Today’s destination was Ronda, one of the larger White Hill Towns of Andalucia. Unlike other hill towns we’ve visited, the drive to this one doesn’t start at the base of the hill…..it starts an hour away…..on a winding, twisting, turning, curving uphill road.
Kris and I, both prone to car-queasiness, have husbands who handle this malady differently…..Craig drives slower while Paul feels this just prolongs the agony. Since Craig was driving, slow trumped…..and, against every fiber in his being, Craig let semi-trailer trucks pass him. I can’t speak for Kris, but I very much appreciated the snail’s pace.
When the road started leveling out, we knew we were nearing the town. Ronda is built on both edges of a canyon that was carved by the Guadalevin River….a bridge connects the old town (La Ciudad) on the south with the new town (El Mercadillo) on the north…..and was one of the sights we were keen to see.
then we continued along the path that borders the bluff to catch our first glimpse of the Puente Nuevo…..the lofty bridge that spans the 200′ canyon.
We met later for lunch at a cliffside restaurant whose fabulous views made it difficult to choose a seat……should you face the magnificient bridge or the picture-perfect houses perched precariously on the cliff’s edge? A group next to us had the perfect solution….they pushed two tables together and all sat on the side facing out.
After lunch, we had just enough time to visit the town’s bullring, Plaza de Toros, before it closed for the day. Built in 1785, it’s one of the oldest in Spain and the home of modern bullfighting…..where matadors stand in the ring with the bull instead of challenging it (more safely) on horseback. I’m not a fan of the sport…..I much prefer the French version where the object is retrieve a ribbon from between the bull’s horns and the bull lives to “fight” another day…..but the graceful architecture of this bullring was well worth the visit. Built entirely of stone with columns, arches and colorful barricades, it was a feast for the eyes.
During our short visit, enchanting and beguiling little Ronda had taken my heart. We left as dusk was creeping in…..stopping on our return journey to take pictures of the sun setting over the rugged Andalucian hills.
“We saw Ronda. Set on the mountain range, like a natural extension of the landscape, and in the sunlight, it seemed to me to be the most beautiful city in the world.” ~ Juan Goytisolo