I started the day with a healthy breakfast.
While eating the muesli I was reading everything about Ronda and later some more in the second book of the Hitchhiker’s series ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe‘. The kindle for breakfast is just the best, nothing beats it for turning a page while eating.
We had a big excursion planned for the day, so breakfast was a rather short affair. We left already before 10:30am (we are on vacation after all) and took the road to Ronda (no navi – no detour). I read about Ronda first in Paula McLain’s ‘The Paris Wife‘ (oh yes, just in case you are wondering, I have not read Hemingway’s Fiesta) and was already then excited knowing I would go there.
Already the way up was an adventure. The scenery was dramatic in a stark and intense kind of beauty. So when we finally saw Ronda from afar we were disappointed. We were so disappointed actually that the picture I took of it has already been deleted in the meantime. You didn’t miss much. But sometimes first impressions can be deceiving.
Once we parked and walked through the new part of Ronda (from late the 15th century on) we changed our opinion.
The streets looked festive and were decorated with lampoons. When we arrived at the arena we also saw why. We had missed the ‘Feria de Pedro Romero‘ only by a couple of days. I am not sure we would have gone (probably couldn’t have gotten tickets), but I love the idea of seeing a ‘corrida’.
The bull in front of the arena lets you know what the arena is all about.
Inside the arena, which sits 5000 people, we stood in awe and clearly thrilled.
The space behind the wooden barrier is narrow, must be to keep the bull outside. On some there was still blood from the weekend (I wonder whose?).
We also saw the collections of antique firearms, torero memorabilia and royal harnesses. I liked the announcements for the ‘Feria Goyesca’ best.
One can also visit the stables, corrals and other outbuildings. Very interesting to see the long way the bulls have to take before they arrive in the arena.
The stairs to the gallery were beautifully decorated with white/blue tiles. On some the bull didn’t look fierce at all, more like ‘Ferdinand‘.
The view from the second floor was also a sight to see.
And some more pictures of the arena from outside.
From here we made our way to the old city which is built on some huge rock formations. The old part is small and only on these rocks. It took the Christian army until 1485 to conquer the Moors of Ronda and probably only because they were starving and already decimated. Once we crossed over the new bridge (from the late 18th century) it was clear why. By the way, the architect who built the bridge (and the arena) fell from it after constructing it for 42 years.
We walked slowly around the Jardines de Cuenca (terrace gardens), stopping to marvel at the scenery and taking lots of pictures.
This was the old bridge.
I hope I didn’t swamp you with the pictures but we were duly impressed and I wanted to share this with you.
Eventually we made it to the Plaza Duquesa de Parcent and the Iglesia Santa María la Mayor, where we stopped for drinks first and later went inside.
The church and the collegiate next door were built on the former grounds of a mosque. With Christian thoroughness the mosque was erased. Not much remains of the heretic building except a small part of an arch in the church shop. The church itself is interesting in the way that it took around 200 years to finish it due to an earthquake in 1580 and boasts therefore Gothic and baroque style elements.
The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling around the old ‘ciudad’ before heading back to the hotel around 6pm.
And just so that you know where this post got its name from.