6:45am's jingle came on Greg's phone and of course he turned it off. We slept in for 45 minutes later. When we finally pried our eyes open Greg asked me, "what time is it?"
"7:30" I said closing my eyes again.
"If we get up and leave right now we can make it just in time," Greg proposed.
Not even 10 minutes later we had shoved every belonging into our backpacks, brushed our teeth, stripped our beds of the sheets we had to return and were scrambling downstairs. We grabbed a couple of muffins and raced out of the door. We had around 15 minutes to get there which is exactly how long the hostel website told us it would take on foot to get to the train station. They must've been running/ walking as fast as we were. My feet hurt so bad in my little TOMS shoes and one of the places where my sunburn hurt the most was the front of my armpits and shoulders, conveniently right where my backpack's straps sit. I was trying to keep up with Greg juggling our muffins, a jar of jelly, and my back pack. I hadn't taken a shower in 3 days more or less (don't judge me!) and I hadn't touched my hair since the beach the day before. I was looking rough walking funny as fast as I could holding all these things while trying to hold my backpack straps to save my skin the burning sensation!
Going straight down Heroe de Sostoa street we hit the train station, walked through it, around a corner, and finally to the bus station. Spain time means late time. They are always 5 to 10 minutes late because that is their unsaid custom. So we weren't too worried. As soon as we went to the ticket counter we were out of breath letting our Spanish flow out exactly what we needed. They said the bus leaves in an hour. We were in disbelief! We knew that we could probably still make the one at 8am! We kind of argued saying that we wanted a ticket for the 8 o'clock bus not for the 10 o'clock and he said that we missed it by an hour. We thought he was crazy because he kept pointing at his watch.
It finally dawned on Greg as he asked me "what time does your watch say?"
"7:58" I answered.
This was the "spring forward" day for Spain. The clocks were to be changed one hour ahead during our sleep. The time on my watch and Greg's phone has to be manually changed and of course we hadn't changed it yet. That morning we completely blanked even though we had talked about it the night before. After painfully rushing to the station we could have taken that hour to take a shower, eat properly and comfortably walk to the station. It was actually 9:00. As I walked to the restroom these two men laughed hysterically at my red-lobster body. I was wearing shorts and a tank top and although they think I can't understand their Spanish gossip I understood every word! I went to the bathroom and gave myself to the best of my ability a sink bath fully clothed washing my face, arms, etc... These ladies stared at my face and arms for a good bit. Finally, I just laughed and said, "ay me duele mi cuerpo y mi cara!" (Ah! my body and my face hurts!) That broke the ice and they asked if I had sun tan lotion or aloevera. They talked to me for a little longer while I tried to make my hair look less like a hobo's.
The 10 o'clock bus left with us in it. Ronda was only an hour away and it only cost us 4 euros. Carrie Thornton had told me about this beautiful pueblo, little town, but I didn't take her full word for it until I saw it for myself. The depth underneath bridge is breathtaking. The beauty of the canyon exceeded every expectation I had. We walked across one of the famous bridges, Puente Nueve, new bridge, which apparently is the newest. We unfortunately didn't make time to see Puente Romano or Puente Viejo, but I blame it on the rain. As we explored the New Bridge and the hiking trails around it the weather was perfect! From walking from the side of the bridge, over it, and on the other side, there was never a moment when we weren't peaking over the tall ledge to get a bird's eye view of the pais, country side.
The Bridge and the left hand side of the old town
The right hand side and a little bit of where we hiked.
We started down the stone pathway, around and down until we got into the tiny dirt paths that led closer to the bridge's waterfall. It was a blast actually getting to hike regardless of the wrong choice of shoes I had to wear. I forget how much I enjoy outdoorsy activities. It was great to climb into several caves and look at how a city was built on top of an ancient city's water system that had been dried out. The Moorish aqueduct had several tunnels where the openings were found in these caves and along the cliff's side close to the waterfall. You know you are about to get some major cardio work out when it takes a good hour to climb down the mountain side and you are about to reverse and retract going upwards. The first part of the returning hike wasn't bad because it was mainly level gradually going up on the mountain side, but when that stone path began I about died. I could tell that I had been studying abroad and heavily slacking on exercising daily. The sad part was, I was taking it easy ascending, but my lungs could have cared less as I was sucking in the fresh mountain air.
Me with the Puerte Nuevo
El Puerte Nuevo and the waterfall
This is a view from beside the bridge looking at the houses above the cliff and river.
We splurged a little and ate a great meal close to the cliff side eating ravioli, olives, bread, and fried eggplant with honey. To enjoy the rest of the day we spent an hour waiting on the rain to die down as it had started after we ate. We headed to Algeceras, a dirty port town close to La Linea which is where we wanted to go the next day in order to get to Gibraltar. Our hostel was super sketchy and not clean enough to take a shower barefoot, but it was cheap and a came, bed, to sleep in. I was thankful.