June 20, 2012
Today we’re off to visit Ronda. Sterling and Teresa continue their excellent hosting – we would highly recommend their establishment to anyone (reviews from Mr. Angry of Dursley notwithstanding. You know who you are…). They’ve provided comfortable accommodations, taken time off to chauffeur us around, have translated for us, cooked excellent meals featuring lots of regional specialties, and made most excellent pitchers of sangria for toasting the sunset! We really can’t thank them enough. The trip has been much richer and more meaningful, not to mention they’re just a lot of fun to hang with!
Ronda is one of the highlight visits for southern Spain. It’s very picturesque, being situated on very high limestone bluffs, with high bridges over the river. The river has been crucial to its history, with various attempts to ensure a continuous water supply during times of siege. Sadly, none of them were particularly effective! If you’re curious about the history of Ronda & water, search for Ronda water mine and the Ronda Arab baths. Ronda is also famous for its bullfighting ring – the first facility built for the purpose and therefore the oldest one in Spain. Ernest Hemingway spent a great deal of his time in Spain here as well.
The bullfighting ring is architecturally beautiful, and it was interesting to see all the behind-the-scenes structures like the stables, chutes, bullfighters chapel, etc. The museum there had some very nice displays of costumes and of antique horse livery.
With plenty of daylight left, we went to the village of Montajaque for a beautiful walk up into the mountains. The limestone terrain of southern Spain can be very dramatic, with bare stone cliffs with cracked faces and jumbles of fallen rock. We did have better luck getting pictures of griffon vultures as well! We headed home tired but very happy.