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Itinerary from Gibraltar to Granarla and Ronda We breakfasted at six o'clock, and were on borseback before day-light: The first hour of our journey was occupied in ascending a lofty mountain.' When we bad gained the summit, and began to descend, the country becaine more agreeable. The woods were composed of various shrubs, the several hues of which gave great beauty to the scene. We passed some verdant meadows in the valleys,in which were several substantial looking farm-houses; there were a few cows grazing in the fields, and very considerable flocks of goats on the hills; but we saw no sheep.
We reached Estepona, hungry and somewhat fatigued. Estepona is a fishing town; the inhabitants supply Gibraltar with fruit and poultry, and contrive to live comfortably enough. The sea is an inexhaustible mine to those who have industry enough to labour in it. How strangely and genesally, however, is the fishery neglected.
After a plentiful dinner on fish, we left Estepona, and continued our journey along the sea-coast, for Marvella, where we proposed resting for the night. Our road was along the sea-coast. On the side of the road; between the foot of the mountains and the beach, we passed the ruins of several towns, formerly peopled by the Romans, and mentioned in the itinerary of Antoninus. As the country began to spread out, it had a strong resemblance to the scenery in the West Indies, particularly Jamaica. For a considerable distance on buth sides of the road, fields of sugar-canes, nine or ten feet high, were intermixed with others of rice; and several mills, for grinding the canes, were seated on the small streams which descend from the mountains. As the plain becanie broader, its beauty and tropical scenery increased. There is assuredly not a more lovely kingdom in the world than this of Spain, if the industry and taste of the inhabitants bore any proportion to the bounties of nature.
Our day's journey terminated at Marvella, a town containing about eight thousand iubabitants. The square is very beautiful, and has a tine fountain in its centre. The streets are narrow, but at night are well lighted. 'I be town-house and parisb church are both handsome buildings; besides which there are three convents. The ion, at which we took up our abode, afforded eggs, fish, and wine made in the neighbouring mountains. Our beds were sacks, filled with broken straw, spread on the brick floor.
We left Marvella about six o'clock on the following morning, and reached the shore of the Mediterranean just as the sun rose. The beach was firm, and the road excellent. The chain of inountains on our left bad a most magnificent appearance.. About half way towards the top of them'stoud the town of Misa, overlooking the plain. This town is situated about half a mile perpendicular beight above the level of the sea, and the mountain rises behind is, to an equal beight above it.
After three hours riding we left the beach, and began to ascend a small mountain, on the edge of which stands a castle founded by the Romans, and rebuilt or repaised by the Moors. When we had nearly reached the summit
Itinerary from Gibraltar to Granada and Ronda.
we were presented, through a chasm, with a most beautiful prospect. The desceat below us was a rugged road, througla verdant shrubs, mingled with cork trees; below this was seeo a most lovely plain, about four or five miles in extent, with a river meandring through the widdle of it; beyond were mountains gradually rising above each other, covered with vines, olives, and fig trees; and in the back ground, ranges of still higher mountains, with light clouds slightly hanging on the skirts of them, the highest points of which were either hid in clouds or covered with snow. The town of Funjerola in the valley, and the small white houses, interspersed among the vineyards upon the rising ground, were admirably contrasted with the various green tints below, and the brown aud red colour of the marble mountains which towered majestically above.
We reached the posada at Funjerola about noon, and rested ourselves and horses; the house was filled with tubs, in which they were salting sardinia and anchovies.
We left Funjerola at half past one, expecting, as the distance was only 16 miles, to reach Malaga early in the afternoon. We found the road, how. ever, most intolerably bad, but were compensated by the beauty of the pros. pects. An hour's ride brought us to the foot of a mountain which we had to ascend. The road was a narrow ravine or pathway, seemingly worn by the mountain torrents. Our horses, however, scrambled up with the agility of goats; but when they had nearly gained the summit, we met a herd of oxen, which some Moors were driving to Gibraltar, and which we had some difficulty in passing in such a narrow detile.
The country now became truly enchanting; it was as rich as beautiful, and moreover highly cultivated. A series of mills, one above another, hung ‘on the banks of a mountain stream. The scenery reseinbled those of a theatre. Benalmeeda, indeed, is celebrated even in Spain for this romantic wildness. After descending, by a steep road, we reached the delightful village of Torre Molenos, and beyond it, the plain about eight miles in breadth, at the termination of which is ille tnwn of Malaga.
