A Mountain Village: Ronda
Ronda is located in the southwest of Spain and it can be reached from various cities. Málaga is probably the biggest city nearby. However, this time my friends and I made a day-trip to Ronda from Sevilla by bus. From the bus station (photo 1), walk down Calle San José and turn left on Calle Molino, you can reach Plaza del Socorro within 5 minutes. Plaza del Socorro gained its place in modern politics due to Blas Infante, who was the father of Andalusian nationalism. On this plaza are the Statue of Hercules and the two lions (Estatua Hércules y los leones)(photo 2) and the Parish Church of Socorro (Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Socorro)(photo 3–4), which was built in the 20th century. Most of the tourist attractions are close to Plaza del Socorro.
One street block away is the oldest bullring in Spain, Bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Ronda (Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda). Corridas Goyescas is the famous annual bullfight that takes place every September in Ronda. Maybe due to animal protection or bullfight being slowly outdated, there is only one bullfight a year in Ronda, unlike the situation in Sevilla where there are many bullfights taking place within a year. The entry fee to visit the bullring is 8 euro. Behind the bullring is a park with the viewpoint of the famous New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) and a sculpture of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway spent some part of his life in Ronda and he really enjoyed bullfights.
Parador de Ronda, a 4-star hotel, is also nearby. According to reviews, the hotel has a great overview of the New Bridge from the windows. Also, if booked early, one can get a good bargain.The hotel is also the first building you will pass by before stepping onto the New Bridge.
New Bridge (Puente Nuevo)(photo 1–3) is the most important tourist attraction in Ronda. It was originally built in 1735, however, due to bad construction quality, the bridge collapsed and killed 50 people. After the tragic incident, the current bridge was rebuilt in 1759, probably the reason it was named “New Bridge”. A chamber is located in the center of the bridge and is said to be used as a prison sometime in the past with some prisoners thrown off to the El Tajo gorge (photo 4–5), which is 120 meter deep. Several viewpoints are available for picture taking of the New Bridge. A hike from Mirador de María Auxiliadora to Mirador La Hoya Del Tajo and down to Calle Carretera de los Molinos will give you a great overview of the New Bridge and the gorge together. Mirador de Ronda (photo 6–7) also provides a good paranorma, but we took pictures of the Mirador itself from other viewpoints.
If you have enough time at Ronda, a visit to La Casa del Rey Moro (photo 1) may also be interesting. It is a place to learn about the Moorish occupation of Ronda. Jardines de Cuenca (photo 2–3) is also a garden you can look from afar, as the shape of it is pretty cool, but the garden itself is not very special. Nevertheless, if you want to visit La Casa del Rey Moro and Jardines de Cuenca as well as Puente Viejo in details, you can take a stroll on Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo. At the end of Calle Carretera de los Molinos and Calle del Prado, there is a gate called Puerta de Almocábar (photo 4–5). According to online source, the gate was built in the 13th century as accommodations for the guards there and was renovated in the 20th century after Carlos V took over. Walking back to Calle Espiritu Santo, Church of the Holy Spirit(Iglesia del Espíritu Santo) (photo 6–7) is near the gate Almocábar.
There are several viewpoints (photo 1–2) to see the white houses and the village (photo 3–4) on Calle Armiñán. On the way back to the New Bridge, Church of Santa María la Mayor (photo 5) caught our attention. Due to its mix style of architecture between Moorish mosque and Gothic style, the church looks relatively unique, unlike most churches we had seen before. Of course, an orange tree (photo 6) is always nearby anywhere in Spain!
As we traveled to Ronda in July, the weather is really really hot. Some days temperature can go up to 40 degrees. Even the cacti (photo 1) were not doing so good under such weather. Therefore, having bottles of water at hand is crucial or simply avoid July and August. Lastly, I had my first Churro (photo 2) in Ronda and it tasted quite good. This time we missed out on the Arabish Bath (Baños Arabes Yacimiento Arqueológico). If I ever visited Ronda again, I will make sure to pay that Arabic Bath a visit.