Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rio Guadalhorce Natural Reserve - a great place for a Branch Activity!

A couple of weeks ago we had a Branch activity at the beautiful Rio Guadalhorce Natural Reserve, about an hour or so away from Fuengirola. The water is a gorgeous blue-green, with a temperature just right for swimming. We had 3 missionaries, 3 "permanent" branch members, 2 investigators, a friend, and 6 "temporaries" (members that join us for a few weeks once to several times a year). It was lot of fun!

Everybody brought plenty of food to share.

This is one of our "permanent" members, Marcelle, from Belgium with her two dogs. I'm teaching her the temple class lessons and am REALLY hoping to take another trip up to Madrid with her before I leave.

The gentleman in the hat and striped towel is our Branch President, President Tyndale-Biscoe, or "President Shaun" as he is usually called. On his right is Bruna, our Relief Society President, and on his left, two of our investigators.

We rented a paddle boat and took turns out on it. I went out with Marcelle, and it was so peaceful - very enjoyable. We had to be careful not to run over President Shaun as he swam across the lake and back though!

A great family who was with us for several weeks, from South America by way of France (many years).

This is the Guadalmedina River, which is one of the few rivers in Southern Spain that actually has water in it all year, and that is only because of the dam which forms the reservoir we swam in. Otherwise it would be dry most of the year, as is its 5 tributary rivers.
Again the river and also the famous Caminito del Rey, or "The Kings Little Pathway". This was before this year the world's most dangerous hike, with walkways clinging to the canyon walls, most of which were falling apart. Quite a few people died along it. This year, however, they finished repairing it and opened it to the public. Tickets were gone in 2 days for months in advance.

Another look at part of the Camino del Rey (it's nickname). I would LOVE to try it out if we can get tickets!

The views are fabulous.

I thought the houses in the crevice were kind of cool.

Our little group. We had so much fun!   Great people. I am going to miss them!

Sunday, August 2, 2015


One of the "must see" places to go in Southern Spain is Ronda, which is about an hour and a half from Fuengirola. It's quite spectacular as it is built right up to the edge of steep cliffs. It is divided in two by the El Tajo canyon, cut by the Guadalevin river (which, typical to the area, doesn't have a whole lot of water). Behind me is the Puente Nuevo ("New Bridge") built in the later 1700's.
The "old bridge" was built in the 1500's, much lower, had only one arch, and obviously wasn't built as well since it collapsed, taking 50 people with it.

To the right I'm pretty sure is the tourism building. Very Spanish and pretty.

I went to Ronda on a Pday with Hermana Coombs (she was nice enough to drive us there even though she had been before) and the office elders, Elder Fife and Elder Weenig. This is the everpresent and beautifully built Catholic church.

This is looking towards the New Bridge (the white car is on it). It's not that impressive from above, but really cool up close.

This shows the typical Andelucian white buildings lining the cliffs (taken from the bridge).

The Puente Nuevo is over 100 meters tall and was very fun to photograph :)

We got to go into the center room (you can see the "window" above the center arch in the picture above, and the doorway in the picture to the right) which had been made into a little museum. During the 19th century it was a prison, and during the 1930's Spanish Civil War it was used to house political prisoners.

A view down to the river, taken out of the bridge's center room. It is said that during the Civil War both sides killed hundreds of people in Rhonda (almost a thousand in total), throwing many to their deaths into the canyon.

Another view from the bridge showing the cliffs and Spanish countryside.

Heading towards the road that goes down into the canyon was this pretty view of Ronda.

The Elders and I hiked down to the base of the bridge. You can see one of the supporting pillars to their right and the river to their left.

Elder Weenig made sure I had plenty of pictures of myself. Some pretty good shots of the bridge, too!  Thanks Elder Weenig!

I just love these narrow Spanish streets! That shows that I have never had to drive down one :) Very pretty.

This was near the bridge - cool tile picture.

The view off off of the Puente Nuevo. I'm not sure I'd want to live in the buildings right on the edge, but what a view!

I'm so glad that I got to go to Ronda - this was the last place on my "bucket list" of places I HAD to see in my mission before I left Spain. There are others that would be good to see, but if not I am content. I have been so very blessed to be able to serve in this beautiful place! And I am also blessed to have gotten to know so many great people here. #missionsareawesome!