Torre Molenos abounds with beautiful streams of water, which are used in the sugar and rice plantations that cover the plain. The borders of the mountains that surround this plain, are covered with fig, almond, plum, and pomegranate trees; whilst the upper parts, to the very summits, are corered with vines. We passed over the plain, through a village called Churiana, where the rich inhabitants of Malaga have country-bouses and gardens, well stocked with the most delicious fruits. After fording the river Guadalmedina, which is very shallow, we found ourselves at Malaga.
We stayed at Malaga some days, and then resumed our journey for Gra• nada. We left Malaga at noon. The first part of the road, which runs along the sea-side, was good, and was adorned on the left hand with the neat cottages of the peasantry, who were comfortably eating their frugal meals at the door, “every map under his own vine, and under bis own fig-tree." The Itinerary from Gibraltar to Granada and Runda. bills were covered with vines to the top, and the chasens between them with fig, elmond, plum, orange, lemon, and apricot trees. On the coast between the cliffs, seine fine levels, called Playas, open with a front generally towards the sea, of from one to two miles in extent, and terminate at the foot of the hills, so as to form a triangular plain. The road passed through fields of cotton and sugar canes, and the land was rich and beautiful. It was about five o'clock in the afternoon when we reached Velez, after a ride through a region reserabling an earthly paradise.
- The couatry around Velez exceeds all powers of description. The town is situated on the declivity of a lofty mountain, and the vines on the side of it, the verdure of its garden, the shady groves on the banks of the river, the lofty elms in the public walks, the profusion of fruits, and the transparent streams in the valley, render it one of the most enchanting spots in Granada:
Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Licori
Hic nemus; hic ipso tecum consumere ævo. On the bills around Malaga, Velez, &c. are upwards of seven thousand vinen yards, and it may easily be imagined, what must be the beauty, gaiety, and plenty of the country. Oranges, lemons, citrons, and almonds, are cultivated in nearly equal abundance. I know not how to give an adequate idea of this beavenly country, except by saying that it unites the health and the verdure of Europe, with the richness and luxuriance of the West Indies. Every flower and every fruit of every region, even to the banana and plantain are to be found here.
We left Velez at day-break, and continued our journey, for the first hour, through a country iacreasing in richness and beauty as we proceeded. The purest streams descended from the mountains, and meandered through beautiful gardens. The whole road was a gradual, but not a steep ascent, and we frequeatly crossed the river. Our ascent beeame steeper, after the first kour, till we reached La Venuela; and then for five hours we continued climbing precipices, which only mules or Spanish horses could have surmounted. By noon we had reached the summit of the first range of mountains, whence we could discern only a still higher range. At this spot wo found a lonely venta, which afforded no refreslinient except some straw for the cattle, and water from a mountain torrent.
We saw but one human habitation after leaving Venuela, and we were in. formed that these mountains abounded with wolves, and were the habitation of eagles. We continued from the venta to ascend still steeper mountains. When we had gained the highest point of our ascent, and had begun to des. cend, the country around us resembled England in the verdure of the fields, and in the abundance of the oak and curk trees. The cork tree very much resembles a small oak. After passing through many of these trees, tre came into an open, corn country, extending to the town of Alhama, and several miles beyond it, producing most abundant crops of wheat and barley.
We reached Alhama by five o'clock, and there being neither food nor liquor
Itinerary from Gibraltar 19 Granada and Ronda.
in the posada, our servants went to the shops to purchase it, whilst we surveyed the buildings and situation of the place.
The town of Alhama is bounded on three sides by a river which pours down from a great height, and therefore with great velocity, and turns in succession eight mills for grinding corn. We observed one curiosity in this town; there was but one house with glass windows; even the convents being destitute of this article of comfort. “As Malaga and Velez are vine countries, so Albama is entirely a corn district, and is surrounded on all sides with fields of wheat, barley, &c. The country being very fertile, the farmers are abundantly rich, and they live accordingly. Many of the fields are so remote from their habitations, that, during the harvest, the farmers and their laboorers erect tents, under wbich they live till the corn is cut, thresbed, and cas.. ried home, when they return to the town, where they reside till the seed time, and then they once again live under tents, till the labour of sowing be finished.
