Los Remedios Church-Iglesia de los Remedios
This church of 18th century was a convent of the Franciscans till they had to abandon it due to the church property confiscation law. On the façade we can find an original combination of rococo style with other features, possibly influece of the colonial architecture from the Hispanic Americas. It's recently restored inside, and even they have installed a TV closed-circuit allowing the parishioners to follow the masses better.
Esta iglesia del siglo XVIII fue primero un convento de los padres franciscanos hasta que en 1835 tuvieron que abandonarla con motivo de la ley de desamortización. En la portada se observa una curiosa mezcla de rasgos estilísticos rococós con otros que parecen proceder de la arquitectura colonial de la América Hispana. Por dentro está recien restaurada e incluso han instalado un circuito cerrado de televisión para poder participar mejor en las misas.
Mass schedule - Horario de misas
Weekdays - Diario: 20:00 (winter - invierno) / 20:30 (summer - verano)
Sundays - Domingos: 11:00, 12:00, 20:00 (winter) / 11:00, 20:30 (summer - verano)
Clock tower - Torre del Reloj
Probably it was the minaret of a mosque on muslim times. Following the reconquest of the town by the Castilians, the mosque becames a church, and its tower was used as a belfry. In the 18th century a neoclasic dome was added to it, and the tower was decorated with garlands, volutes and high reliefs representing an ox skull. Currently there is a school next to the tower.
El origen de la torre es árabe, periodo durante el cual probablemente fue alminar de una mezquita. Tras la reconquista de la villa por los castellanos, la mezquita pasa a ser Iglesia, con la torre como campanario. En el siglo XVIII se añade una cúpula de estilo neoclásico, decorada con guirnaldas, volutas y alto relieves representando el cráneo de un buey. Actualmente hay un colegio junto a la torre.
Flowers' Square - Plaza de las Flores
It's a square where there are restaurants, ice cream parlours and the House of Culture. In fact it's the real social city centre which is really lively, specialy in summers.
Esta plaza tiene restaurantes, heladerías y la Casa de la Cultura. En realidad este es el centro social de la ciudad, el cual está muy vivo siempre, pero especialmente en verano.
Saint Louis Castle - Castillo de San Luis
They are remains of the castle the Catholic Kings built at the beginning of the 16th century to reinforce the city ramparts and promote its resettlement.
Son restos del castillo construido por orden de los Reyes Católicos a principios del siglo XVI, con el fin de reforzar las murallas de la villa y facilitar su repoblación
Christ's beach - Playa del Cristo
It's a small and pleasent beach, a little far from the city centre and next to the marina. It has a nice shell shape and a view of the Rock of Gibraltar in front of you. If it's a sunny day you can even see Africa.
Es una pequeña y agradable playa, algo lejos del centro de la ciudad y cerca del puerto. Tiene una bonita forma de concha y se puede ver el peñón de Gibraltar al frente. En días soleados incluso se puede observar África.
Marina - Puerto deportivo
Only 5 minutes away from the town center, the marina is a beautiful urban complex with an lovely touch. To stroll round the area is a real delight, feeling the sea air, enjoying the view, the boats... There are many good (and expensive) international restaurants available in the marina and also the more crowded discos.
El puerto está situado a sólo 5 minutos del centro de la ciudad. Ofrece un precioso conjunto urbano para dar un buen paseo entre el olor marino, la maravillosa vista del mar poblada de barcos... Hay numerosos, magníficos (y caros) restaurantes aquí además de las discotecas más bulliciosas.
Royal Street - Calle Real
No doubt, it's the main shopping area in town: clothes, shoes, gifts, decoration... In addition you can find here more restaurants, bars and discos.
Sin duda es la principal zona comercial de la ciudad: ropa, zapatos, regalos, decoración... Además puedes encontrar más restaurantes, bares y discotecas.
Museums - Museos
There are several museums in town, all of them located in the same building. There is an archeologic museum, a paleontologic exhibition, an ethnological museum and a bullfight exposition too.
Hay algunos museos en la ciudad, todos ellos en el mismo edificio. Hay un museo arqueológico, otro paleontológico, un museo etnológico y un museo taurino.
Opening hours - Horario de apertura
Mondays to Fridays / Lunes a viernes: 9:00 - 15:00
Saturdays / Sábados: 10:00 - 14:00
Promenade/La Rada beach - Paseo Marítimo
It is the beach situated in the centre of Estepona. It has a well-tended promenade with gardens and palm trees and lots of servicies as local restaurants (chiringuitos).
Es la playa situada en el centro de la ciudad. Tiene un paseo marítimo bien equipado, con jardines y palmeras, así como varios servicios y restaurantes locales (chiringuitos).
Andalusia's most spectacular location!
It was about noon by the time we made it to Ronda and found a car-park in which to ditch our rental vehicle. Even though it was mostly overcast when we arrived, Ronda did not take long to impress us by both its natural setting high above the Guadalevin River and its man-made attractions! I could already see that this place was going to have a VT-page of its own!
The town is located about 750-m above sea level in a mountainous area and with a magnificent view out over the wide valley as shown here. The modern town is bisected by the gorge created by the Guadalevin River, providing a spectacular setting for the famous Parador de Ronda hotel where you have a choice of falling off into either the gorge at the side or the valley in front (2nd photo)!
Ronda's history goes back more than 2000 years, with evidence of successive settlement by the Celts, Romans, Moors and finally today's Spanish rulers. The fact that the city is perched on the edge of a cliff and also has a river gorge made it a great defensive position, but it also meant that bridges were needed to get across that gorge. The latest and greatest is the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), completed some time in the late 1700s according to various records (3rd photo). This one would make a great bungee-jumping site, especially with the view you would have from the bridge looking toward the old Moorish part of town (4th photo)!
