Day 10 - Sunday, April 2, 2017 - Visit Dramatic Ronda; Puente Nuevo Bridge; Home-Hosted Dinner
We had a leisurely Sunday morning as we did not have to leave the parador until 9:30. We met our group and the local guide, Juanjo and began our hiking tour of the city of Ronda. Although it was chilly, 42 degrees, the sun was bright and he made frequent stops on sunny corners so we were not cold.
We began with an explanation of this Andalusian village, one of the oldest in Spain. The two branches of the city were divided by the ravine or gorge called El Tajo, meaning The Cut.
We crossed the Puente Nuevo, built in the 1700’s that spanned the gorge and the Guadalevín River that we have been following since we arrived in Spain. Surrounding the valley are the Sierra de las Nieves Mountains.
The word Ronda means round, and geologically the earth looks like a caldera but our guide assured us there was no volcano. The seismic activity of the region caused the land formations and the uplifted mountains.
As we wandered through the very narrow streets of the Moorish Old Town, we could see influences of mosques and Arabic architecture. In a small corner shop we met Julio, the chair maker, who invited us into his patio to view his creations of small chairs made of willow branches.
Rikardo stopped at a bakery and bought us all a delicious almond cookie that is a delicacy of the city. We continued our walk to the City Plaza, the original meeting place of the community.
Once the center of all activity, the plaza was the home to bullfights, farmer’s markets, and other civic gatherings. Now a peaceful garden with large shade trees and flowerbeds, the park is a haven and a restful place to sit and watch the world go by.
The Casa don Pedro, or St. John Bosco home was our next stop for a restroom break and to view the terraced gardens. A private home donated to the Catholic Church it is now the retirement home of several Salesian priests who live in the restored palace and care for the gardens.
Our walk continued back over the Puente Nuevo and to the Serraína de Ronda shop. The proprietor, Juan Manuel carved the famous Iberian ham leg. We were offered a piece of the thinly sliced ham, a piece of goat cheese, and a taste of the local sweet Málaga wine, also produced in this region of Andalusia.
Our tour ended at the Plaza de Toros, the bullring that was built in 1785. There are bullfights in this arena in May and in September each year. Tickets vary, depending on how close you are to the ring and if you want to sit in the sun or the shade. About 150 Euros will buy you a ticket to the bullfight in Ronda.
Statues to famous bulls and bullfighters dot the village. Pedro Romero was one of the most famous. We had lunch in Pedro Romero Restaurant before walking back to the parador for a Spanish Siesta. Instead of resting we caught up on the journal and sorted photographs.
At 2:30 we could pick up our clean laundry and then we met Rikardo at 4:00 for trek down the gorge. Not everyone ventured down the steep rocky path under the high hot sun. The walk was well worth the effort to see another view of the Puente Nuevo, (New Bridge), really quite old built from 1759 – 1793 connecting the two halves of the city.
After time back in our room, we met the group at 7:30 to go to the Home-Hosted Dinner. We were divided into only two groups as one of the families had an emergency and could not host us.
Our hostess Inme welcomed eight of us into her home for a lovely home cooked meal with specialties of the region. Inme’s husband was not home but Inme’s sister Auxi helped to serve the meal. Inme’s three delightful children, Isaac – 12, Claudia – 7, and the baby Jordany – 2, entertained us all evening.
The menu was appetizers of sausage, olives, and a blue cheese pastry. The main meal was a potato quiche, fish with scalloped potatoes and carrots, and a mixed spinach salad. Dessert was the best lemon mousse we have ever tasted.
At 9:30 we thanked the family and they drove us back to our parador where Rikardo was waiting for us. We were able to add the group photo to the day’s journal and then finish packing for a travel day tomorrow.
The two days we spent in Rondo have been a wonderful experience. We love the little town with the quaint streets and welcoming people. Everyone we have talked to mentioned how the town has changed with so many tourists. While Hemingway was here it was a sleepy little village with not much to do but the bullfights.
“Ronda is the place where to go, if you are planning to travel to Spain for a honeymoon or for being with a girlfriend. The whole city and its surroundings are a romantic set.”
Accommodations: Parador de Ronda Hotel - - - Meal: B, L, D
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This sure sounded like a nice day you had. I'm glad bullfights never were my thing. I love that bridge. Could you send me some of that lemon mousse? Enjoy your time and as always you both look wonderful and happy.
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