Download detailed notes here. My descriptions are purely poetic!
We recently discovered a walk near Ronda that we have overlooked for too long. Called in Spanish Tajo del Abanico or the Fan Gorge, it is just on the outskirts of Ronda and is an amazing walking experience. There is apparently an “odd-shaped rock in the shape of a fan” which gives its name to the gorge. We found many candidates but remained uncertain which is the real fan.
It is just 4.5 km but so many interesting things to see if you know what to look for.
Judging from the wealth of fascinating historical remains on this walk, the path has been used by humans for a long long time. But I have only just got around to exploring it. I picked up a leaflet at Ronda Tourist Office ten years ago entitled Ho! To The George of the Fun and dismissed it as a joke. Bad judgement. This is an incredible 4.5 km each way linear walk, dotted with surprises from beginning to end.
The photos tell the story of our walk but you really need to experience this for yourself. It is fabulous.
The birdsong was intense but this particular eagle was permanently silent. And the rabbit eternally petrified.
We passed old farmhouses with perfectly proportioned stone towers – medieval granary.
At the end of the lane, there is a gate adorned with the Mexican saint, the Virgen de Guadalupe, complete in every detail of her many symbols, both ancient and more modern, indigenous Mexican and Catholic. For detailed analysis check this out. It is fascinating.
We passed an era – a stone threshing circle of which there are many in this whole area and all equally degraded. They were painstakingly constructed centuries ago of lines of stones radiating from a centre point about ten/twelve metres in diameter. The burning question is always where did they grow the crop that was threshed. There is no apparent arable land anywhere near the era.
We pondered over a rock that we were convinced was the “fan” that the walk is named for. And then noticed a most curious structure under it.
Clearly manmade and with a stone stopper in the opening. We wandered on unaware that the piece de resistance was next on this startlingly varied menu of surprises. Cobblestone paths. Incredible stonework. An old Roman road I like to think. I did enquire of the archaeologists at the museum in Ronda and they were adamant that they were medieval. Staggeringly beautiful and exceedingly well constructed.
The overhanging cliffs were impressive. The rushing of the river now joined with the birdsong, notably the housemartins who divebombed us to keep us away from their rooftop nests in the Cave of the Fun!
With incipient stalagtites.
Opposite the funny cave was our best pick for the rock, the fan, the Abanico.
Retracing our steps and wondering again at the splendid array of entertainment we had been offered, John posed on an abandoned seat in the middle of nowhere.
If you are lucky it might still be there when you need to breathe in the beauty of the place.
The dogs, our two Coton de Tulear, had a great time getting filthy but they are self-cleaning dogs and all the mud dropped out after a few hours. You can tell from our dress that it was cold. We went early, taking a breakfast picnic, and fortunately more than just a T-shirt as it was chilly in the gorge where the sun does not reach until late morning. That would be the ideal time to take in this truly spectacular stroll.
PS I make no apology for the many photographs in this posting! Had you been there, you too would have come back with a camera-full.