The natural park of Grazalema is known for its many natural mountain springs, streams, river sources and fountains. Water in the Grazalema natural Park has always been extremely valuable to the local population with shepherds and hunters knowing where the wells and natural springs were, especially the precious ones that never dried up even through the heat of a long summer.
These men and women were able to set off into the Sierras with a small leather pouch which they refilled as they walked instead of having the burden of several litres in a rucksack which would slow their pace.
Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa violacea) Abeja azul de la madera are large, virtually all black bees which visit flowering plants and shrubs throughout the spring and summer, their scientific name is Xylocopa violacea. The later part of this name derives from the beautiful purple / blue sheen seen on the wings as they catch the sunlight. These black bees are common in central and southern Europe.
Do not be alarmed by their size of up to 23mm, they are not aggressive and will simply go about their business of collecting nectar from flowers, chooseing to fly away from people. The male does not have the ability to sting. The males will chase other males in competition as well as females that they wish to mate. At this time they can be noisy, crashing into walls, windows etc. If caught and handled the female may sting as a means of self defence.
The name carpenter bee is due to their using dead wood to breed in. The female uses her mandibles to chew into the wood, creating tunnels into which she will lay up to 15 eggs. The small bits of wood that break away, will either be discarded or used to separate the egg cells. They are just as content to place their eggs in an existing tunnel such as a bamboo tube. Each egg will be provided with pollen on which to eat when it hatches.
These bees are very efficient pollinators of open flowers but can also use their size and weight to break into long tubular flowers from above and steal the nectar without collecting and distributing any pollen.
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Listening to me along the way (and also some captivating guitar music from the amazing Paco Seco), you’ll pass breathtaking lookout points including the Mirador de Ronda and the Mirador de Aldehuela.
As we leave the new town behind us and enter the old, past the Mondragón Palace and museum we’ll visit Ronda’s former defensive border at the Puerta de Almocábar, and quake in the boots of history’s soldiers as you imagine approaching armies.
From there we’ll follow the old walls to the Arab Baths and the Puente Viejo bridge, before making our way back over Puente Nuevo. The tour ends in front of the Plaza de Toros, the Bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Ronda.
I’ll also provide answers to some intriguing questions like:
• What did Blas infante, the father of Spanish nationalism, do in Ronda? • Why is one particular Italian priest famous around here? • Who built the Puente Nuevo? • Did Queen Isabella really visit Ronda? • When did the Christian conquerors arrive? • How important is bullfighting in Andalucia?
Creating the VoiceMap GPS Audio Guide for Ronda from the content here at Ronda Today has been a real pleasure and I hope that you enjoy walking the tour as much I did making it.
Grazalema is a traditional white village (pueblo blanco) located in the north-eastern area of Cadiz province. It nestles amongst the beautiful mountains of the Sierra de Grazalema and has a local population of around 2000 people inhabiting the village and surrounding countryside. Getting to Grazalema by car is easy enough but things become a bit more complicated using public transport.
Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, The town of Ronda, Wildside Holidays and the Caminito del Rey.
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