Perception, or how we want to see our surroundings

We started in 2002 with the rental of our house, which is now nearly 15 years ago. Over the years we have always tried to make improvements, both inside and outside. And although we know we will never reach perfection, we are very happy to say that most guests that have stayed here were excited about what we offer. There are a few exceptions to the rule, of course and this blog is an attempt to avoid misunderstandings and thus disappointments.
First of all, we have always tried to show ‘the real thing’ in our descriptions and photographs. Embellishment in advertising a holiday home is counter-productive and very often leads to disappointment. It is also not necessary, because we believe we offer a very attractive spot for people to relax and enjoy their well earned holidays! However, I am a keen photographer and see my surroundings my way. A camera only captures what you want to see and shoot. I see millions of details, I foremost see the beauty of our valley and the near surroundings. But I also know it lies all in the eye of the beholder. We live in the countryside, where recycling is necessary. We also share our space with insects, crawling or flying, but we believe there is room for everyone). And we run a little organic (vegetable) farm and we hope that everyone appreciates the peace and quiet we offer in our little ‘paradise’.

I’ll give you some examples of how and what we wish to perceive.

Do we see an electricity pole 'polluting' the horizon?
Do we see an electricity pole ‘polluting’ the horizon?

Or so we see a colourful composition of fields?
Or do we see a colourful composition of fields?

Do we see a farm and roads?
Do we see a farm and dead trees?

Or do we see colourful fields and a photographic composition?
Or do we see colourful fields, the whimsical shapes of the trees and a photographic composition?

Do we see a dead tree and another electricity pole?
Do we see a dead tree and another electricity pole?

Or do we see a swirling country road with shades (and a dog in this case!)?
Or do we see a swirling country road with shades (and some dogs in this case!)?

Do we see a rusty fence and lots of dry grass?
Do we see a rusty fence and lots of dry grass?

Or do we see an old oak tree..?
Or do we see some ancient oak trees..?

Do we see three tanks for our water supplies?
Do we only see the three tanks for our water supplies (yes, one can hardly nòt see them!)?

Or do we zoom in and see the beautiful view from above our country road?
Or do we zoom in and see the beautiful view from above our country road?

Do we focus on the 'chatarra' (scrap piles) of our neighbours, who work in construction and recycle whatever they can?
Do we focus on the ‘chatarra’ (scrap piles) of our neighbours, who work in construction and recycle whatever they can?

Or do we just see another country road (in the wrong direction and our dog again!)
Or do we just see another country road (and a happy dog..)

Do we see piles and piles or dry grass untidy on the sides of the roads?
Do we see all the dry grass, untidy and chaotic on the sides of the roads?

Or do we see the wild flowers in between?
Or do we see the wild flowers in between?

Do we see a hen-house, made out of scrap and a gate made out of a spring box mattress?
Do we see the hen-house, made out of scrap and a gate made out of a spring box?

Or do we focus on the fig tree behind the gate?
Or do we focus on the fig tree behind the gate and see it it bears fruit?

What I am trying to say is this. The photographs on our website are all ‘true’, but sometimes one needs to relax and open up to see the beauty of the rustic setting of our holiday home. We hope your stay in our home will help you to relax and make you not (yet) want to go home again after your holidays!

Ronda, November 2016

Lies, Francis and Santiago

More than just sun

Holidays is resting, looking for some private space, distance from day to day concerns, sleeping in, seeing new things, recharging your batteries.  Some people think ony of beaches and palm trees when they think of of Andalusia.
Inland Andalucia however is a completely different story. Ronda lies high on a plateau in the interior of the province of Málaga, at about 700 meters altitude, which gives it a different climate.

So the best reason to choose for a holiday in Ronda is, that something can always be seen or done from here, in whatever season.
October to May is the best time to go for long walks or bike rides in the Ronda Mountains, without running the risk of suffering sunstroke. (Hats or caps and lots of water however are best prevention!)
The period from March to May is particularly overwhelming when the wildflowers bloom in abundance and the nightingales incessantly perform their seductive songs. July and August are more suitable for daytime lounging and hanging around the pool, and in the evenings sit outside untill the wee hours enjoying the freshness of the night. June and September are the most pleasant months with lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures that are still not too hot. These months are very good to go for an early morning walk, to read books, have a long siesta or visit the surrounding cities or villages for day trips.

Browse through some more pages of our website and we hope we convince you that life is good here ! Read more

Landscapes of Ronda

The surroundings of Ronda are of the most varied of Andalusia. One moment you’re driving through barren rocky mountain ranges where nothing seems to grow, and suddenly green and fertile valleys fold out before your eyes, with evergreen Mediterranean forests and landscapes that are always changing color with the seasons.

