Sailing Long Distances


Inspired by all the presumably rich people around, we thought, what’s the use of watching? We have to experience a luxury lifestyle ourselves. A chauffeured car would do it for a start, a big vehicle with a ten-liter carbon-burning engine of four-hundred eighty horsepower, superb air conditioning, and raised seats providing a clear view of the landscape we travel through. The vehicle is officially called luxury coach and operated by a Spanish-wide company. In short, we traveled by bus. The ticket price of shy below seven Euro one way didn’t drain the sailing budget. I think we can constitute; it’s a bargain for a sixty-five-kilometer ride.
The second surprise was the magnificent landscape. The drive could have been the theme of a Beatles song, a long and winding road with steep slopes nearby. Speaking of, the Andalusian government must have spent a fortune building this spectacular road; tons of everything, including dynamite. The drive from Marbella to Ronda is very popular with motorcycle enthusiasts as these people love curves upon curves. All drivers were rewarded with pavement as smooth as today’s investigative journalism when it comes to questioning governments’ doings. Contrary to nebulous statements of politicians, the mountains were not draped in clouds. The visibility was as spectacular to Gibraltar as the scenery was stunning, and we enjoyed a view from altitude sailors don’t see, as they always look upwards.
The history of Ronda is pretty much the same of other towns. First the Phoenician settlers, next Julius Cesar, and a brief period of Islamic domination. 1492 wasn’t only a big year for the Spanish crown in discovering North America. It was the year when the inquisition fought back the Muslims. Seventy years later, the Arabic language became illegal, and the doors to homes had to remain open on Fridays to prove that no Muslim Friday prayers were conducted. All this happened four-hundred and fifty years ago, and still, I concluded it’s what we experience to the day; there is always someone watching us. In the past, it was a neighbor or a clergyman. Nowadays, it’s someone at the other half of the world or the next-door neighbor again, and we have absolutely no idea of. Then as now, a firmly locked door provides excellent privacy. I guess some things will never change, only the methods.
Life got worse in Ronda during the three years of the Spanish Civil war in 1936. The international political climate at the time had many facets, like class struggle, religious struggle, wrangle between dictatorship and republican democracy, revolution and counterrevolution, fascism, and communism. I certainly don’t want to bore you with my philosophy here, but allow me a sentence in this direction, as many of our friends and sailing folks we met randomly fear similar developments nowadays. Religious struggles are almost every day. There is an increasing number in poverty on the one hand and wealth beyond imagination on the other. We might face the dictatorship of science and climate versus democracy, young contra elderly, Western lifestyle in battle with the ones outside, and last but not least, overpopulation and the increasing shortage of supplies. Some say we will witness a struggle between man and nature the more we penetrate the last intact spots on earth.
No struggle was getting to the town center, to a park that offers a spectacular view of the canyon. Standing there agog, I wasn’t prepared for that: a cliff, one hundred twenty meters deep right under the feet. The buildings in the valley, the horses on a pasture, cars, and people, everything was dwarfed by a marvelous landscape and a blue sky. A gentle breeze of warm wind, enriched with the flavors of dry grass that smelled like late summer at home, topped the view to perfect a moment. I thought spontaneously; this is worthwhile to remember long ever after. Read More