We landed on the Friday at Malaga airport, picked up our hire car from Sixt then set off towards our first hotel near Marbella. The Greenlife Golf apartments are clean and spacious with huge amounts of storage space and basic self-catering kitchen facilities. They would be perfect for a proper golfing holiday and served us well as a base for our first couple of nights. The restaurant on site did us lovely toasties for breakfast with fresh coffee which were delicious and not too unreasonably priced.
Our first evening we were invited to a pre-wedding party at the bride’s parents villa in El Rosario. It was a beautiful place and allowed Fraser to catch up with some of his old school friends that he hadn’t seen in a while. It ended up being quite a late night with far too much bubbles being drunk and meant we woke up on our first full day with our heads a bit groggy.
We decided to day trip up to Ronda before the ceremony in the early evening. It took just over an hour to get to Ronda from where we were staying near Marbella over a mountain pass which had some pretty spectacular scenery. The drive was somewhat dampened by the fact it was almost impossible to find parking once we arrived. There was some sort of festival there meaning many of the streets in the centre were blocked off including the one to the car park we’d found on the internet. After another hour of driving around the centre trying to find somewhere we eventually came across the train station which had plenty of reasonably priced parking.
These set backs meant we didn’t have as long in Ronda as was planned but we set off in the direction of the old town through the festival. There were lots of locals in flamenco style dress which added a great atmosphere to our explorations. It did however mean that it was not the easiest to navigate our way around the town.
The biggest pull of Ronda for tourists is the Puente Nuevo (new bridge). Built in the late 18th Century the bridge spans across a 100+ foot deep gorge separating the town in two. If you are not good with heights looking down from the top may be quite an adrenaline rush for you. Unfortunately from the top you are unable to get the best view of the architecture of the bridge so we headed across to the far side and down a track towards the bottom of the gorge. About 150m down from the town is an amazing viewpoint looking up to the bridge. Getting there requires walking down (and then back up) uneven steps and terrain which is made harder by the heat in Spain but I would definitely recommend it if you can, it provides the perfect photo opportunity.
The town itself ranges between newer areas of current shops and cute little back alleys with traditional Andalusian buildings with flowers around the windows. We walked past the Plaza de Toros, one of the oldest bull fighting rings in Spain, but there was no time to explore further as we had to start making a move back towards Marbella to be on time for the wedding.
The wedding was held at the Don Carlos hotel outside Marbella. From the front it looks pretty ugly but inside and the gardens at the back are an idyllic setting to get married. It was a very beautiful affair and ended in another night of overindulgence leading to yet another slow starting morning the next day.