After a much needed café con leche followed by a near heart-stopping breakfast of huge fried churros and chocolate, we went to explore the countryside west and south of Ronda. This is a stunning part of Andalucia. Its relative isolation has protected it from the ad hoc and untidy development that litters much of the foothills north of the Costa del Sol. The area is a protected area, and unlike many of the so-called protected areas, the Parque natural de la Sierra seems to have escaped the illegal house and business construction that is still rife in Andalucia.
The area borders the famous Alconocales cork oak forest that run north towards Cadiz and Jerez. So many cork oaks dominate the hillsides and valleys. The trees are carefully managed, still harvested for their cork.
Although Spring has only just kicked off, wild flowers are more abundant and above us flew vultures and eagles – in quantities that I have never before seen; quite extraordinary.