa del Sol, did you know back in the 1950s celebrities frequented the area: Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando, and Orson Wells.  The thought of Marbella, which is south on the coast brought to mind wealth and lifestyles of more rich and famous people.  Actually today, when I think of this particular location, I too have those thoughts.  Taking a drive along the main street that parallels the shore on coast of the sun (Costa del Sol) is reminiscent of any beach area with it’s shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and condominiums.  It’s like one long drive down Ocean Avenue on the west coast or Ocean Avenue at the New Jersey shore.

Now, while you’re here, don’t forget to set aside time to do the day trip to Ronda.  This town has the most important Moorish history, because the Christians took this city last.  The lovely hamlet is rated a must see, and the drive can be done in approximately one hour to one hour, fifteen minutes.  The scenery is quite breathtaking with its cliffs and wonderful old bridges.  I suggest taking three or four hours to roam around this tranquil locale, where you’ll get another chance to relax.  Also, it’s perfectly fine to drive here yourself, however, please note there are guided tours for this type thing.  But, because you can, wouldn’t you like to take your time and see it your way?

Our next day trip – I’m gonna have to name you all, “Day Trippers.”  Sorry, I couldn’t resist, but let me not get distracted.  Let’s move on to our final destination: Tangier in Northern Africa.  But first, I want to begin with a couple of stern warnings.  I know I’ve been pushing you to do things on your own.  But, in this instance, do yourself a favor and please go with the guided tour.  It’s probably the worse way to do this adventure, but the tours are well chaperoned, and the buses are clean and comfortable.  Just be prepared for the real “tourist” experience – the bus, the guide, the people.  However, we are talking, Northern Africa.  Ladies, do not take large heavy handbags.  Only take what you will necessarily need.  And my last warning, gentlemen, do not walk around with your wallets slipped into your back pocket.

Okay, let’s begin the day. The ride across the Straits of Gibraltar is on a ferry. But, here, you need to put the regular everyday boat thought to rest.  Because this ferry is, in essence, a souped up 007 type oversized cigarette boat. Actually, most of them I do believe are hydrofoils.  Now, you can ferry out of Algeciras or Tarifa; ask at the hotel when you book your trip.  As you jet across the straits, there really is nothing of interest to watch, until you catch sight of the white buildings of Morocco rising from the sea like some type of Atlantis.  What a stupendous sight.  Then, once off the bus, the first tourist thing to do is that picture with the camel, remember here they are a vital part of life.  There is also the snake charmer who will try to wrangle money from you.  If you do take pictures, please leave a tip; especially if you want one with the slimy creature around your neck.  After lunch, the last exploration of the day will include a trip to Cape Spartel.  At this spot the Atlantic mixes in with the blue of the Mediterranean ocean.  Also, while in Tangier there will be a lot of time for shopping, while in the Kasbah.  Okay, I should warn here that if you’re timid, don’t buy anything, because in this town you need to have hard-nosed haggling skills; otherwise, you will be taken.  But, regardless of everything, this one day jaunt will prove one non-stop, action filled day that you will never forget.  The last must do is, when jetting back through the straits, find a way to get a picture of the Rock of Gibraltar, which will be behind the boat.  It’s the large rock that is nicknamed, “The Sleeping Lady,” by the locals.  When you view it from afar you’ll definitely understand how it got that name.

So, now you have to make it home with your wares; African tchotchkes, Spanish wine, the Majorica pearls and those fabulous leather boots your purchased.  But, don’t be sad, you’ll carry the memories in your heart forever.  Now, I know I stretched this out over a three-month period, but as you can see, it really would not have fit in one post.  Hopefully, I have piqued your interest to this part of the world.  However, when booking that reservation, please think of me.  Happy traveling.

Images courtesy of Google Earth and 123rf.com

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8 thoughts on “Madrid, Andalucia and N. Africa-Part 3

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