Alhama has one large church, most extravagantly decorated with expen. sive but tasteless oruaments. It has likewise three convents, but we did not visit them.
Upon leaving Alhama we travelled four hours by a gradual descent, over rich corn fields, and met with but one very small village in the space of twenty miles. After passing another small town called Almaha, we ascended a hill, from the sunimit of which we first saw the plain of Granada, but not the city, because some small hills in the centre of the plain intercepted the sight. This plain is of great extent, and includes within its circuit, fiftytwo towns. Its length is about thirty miles, and its breadth, in the part we crossed it, about sixteen. It is situated upwards of twelve hundred yards, or nearly three quarters of a mile above the level of the sea; but being enclosed by mounntains of a stupendous height, it has the appearance of a delicious valley. When we reached, the top of the small hills, and were within eight miles of the city, that most interesting object, with the whole plain beneath, presented itself to our view. Nothing could exceed the prospect which then opened upon us; the rich and populous country, well supplied with trees; the clear rivulets descending from the mountains, and artificially contrived to intersect it in every part; the splendid city, extending in a half-moon from the river, clothing the gradual ascent of a hill; the streets rising above each other; the profusion of turrets and gilded cupolas; the summit crowned with the Alhambra; the back-ground with the Serra Nevada, composed altogether a scene to which no powers of description can do justice. We rode over the remainder of the plain, till we passed the bridge across the Oro, and entered the cily. .
Granada is one of those cities in which the reality corresponds with the previous promise made by the imagination. Its antiquities, its public buildings, its beautiful walks, the lovely scenery of its environs, all concur to produce an impression which no words can convey* * The description of Granada is omitted bere, but will be given by itself is our next.
Itinerury from Gibraltar to Granada and Ronda. After staying at Granada a few days, we left it at day-break, and proceeded over the Vega, along a road through fields of great fertility. In two hours we reached Santa Fe, a town built by Ferdinand during the siege of Granada. It is situated in a lovely country. I inquired the price of land, and was informed that the price of the best lands, with a right of water, was about thirty pounds an English acre; in the country infinitely cheaper--about ten English pounds an acre being a good sum. An estate called Sota de Roma, wear Santa Fe, belonging to the Prince of Peace, had lately been sold, being confiscated by the Junta to the public use. This estate is a tract of about five miles in length, and two in breadth; it contains spacious woods of oak and elin, and most extensive and fruitful arable lands. Game of every kind abounds in it. It was formerly the property of the crown, and was a royal gift to the favorite. On leaving Santa Fe, we continued our journey over the plain, till we arrived at a lonely venta, on the side of a river, under the gateway of which,surrounded by muleteers and their mules, we ate the frugal repast which we had brought from Grauada. : We continued our route across the plain, which appeared so enclosed by lofty and perpendicular mountains, that we could scarcely conjecture by what avenue we were to get out of the valley. By following the course of the Xenil, however, we at last found an opening, but so narrow ypat it hardly admitted of more than the passage of the stream. The mountains rose on both sides in terrific forms and tremendous heights through the whole of this pass. The town of Loxa is situated in a broader part of it; its streets rise one above another on the side of the mountain, and still higber is a Moorisha castle, which gives the whole scene a picturesque appearance. We look up our lodgings for the night at a small posada in the towa. • We left Loxa as soon as it was light, and began to asceud the mountains, which are steep and lofty. These mountains are the Serra Nevada. We continued ascending and descending till noon, and at length, after travelling five hours amongst them, sometimes surrounded with clouds, which resembled the sea, we descended a little, till we reached the town of Chiuma, a place containing about seven or eight thousand inhabitants. The surrounding country consists chiefly of corn land, but intermixed with olive grounds.
From Chiuma we descended into a plain, at the end of wbich we reached the river Guadalhorce, which winds round the mountains, till it emplies itself into the sea at Malaga; at this spot it is a small, but beautiful streain, and of much celebrity in the Moorish times of Granada.
An hour's ride brought us to Antequiera, through a very fertile valley, Like most others in this part of Spain, it is finely situated, is surrounded by beautiful gardens and fruitful fields, and is adorned by the sublime mountajos which rise in the back ground. We found a comfortable posada, whicki furnished us with good provisions and straw beds. On the wliole road from Loxa to this place, a distance of twenty-five miles, we did not meet a single traveller; and, excepting the town of Chiuma, did not see a single house.