In the almost 25 years that I have lived here, a walk or a drive has never bored me. On the contrary, I still feel surprised when I see the surrounding beauty of the Serrania de Ronda. My eyes are always taking the photographs that I hardly ever capture in reality, even though I often try.
But I hope that some of my pictures can inspire others to come here and try for themselves!

The valley ‘el Tajo’ of Ronda

Walking along the Rio Gaduarés

Nature Reserve Sierra de las Nieves

Tajo de Abaníco

The seasons; landscapes between Ronda and Campillos:

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Wildflowers in the Serrania de Ronda

In the immediate vicinity of the house you can find wild flowers everywhere. There are more than 1800 registered wildflowers, including some 40 different wild orchids. In the right seasons (mostly spring) and with a somewhat trained eye, you’ll stumble across the most marvelous specimens. There is a whole group of wild orchids, whose refined flower resembles the body of a bee. The trick is to look well around you because of their generally small size wildflowers can easily be overlooked. There are several guided day trips in case you don’t want to miss any!

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The White Villages of Andalucia

The famous white villages in and around the Serrania de Ronda are all within easy reach. Each has its own character and its own customs and traditions. Visit Grazalema in the mountains and surrounded by cork oaks, or Zahara for its beautiful location at the top of the big lake. Setenil has cave dwellings, Benalauria or all villages in the Valle del Genal are surrounded by chestnut woods and the so typical Mediterranean forest. Gaucin with its narrow streets gives top stunning views of Gibraltar and even Africa on a clear day.
Wool blankets are made ​​in Grazalema, cheeses in Villaluengua, sausages in Arriate, Benaoján and Montejaque, almond cookies in Atajate, leather goods in Ubrique, guitars in Algodonales .. And in almost all villages are restaurants serving typical local dishes.
One village has distinguished itself from the ‘white villages’: Júzcar has in 2011 exchanged her white outfit for ‘smurf blue’, on the occasion of the world premiere of the 3-D film ‘The Smurfs’. Since then, tourism in the hamlet of slightly more than 200 inhabitants has been booming and it was decided to, for the time being, maintain the colour of their houses blue.

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The Hidden Valley

Today we walked for five hours off the beaten track, where we passed mossy rocks, majestic holm oaks, we crossed green fields, went through enchanted forests and below jagged rock platforms. We  were guided the path by piled stones, cow dung and goat droppings. Oh yeah, and some sheep, but they went the other way.

This walk has been described by the ‘walking guru’ Guy Hunter-Watts and can be found here (a bit tricky, you can get lost easily..) or you can do the walk with the guide himself

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Where eat and drink?

In Andalusia there is no lack of bars and restaurants. I know of no other people who love to eat outdoors more than the Andalusian. So there are plenty of places, also in Ronda to help yourself to food, tapas, sweets or wines . In the tourist center there are many bars and restaurants to be found. Note however that not all places, even though they are well attended by one-day tourists, provide quality while they tend to use hefty prices. Here are some tips for finding restaurants and tapas bars that offer a fairly constant good quality:

Bar Restaurant Almocabar in the ‘Barrio de San Francisco’, just outside the city walls . Restaurant Carmen la de Ronda at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Restaurant Los Cazadores, famous for its fresh fish and fried eggplants . Restaurant Las Caballerías is at the bar (for tapas) somewhat pricy, but upstairs in the restaurant they offer you good and affordable local dishes . Good tapas bars include: La Taberna, Tragatapas or the somewhat newer Camelot near the new outgoing area  known popularly as ‘La Playita‘ (The beach), even though it only looks out on a public parking lot! Another acclaimed tapas bar is De Locos Tapas in the Barrio de San Francisco, where much attention goes to the specially presented and tasty tapas (and slightly less to the customer..). And if it’s too busy there, or you want something slightly more ‘normal’, than there are several other good places to eat in the ‘Barrio‘, such as Bar San Francisco, or the cheap Bar Benito .

Just outside Ronda in the old house from the train depot Arriate ( the village where also many ” cheap & cheerful ” find tapas bars ) is the El Muelle restaurant Arriate the sympathetic Dutch host Frank . The nice thing about this restaurant is , apart from the huge hospitable welcome, it is open from 13:00 to 01:00. Useful for anyone who can not take the late Spanish eating habits or a change .

There are also some very pleasant ‘pastelerías‘ or breakfast and lunch establishments like Daver Polo and Chocolat where a wide selection of tea, coffee and fresh juices is offered with breakfast, lunch or delicious sweets. Also handy is that both places have free Wifi.

The local wine production has pickes up a lot in recent years. And although the price-quality ratio has not (yet?) been in balance everywhere, you can see and taste for yourself at the wine routes in the Ronda area, where there are as much as sixteen Bodegas. Read more