Monday, April 26, 2010

Through the Mountains to Board the Royal Clipper

Finally, the ship's internet connection was fixed today, 4/30!

We wanted to see the old city of Ronda which involved yet another impossibly steep road trip to the top of the gorge. There were places the road was every bit of a 45 degree incline and it was a wonder that the car didn’t slip but up it went. It’s a two way street too! However, we didn’t meet any on-coming traffic, luckily.

The Sierra Nevada mountains were between us and the coast and there were two routes. There was the super highway route of the winding, twisty route through the mountains so naturally we took the twisty route even through the GPS advised against it. Leaving Ronda we started to climb and the road gradually dwindled to just wide enough for two cars if you pulled over to one side. “Our side” happened to be the outside and the starboard passengers got an excellent look at the 1000 foot dropoff where the pavement ended. Nevertheless, the scenery was spectacular and I would recommend the route.

Reaching Malaga we expected to see a sleepy coastal town but boy were we wrong! It was a thriving metropolis complete with traffic to rival NYC. What a mess! We had thought the directions to the ship were adequate. Just get in the vicinity of the harbor and look for the tall masts, how could be go wrong? Ha, we couldn’t even find the harbor at first. Finally we saw the water and got a brief glimpse of the top of our ship as we sped past the harbor in dense traffic. It was hidden behind a gigantic cruise ship higher than even the masts on our Royal Clipper! How to get to the ship was another matter. However, we finally found the entrance to the harbor proper and drove for several miles along the docks to reach our ship. We dropped off our luggage but then had to drive to the airport about 20 minutes away to drop off our rental car (another trips through that traffic!)

Finally, we boarded and the first thing they did was check us for a fever with a hand-held IR thermometer. If we had shown a fever, we would have not been allowed to board. The rest of the day was spent in relief, ahhh to calm down and relax! We had dinner and were all on deck for the cast off of the lines for our cruise overnight to Cadiz.