Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ronda, Spain and la Vuelta

Ronda, Old Town on bluffs of El Tajo Canyon
La Vuelta ended Wednesday's stage in the city of Ronda.  Seeing Ronda perched on the bluff with a birds' eye view from the race helicopter reminded me of my visit to this hill top town.  With dramatic vistas in every direction, Ronda is a perfect stop for a night on the journey from Sevilla to Granada.

Historically, Ronda was a Roman outpost founded by Scipio Africanus and fell to the Moors in 713.  Roman walls and bridge remain as do the Moorish structures.  Arab control ended in 1485 at the hands of the Spanish during the Reconquista.  French occupied the area during the Peninsular War and Ronda became a hotbed for guerrillas and bandits.  Today, Ronda hosts a Bandolero Museum.  The Ronda populace suffered greatly during the Spanish Civil War and many of its inhabitants left the city following the war.

Remember Hemingway's, For Whom the Bell Tolls (FWTBT)?  Hemingway spent several summers in Ronda and fell in love with bullfighting and the town, itself.  In FWTBT, a passage described the execution of a number of Nationalist sympathizers by flinging them off the high cliffs of El Tajo.  Many believe that Ronda was the inspiration for that scene.
Ronda - hotel and restaurant on the precipice
Ronda, Old Town
View of New Bridge from below
New town on left Old town on right
View of New Bridge from below
Bandolero Museum
Cliffs of El Tajo from below
View of Arab Bridge
Arab Baths
View of old city gate from Arab Bridge
Besides the fantastic views and excellent food, what do I remember about my stay in Ronda?  Well, we visited in September and the prickly pear cactus was in fruit.  Curious and tempted by the fruit, I climbed down over the retaining wall to sample a few.  Delicious, but I ended up with hundreds of threadlike stickers in my fingertips as I peeled the skin.  Even managed to get a few embedded into my tongue as well.  Ouch!  Anyway, my wife got a good laugh out of my exploit.
Fascinating place for a visit. The Tapas bars are lively and make an excellent oasis from the midday heat!

12 comments:

  1. Wow - amazing sites with so much history. Great place to take a break for refreshments too!

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    1. It is a great little city, Dean, with spectacular views. One to which I would enjoy a return visit.

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  2. As I may have mentioned, my parents owned a condominium on the Costa del Sol in Malaga for about 12 years. Sadly, at that time I was starting my practice, and then had young children so travel to visit them there was not feasible (and their place was far to small to put us up). However, they of course brought back many pictures and stories, and Rhonda was one of their favorite places to visit from there, along with Granada and Gibraltar... and Marakesh!

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    1. Peter, hopefully one day you can make the journey to Andalusia and experience the sights (and sites) first hand. The geography of Ronda is quite unbelievable. No wonder it was a strong point for whomever controlled it.

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  3. Picturesque scenery and a dramatic stage in the Vuelta, with Degenkolb and Bouhanni's little show down. And finally leaving Benalmadena we saw the favorites starting to show their faces in the race!

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    1. Yes, the GC Big Boys began to play their hands with the summit finish on Thursday's stage.

      This Vuelta is setting up to become the best Grand Tour of the year.

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  4. Lovely photos, Jonathan. My trip to Italy this summer made me realize how beautiful the whole region is, and now I can't wait to visit Spain, - this place is one I'd love to see.
    It's funny how our wives love these moments when we do foolish things, isn't it. :)

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    1. Ronda is definitely a place to visit. Spain, in general, is a terrific country in which to explore. On our next Spain trip, I hope to travel into the Basgue region.

      If we cannot provide occasional comic relief for our spouses, we are not doing our job!

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  5. A spectacular stop, Jonathan! I would love to make the visit to Spain one day. Ties right into your Reconquista project too. And ancient Iberians. ;-)

    That had to be horrible, waiting for all those tiny spines to come out of your hands and tongue.

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    1. ...and Peninsular War project.

      Yeah, the after-effects of tackling the cactus was awful but the slivers worked their way out quickly.

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  6. A splendid place and a fantastic bridge! Thanks for sharing...

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