We enjoyed our Christmas Day visit to Ronda, but just wished that we had more time to fully enjoy its attractions before returning to our B&B in Estepona.
- Road Trip
Bullring - Plaza de toros
It was designed by the architect Juan de Mora Urbano and it was opened in 1972. Its particular design with an elliptic and asymmetric shape made it very unusual.
Fue diseñada por el arquitecto Juan de Mora Urbano, y fue inaugurada en 1972. Su diseño elíptico y forma asimétrica la hacen bastante original y única.
Enjoy a scenic mountain drive to Ronda!
Our main objective while staying in Estepona was always to make the short 66-km drive (a little more than an hour) to Spain's world famous mountain village of Ronda. On the morning of our first full day since arriving, the weather forecast looked good, so by 10 AM we were off, driving east a short distance before turning off the coastal highway at San Pedro de Alcantara as we began our climb into the Sierra Bermeja mountain range.
Moves are afoot to make this another of Spain's national parks, because of its very rare red peridotite rocks and as well as its thick cover of Spanish Fir and Pine trees. Major species living in this coastal range include Golden Eagles, Mountain Goats and Otters as well as many reptilian types. As for geography, about a half-hour into our drive we must have been near the impressive 1919-m La Torrecilla mountain, the highest in this range - but we could not see it's peak due to high cloud cover. However, we did stop to look in the other direction - westward toward a distant 'white village' (2nd & 3rd photos). From maps, my guess is that it was probably Algatocín, perched 720-m above sea level, a small village with less than 1,000 inhabitants and with its population continuing to dwindle.
You may as well plan on enjoying the scenery on this section of highway, because with all its switchbacks as it scales the mountainsides, speed is just not going to happen! Traffic was not bad on Christmas morning.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Gibraltar is not too far away
As with our day-trip to Ronda, at only 52-km and a 1-hour drive away, Gibraltar is also within easy striking distance of Estepona (border formalities are minimal). Sue and I were looking forward to seeing this icon of the British Empire while we were in the area but, with living in England, her sister was not nearly as keen to re-live life at home! We could see her point of view, so saved this visit for later in our trip when we were winding down after our tours of the Atlantic coast in the Tarifa and Vejer de la Frontera areas south of Cadiz.
The weather was not perfect, but we knew it was our last chance on this trip, so bit the bullet as we took in the majestic sight of The Rock shrouded in mist at its upper elevation of 426-m. We enjoyed our short excursion there, after crossing the border on foot from La Linea de la Concepcion and then walking through Gibraltar's main defensive fortification - the Landport Gate (2nd photo). This gate dates from before 1704 when the strategic choke-hold of Gibraltar at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea was captured from Spain by England in the War of the Spanish Succession. Because the tunnel was the main landward approach to Gibraltar by attacking forces, it has been greatly fortified over the following centuries.
Our weather was not the best, but we sat down outdoors for a British beer in the Lord Nelson pub once we had made it inside the fortress itself. A couple of bus ride tours later including an encounter with a few of Gibraltar's famous Barbary Macques (3rd photo), the only wild apes in Europe, and we then had to boot along to find our next accommodations while the light still held!
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Considering that we roamed around Andalusia for three weeks, we actually spent very little time on the Mediterranean beaches themselves (being late December/early January did not help)! We just had to wet our hands on a beach at Moraira, east of Alicante when we first arrived on the coast but it was not until 9 days later that we had our next seaside opportunity - in Estepona. As we pulled into town after our drive from Cadiz, we parked on one of Estepona's coastal streets and took in this view as Sue's sister accessed some cash from a banking machine to pay upcoming B&B expenses.
We ate at Trader Vic's restaurant along this shore the next evening (my 'Restaurant' tips), so returned in the morning to see what the coast was like in the clear light of day. The palm trees in front of the complex in which the restaurant was located looked like they had taken a beating from a storm or two (2nd photo) and the beach itself had more rocks and dark sand than I was expecting (3rd photo). However, that did not bother me since I was not planning much in the way of beach activities anyway - I just like being by the water no matter what it is like.
We continued along the beach toward that distant treed headland, but one has to deal with various rivulets of water running down into the sea - often so wide that a detour inland toward solid ground is required if you wish to get across without getting your footwear soaked! However, a good thing was the number of flattened stones that could be used to see how many times they could be made to skip on the relatively calm waters of the Mediterranean.
When we finally did reach that headland, it was worth the effort because of the abundance of blossoming flowers and cacti (4th and 5th photos) as well as the opportunity to watch a couple of the locals trying their hand at fishing from the shore (my 'Local Customs' tip).
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Relax poolside in the sunshine
It was Boxing Day, December 26 when we finally decided to just sit tight for once and enjoy where we were on such a beautiful day and with such great surroundings! Because the sun was shining, after returning from our morning beach excursion in Estepona, we decided to simply sit back and enjoy the amazing surroundings at our B&B.
It was great to take a day off from driving to enjoy a beer or two in the sunshine while enjoying the visual pleasure of this swimming pool area, while reading a book! The owners kept a supply of cold San Miguel beers in our breakfast refrigerator so I helped myself to a few (he said they were free but I just had to give him a few Euros for having them so handy). We also enjoyed some chips and our usual sandwiches while relaxing. Despite the mid-teen C temperatures, the water was still holding at a much lower level if one was brave enough to actually dip their feet in for a brief time, such as Sue in the 4th photo.
With the owners away for the day, we had the place to ourselves - no other guests. Frankly, I could get used to this life, especially after seeing on the internet that it was approaching -50 C back in Regina, Canada! One of our most enjoyable days in Spain.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip