Since we spent a lot less time at the Plaza de Toros than I had estimated we would, we found ourselves with a good deal of extra time on our hands before we needed to be back at Ronda’s bus station to catch our ride to Málaga. We thought about attempting to hike to the bottom of El Tajo Gorge again since we had accidentally taken a small detour the first time we tried it, and so we headed back to the area in the Old Town where all the gorge hikes begin, but by the time we got there, we’d scrapped that plan and decided to hike the other direction instead. This particular trail would lead us down the gorge, beneath Puente Nuevo bridge, and spit us out on the other side. And this time, we didn’t get lost!
This hike was much, much easier than our hike through the gorge the previous day. I actually stayed upright the whole time, which is always a success. The majority of the trail was just a wide, dirt path lining the side of the cliff wall. We didn’t even need proper footwear – you can see I’m sporting the very best in hiking attire. Cheap, Walmart flip-flops for the win! However, even though the path was easy to walk down, we still had to be careful since the other side of this path away from the cliff wall was just a sharp drop-off into the gorge. Yikes.
While this hike was certainly easier, and I appreciated not tripping every few feet, it was also a lot less scenic. We’d catch glimpses of the countryside through the trees as we hiked down, but mostly we were just staring at the rocky walls of the gorge as we made our way to Puente Nuevo bridge. It was definitely a unique hike, but I prefer the mountain views.
As we got closer to the bridge, our nice dirt path disappeared and in its place was a narrow stone beam stretching around the side of the cliff and dropping straight off on both sides into the rocky stream below. A fence offered protection on one side, but the other was completely open. Pieces of the stone path had broken off in sections as well, making the path even more narrow. It didn’t feel entirely safe, but we were careful and slowly made our way underneath Puente Nuevo bridge and out on the other side.
So what’s on the other side? Not a whole lot, actually. Just pools of water that look entirely unappealing for swimming and a stream running through the cliff walls that feeds into the waterfall beneath Puente Nuevo bridge. This trail sort of brought us up even with the waterfall, but didn’t get us close enough that we could actually reach it, so we could only hear it. On our way back, I tried to find places where we could get closer to the waterfall, but if there is a trail that leads that way, we couldn’t get on it from where we were.
This hike was far from disappointing, though. Just like yesterday, even though the path we took didn’t turn out like we expected, it was still a lot of fun. And I felt pretty brave for not freaking out on the scary narrow beams. Traveling has done wonders for some of my irrational fears, particularly heights. A year ago I would have turned around and headed right back up the cliff when I saw that narrow little path, but I totally nailed it this time. (Now if I could just get over that fear of looking into the bathroom mirror when the lights are off. Bloody Mary, ya’ll.)
On our way back up, we passed a man offering to take “free” photos of people with Puente Nuevo bridge in the background. We decided to take him up on his offer because we hadn’t yet gotten a photo of all three of us together on our trip. (When you see people offering this for free in Spain, if you let them take your photo, always tip them or buy something they’re selling – otherwise you’ll look like a total jerk.) Anyway – I don’t normally hand my camera off to just anybody, but I’d seen this guy using a DSLR on another couple, so I figured he’d be able to take our photo without me needing to explain much. Wrong. He started asking me something in Spanish and since I have zero knowledge of photography words in any language other than English, I was completely lost. I kept just trying to show him that all he needed to do was look through the viewfinder and press the button, but he kept repeating the same phrase again and again. It took me awhile to figure out that he was asking how to turn on the flash since we were beneath the shade, but my camera has no built-in flash on it, so then we were both confused. He took the photo and then apologized in English for taking a bad photo. I assured him it was fine, and with a little editing later, I don’t think it turned out too bad. But I never asked a single other person to take our family photo for the rest of the trip – that was a stressful conversation!
When we got back to the top of the gorge, we grabbed some ice cream for lunch and then walked back to our hotel to grab our bags and get to the bus station. The first half of our Spain trip had been full of activity and exercise, but now we were headed to the Costa del Sol for two days of chilling on the beach – we were more than ready to prop our feet up and rest for awhile! More on our first stop along the coast, Málaga, on Friday!
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