May 4 - Ronda to Zahara
When Cindy and I left this morning we decided to make a diversion to Setenil de las Bodegas. This is a town that sits in a tube which has been hollowed out of the volcanic rock by its river. Many of its houses, shops and cafes are almost cave dwellings and are often sheltered by a rock canopy. Our journey to Setenil was interesting when my GPS took us onto a rough dirt road. We saw more of the countryside than we needed including a herd of sheep with sheep dogs.
After a short walk through town which included a stop at a pastry shop, we headed back to join the cycling route. At some point we decided to turn off the GPS and follow the cycling queue sheet. This became a big mistake when we missed a turn and drove into a town's very narrow streets. When we came to a narrow archway, I knew that we were in trouble because the car wouldn't fit through it. Several men helped me back up, turn around and retrace our route to get out of there. There was no damage to the car but we were as close to the buildings as two inches in some spots, even with the side mirrors pulled in.
Back on route, we drove on park-like roads alongside huge rock formations, past lakes and through a forest of cork trees. It was here that we caught up to the slower riders in our group.
The village of Grazalema was our lunch stop. This village is known as the rainiest village in southern Spain. It is also know for its wool blankets and leather accessories. It is now known as the village where Jean Peters was reunited with her wallet by Motesclares after she left it at a previous stop.
After eating lunch on the village plaza, Cindy did some shopping while I wandered around. At the lot where we parked, a naturalist was showing several species of raptors and owls.
Zahara is a small hilly village. It has a plaza with a couple of cafes. It also has a castle. I walked to the plaza. I also walked up a very steep trail to the castle. I didn't walk up the castle's interior stairs because it was too dark to see and I didn't want to trip on the way down. The view of the countryside was worth the hike.
A little downtime, Happy Hour and then dinner with Cindy and Dave Graham at a small restaurant down the street. I had asparagus soup, trout and chocolate mousse.