The day I almost fought a bull

21. April 2019
It takes a while today to get out of the house (if you’ve been following our adventures, you probably know why). At 11.15 we finally make it down to the beach and Balcón de Europa. From there, you have great views over the coast. My personal highlight though are the parrots. You hear them everywhere but you need to look a bit closer to actually see them. They’re so fast when they transport sticks of woods and other stuff from palm tree to palm tree to build their nests. Adorable birds, but very loud.

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While I’m chasing parrots, trying to get a photo (which I give up eventually, kudos to patient animal photographers – the photo attached is actually from Malaga), Rodri enjoys listening to one of the many street musicians’ in Spain. We also come across the final Semana Santa procession of our journey. It’s resurrection Sunday and this procession is happier than all the previous ones. What I find special about this one is that also women take an important role in it, we see a lot of female musicians and one group of women even carry one of the thrones. A lot of children also take part in the procession. I think I enjoyed this one the most.

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It’s time to set off, as our trip today will take approximately 4h, and if google says 4h, we usually take much longer as we like to stop and take photos whenever we see something nice.

Our first stop is Ronda, a beautiful old village built on rocks. The main sight of this town is the bridge, which we first try to see from below. To do so, you need to put the following coordinates in your phone: „Ronda Bridge View Point“ Ctra. de los Molinos, 1955, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spanien

If you find a parking spot along the street, you could park there. If you don’t plan to see the village itself (which would be a shame), you can also just drive down to the very end of the road and access the mirador (viewing point in Spanish) directly. There’s parking. Otherwise, rather do the short hike up and down. Don’t go down with a camper van, it’s a narrow and bumpy road.

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Since it is starting to rain we seek shelter in a Tapas bar – the usual. We have some amazing Tapas. Afterwards, we walk towards the bridge and are rewarded with impressive views over the gorge and the valley. Ronda is definitely a must-see. Due to industrialisation in the 18th and 19th centuries, many natural spots were destroyed. This loss encouraged young upper-class people to undertake an unprecedented journey – the so-called „Grand Tour“. Preferred destinations were archaeological remains from Greece and Italy, European mountains and Spain. Artists and writers used descriptive adjectives such as sublime, great, lavish, spectacular, etc. to describe their travel experiences. They were referred to as „Romantic Travellers“ – „Viajeros Románticos“.

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As we continue our journey, we see the most impressive sunset above Europe’s most southern point, Tarifa – not without an (almost) dangerous encounter with a bull.

A story that I had to tell in my Spanish class, so here’s the original text (translation below).

Me gustaría contaros sobre el día en que casi me enfrenté a un toro.

En el camino a Tarifa, que es el punto más al sur de Europa, vimos la puesta de sol más increíble. Íbamos en el coche y quería parar en algún lugar para tomar fotos. Aparqué rápidamente al lado de la autopista. Allí había un campo detrás de una valla

Caminamos sobre uno de estos suelos típicos que las vacas no pueden cruzar y de repente vimos un toro en la distancia. Me dió miedo y le dije a Rodrigo que regresara, pero el toro solo nos miró rápidamente y luego siguió comiendo hierba. Por eso, íbamos más lejos. ¡Teníamos muchas ganas de hacer una buena foto! 

Subimos una pequeña colina y de repente, apareció una vaca. Cuando nos vio, saltó asustada. De repente vi dos cuernos gigantescos apareciendo por detrás de la colina. Cuando Rodrigo vio el toro enorme, dijo: „July, tal vez deberíamos volver“. No respondí. 

Se dió la vuelta y me vio corriendo hacia la valla. Él gritó „¿Estás loca? ¡No corras delante de un toro!“, y me siguió rápidamente. No lo pude evitar. A pesar de estar en España, no tenía ningunas ganas de pelearme con un toro. Cuando finalmente alcancé la valla, Rodrigo llegó un segundo después. Supongo que él también había empezado a correr. El toro no nos seguía. 

Nos subimos a nuestro vehículo, solo para descubrir que a 20 metros de donde había aparcado el coche había una gasolinera con vistas perfectas de la puesta de sol.

Translation:

I would like to tell you about the day I almost fought a bull. 

On the way down to Tarifa, which is the most southern point in Europe, we saw the most amazing sunset. I was driving, but I really wanted to stop somewhere to take pictures. I spontaneously stopped at the side of the road where there was a field behind a fence. We went inside the enclosure and suddenly saw a bull in the distance. I was scared and told Rodrigo to go back, but the bull only quickly looked at us and then continued to eat grass. Therefore, we dared to walk further. We really wanted to take a good picture!

We walked up a small hill and suddenly a cow showed up behind it. When she saw us, she jumped away scared. All of a sudden, I saw two massive horns appearing behind the hill. When Rodrigo saw the huge bull, he said: “July,… we should maybe go back”. I didn’t answer. He turned around and saw me run towards the fence already. He screamed: “Are you crazy, don’t run in front of a bull!” and followed me quickly. I couldn’t help it, despite being in Spain, I really didn’t want to fight a bull. I was already thinking about where I could climb up to save myself, when I finally reached the fence. Rodrigo followed after just a second. I guess he had started to run too. 

We got back into our car, only to figure out that 20 metres after where I had stopped there was a petrol station with the perfect views of the sunset… Oh well, a story worth telling!
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Before we started this journey, we hadn’t expected to ever make it so far, our itinerary actually ended in Ronda. But because we will spend the summer holiday in Malaga with Rodri’s family and friends, we’ve decided to skip that place for now, and also, the weather hasn’t allowed us a fun day at the beach so we at least have three days left to see even more of Andalucia. And for sure that sunset is definitely worth it!

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The roads take us down to Tarifa, Andalucia’s hipster- and kite-surfing town.

Basically, every second person I see there either looks like a hippie, or a surfer, or both. On every corner, I can hear German speakers, so it must be popular amongst Germans too. It’s a great town, the typical narrow roads we’ve come across so much, interesting alternative stores selling organic clothes and other products (and if you plant the tag, you get carrots, I have no idea how that works), lovely little hipster cafes and hidden restaurants. The beach is nice too. Very windy though.

On clear days, you can see all the way to Africa, as Morocco is only about 14km away. It’s not a clear day, however, it’s dark as we arrive at the beach, and the Moroccans are still awake. Hence, we can see the city lights clearly from the shore. It feels as if you could just walk over to Africa.

Parking in Tarifa: It’s for free as well, however, during the summer it might get tricky to find a spot, as all the surfers come to the beaches. We had our hotel outside the city centre, so you might be lucky in this area.

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