February 27, 2007

M&M Visit Ronda, Spain

(and Málaga Airport)

M&M visited us in October, as posted here, and I hinted to the fact that I would write about it more later. Now is later. There was also mention of the never ending travel-drama of which M&M are veterans. I shall describe some of that as well.

Our guests arrived on October 7th. They were a few hours late due to a delay in Paris. We are not sure what caused their plane to taxi for about an hour in France, but since they only had about an hour between flights, this caused them to miss their connection. Their airline placed them on another flight, but with a completely different carrier.

This new carrier was not run by a partner of the original airline, which resulted in their baggage being misplaced. In most of the world, if you do not make your plane then your bags are removed. The airlines attempt to keep your bags with you. However, when you change carriers as M&M did, a breakdown in communication can sometimes occur, especially if you are working with a short connection time. They were most definitely doing that because the airline was trying to get them to their destination as quickly as possible.

Their bags were still in Paris on the 7th when they arrived. The plane they traveled on from Paris to Málaga was delayed a little bit itself and then M&M spent a good deal of time first waiting for their bags on the carousel and then waiting in line at the lost baggage desks of both airlines they had flown on their way to Spain. There were many people waiting with them, so there had obviously been a big problem somewhere. Finally they were told that their bags were not there and that they would be delivered the following day.


The following day was Sunday. No one does anything in Spain on Sunday. Also, that airport only delivers twice a week to our area, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Obviously the worker at the airport did not...remember this.

We drove home, fed a very hungry doggy, went to eat ourselves, and headed off to bed.

On Sunday, October 8th, we waited a while for M&M to wake up. It had been a very tiring day for them and their clocks were all wrong as well. Cooper, the doggy-fantastic, couldn't wait for them to get up. He spent most of the morning by their door looking imploringly at us.

We woke them up in the late morning and once everyone had cleaned up and had their breakfast M called the airport to ask about his bags. I called as well since I could hear español a little easier than he. We spoke to someone who used a computer database but who was not actually at the airport. He told us that the bags had been scanned in and were there, so we decided to go by the airport to collect the bags.

Our drive to the airport was pleasant and took us through a few toll booths like this one:

We arrived at the airport, found the lost baggage desk, rang the bell and waited. M finally got to go through and searched through three places where bags were being held. He only found one bag. Obviously there had been so many mistakes the day they flew that bags were still being sorted that morning. M&M's bags had been scanned as they arrived at the airport, but they had not been sorted yet, so they were nowhere that he was allowed to look.

Needless to say it was a very upsetting and stressful morning. There is a slight language barrier, of course, and it made for a great start to another less than appealing day.

Señor CC and I decided we would take M&M to Ronda to see the bridge and gorge. First we stopped off in Puerto Banus to eat lunch. We then headed off to Ronda on this road:

That nice, straight, easy-to-traverse road quickly became a slightly more curvy version of itself. There may have been a nice car driving in front of us as well. That always makes for a good picture:

We arrived in Ronda quite late in the day. We only had a couple of hours of daylight left. There are museums, tours of the new bridge, the best preserved Moorish baths in the area and a great places to eat in Ronda, but we would have time for none of that. Luckily, the main reason people travel there is to see the gorge. It is a fine sight indeed.

When we exited the parking garage, we were able to see a beautiful park as well as a view towards the main streets of Ronda:

We walked through the park to the viewing area at the end. Here we had a spectacular view of the surrounding land. We could also look back towards the older part of Ronda from this vantage point:

We had some fun with pictures in the park and then made our way towards the bridge that crosses the gorge. On our way we passed many pedestrian streets such as this one:

We saw the bull-ring that houses a museum on our way, but we did not have time to visit. It really is interesting in the museum. You are able to see where they keep the bulls and also where they train the horses. In addition to that there is a history of bull-fighting along with the outfits and photos of the most famous fighters.

The new bridge is amazing. The first one they built in this location fell down and they had to rebuild. This one has stood the test of time:

The view of the gorge from the new bridge. We could see where the sun shines through the bridge:

The tour of the new bridge tells you about its construction and about a small prison cell that is located inside the bridge. The view of the countryside from the bridge is breath-taking. You can see for kilometers, especially on a clear day. Things were just beginning to get rain again in the beginning of October. This made for some interesting contrast between the browns and greens:

Many restaurants and hotels own property on the gorge. The best rooms are supposed to be those with a view. This restaurant has a great location. Señor CC and I have eaten there and hope to take Tahj, Ahj and R-Shelly there when they visit. You can get a variety of Spanish cuisine, and the view makes everything taste better:

I have mentioned the new bridge quite a few times in this post. There are actually three bridges in Ronda. Two are lower down on the gorge in the older part of the town. The Moorish baths are located near them as well. We did not get to see the baths, but we could see this old bridge from the new bridge:

We walked up the main street, full of shops for the tourists. To the side were los bomberos in their truck. I am not sure why the firemen were there; we could not see any reason for them, but they were kind enough to wave from their truck for pictures:

We strolled through the old streets, small and weaving, until we reached another park area. From here I was able to take a picture looking back towards the first park we visited near where we had parked the car:

As you can see, the sun was really beginning to drop in the sky and we preferred to not be on the curvy roads in the dark, so we left. At the request of M, we all headed back to the Málaga airport for one last check on the baggage. This time we knew the drill and it took a little less time to find things. I had un café con leche while M perused the luggage so that I would be able to drive home. Luckily, M found one more bag.

Unfortunately, the two bags we collected were the smaller of the three they had checked. The main bag with all of their clothing and important items was still not there. It was somewhere else in the building waiting to be sorted. We drove home, fed our tired hungry doggy and ourselves and we all went to bed. It had been a long day indeed.

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