Europe '96: Cuevas de Pileta

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Since I didn't like the people too much in Ronda, I decided it would be a good time for hiking, even in a steady drizzle and occasionally worse, like floods, which fortunately only affected me in terms of trains getting rerouted. Anyway, my second hiking day I decided to go up to the Cuevas de Pileta, rather famous caves with Neolithic and even Paleolithic cave drawings. The caves are pretty spectacular in their own right, possibly more impressive for geological than for anthropological reasons, but it was the latter which put them on the map. [June 2002: there is now a website 🔗 dedicated to the caves.]

Waiting for the train to Benaojan, where the caves are, I met up with a 30ish married couple, Scott Slarsky and Katrina Edlund, both architects, he from Boston, she from Sweden, living in Madrid, also headed to the caves. They were on the way to visit her elderly Swedish relatives in Málaga, but had decided to take a break and check out the caves.

We walked together from the RENFE station to the caves (about 7 kilometers), went on the guided tour of the caves, hitched a ride back to the RENFE with an American couple in their fifties, and had lunch at a very elegant British-run posada (Molinos del Santo). Then we came back to Ronda and hung out waiting for their bus to Málaga.

Hard to write about caves. These were in a pretty natural state, although a walkway and staircases had been built. No lighting, just lamps you bring with you on the tour. I saw only one place where a passage had actually been opened up to make it easier to get through. Worth getting to for anyone who may ever find themselves in the area, but I guess I'm pretty inarticulate on the topic. If you like limestone...

I gather that the desendants of the man who discovered the stone age paintings of the cave have made a family business out of it, but they've done so with taste. An un-tacky souvenir stand, guided tours, and that's about it. The guide had a thick Andaluz accent, although he also spoke a little of several other languages. He must know how to say "stalactite" and "neolithic" in every major language of the world!

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Originally written: 1996

Last modified: 26 February 2021

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