A Travellerspoint blog

Rounding Off in Ronda

A busy town.

Bag End
9-12th November 2021

Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments.

Back home! Yes we are, and struggling to conclude this Blog. But here we go.....

As mentioned, we had our guided tour of the wonderful Mezquita in Córdoba on the day we were due to travel to Ronda. After that so memorable experience, we got a taxi back to the Parador, visited the aseos, and got on the road, hoping that the Garmin GPS lady would follow the pre-planned route to Ronda.

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Ronda is in a funny space without a motorway nearby, not that we wanted to go on the motorways.... but, we came to quite a high sierra with low cloud settling on the top. Senora Garmin suddenly turned us down an 'N' road to the right for 12km and wanted us to go up a windy road, whose surface was not in the best condition and there was not really room for two cars to pass. Bob consulted our road map of Spain which was slightly more helpful than consulting a globe (we still had not found a detailed map of Andalucía) and we decided to turn back the 12kms and go up the road that had been right in front of us. It was a good road, if a bit windy, and we headed up a glorious sierra and onto the foggy summit.

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We safely descended to the other side and got onto a fairly busy 'N' road that took us, via various odd diversions, courtesy of Sra Garmin, right into the centre where the Parador is located.

We'd done our homework and knew the car park was underground and had been told via Email to park and go in for help. Luckily there was space under an arch to leave the car for a few minutes, only to find a long queue to check in and a Dutch couple at the end who already had steam coming out of their ears. A Portuguese couple had apparently been at the desk for around 20 minutes and continued to ask the one person on duty more and more questions. In a way, it was good that they were upset as we were able to adopt a 'calm down this is Spain' attitude, otherwise the steam would have been coming out of John's ears. He went off to see if he could find another member of staff who could advise about the car park but the only one was a waiter serving in the lounge and terrace (which are open to the public) but he was overworked serving drinks and was not interested in answering our questions.

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But meanwhile, Bob had taken the bull by the horns, pushed in and asked the sole woman behind the desk if we should park. She said "yes" and told us to press the buzzer at the gate. We did this and waited about 5 minutes before she deemed to divert her attention for a short while away from the questions being asked by the Portuguese couple, to press the button that opened the gate. This opens outwards so, if the small warning sign was ignored, it would smash into the front of the car. Luckily John had noticed it and parked well back. We found a fairly accessible space and noted that, by 3pm, the car park was almost full. What you do when it is full? I have no idea, but we decided there and then that we would not be taking the car out again until it was time to go home!

We returned to the lobby to find that there had been no progress and the Portuguese couple were still asking questions which the lady behind the counter was answering carefully and slowly, with the aid of maps, leaflets and other visual aids. By this time, the Dutchman's steam was super-heated.

40 minutes later we were checked in and had the keys to the room. When asked if there was a problem finding space in the car park, the check-in lady said "I don't have problems", which was not really that helpful.

With the queue dispersed, two men came on duty to sit behind the desk for the rest of the evening with nothing to do.

Luckily our room was on the "ground floor" so no lifts to get to it. We found a smaller room than we'd had to date. We had booked a "superior room" as per usual but we think that that is what guaranteed the balcony and magnificent view we had. We did not face the famous bridge across the gorge but did look down over the gorge and towards the wonderful Andalusian campo spread out before us.

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We settled in and went and had a coffee in the lounge. It took a while as the waiter was still up to his eyes, but a second one came on to take over so we managed to order at the bar rather than sit and wait wondering if the next millennium would arrive before the waiter. The tactic worked and our drinks were quickly served.

We had a walk out to look at the bridge then to find somewhere for dinner. There is one main pedestrianised street in Ronda with many, quite stylish shops (clothes, shoes, different types of tourist tat etc) and it's almost ¾km long.

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We spotted a likely place to eat and grabbed the last free table outside (though it was a bit chilly they had "flame heaters" which were quite effective). We then realised how lucky we were to get seats. For the rest of the evening, potential customers were turned away as they were "completo" the outside waiter taking great delight in telling them. Some were told to wait on the other side of the street and were eventually called in, but most were unlucky and turned away looking somewhat gloomy.

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When we got our main course, we realised why it was so popular. The food was excellent. John had ordered 'Presa Iberica' which seemed to be on all the local menus (along with Rabo de Toro) and Bob ordered the more familiar 'Secreto' of pork. 'Presa' is also pork but a cut from the back and it came as several steaklets which were tender and as delicious as any good beef steak as the meat is marbled with fat. The 2nd picture here is of Bob's 'Entrecot' from the following evening - yes it was so good we went back again). Also, instead of the ubiquitous chips the meals were served with either sliced steamed potatoes or small "roast" potatoes. And really good value given the quality of the food.

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A lot of tourists are attracted to this town. It is only a 40 minute drive from the Costa del Sol so we think a lot of excursions are run up from the coast. It's a nice town with the aforementioned shopping street, several interesting churches, palaces, plazas and the famous (infamous) bullring which is what attracted both Ernest Hemingway and Orson Wells to spend a lot of time here. Or rather it was the ghastly bullfights that did that. Very few bullfights occur now in Spain, thankfully, and we saw no posters for any 'fights' at this bullring which has the largest sand circle in the world.

But what really attracts the visitors here is the incredible bridge across the gorge. The original 'old' town is on the other side of the bridge. Much quieter but full of interest. Although there are two smaller bridges over the canyon, the "Puente Nuevo", the main attraction, was completed in 1793. The old town had no room to expand so the bridge allowed this to happen on the other side of the canyon. It certainly is an incredible structure.

Our next day in Ronda, having decided not to move the car from the car park, turned into a lovely, gentle day. We were out soon after breakfast and had the 'mirador' and much of the old town to ourselves as we discovered what it had to offer, long before the tourists starting arriving. Always an advantage of staying in a city centre.

We started at the mirador and then on to the bullring.

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We wondered at the bridge and crossed it into the old town.

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That's the Parador over the bridge.

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One of the smaller, older bridges can be glimpsed in this photo

In the old town, cafes, and people, were in short supply but we found one (a cafe that is) in the centre of the ayuntamiento plaza which had a church on either side.

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In one of the churches , at the altarpiece where you'd usually have the statue of an apostle or ancient saint, stood the statue of a young man wearing what appeared to be a 1930s suit,. There was also a modern picture on the wall of what we assumed to depict him having a vision. We've tried to do some research on who this might be but have drawn a blank. And there was no one in the church to ask.

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So can anyone solve this mystery, please??

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We pottered around for the rest of the morning, stopping frequently for 'another coffee'. We also bought a pastry to create a mess with in our room (there being no tables at the pasteleria). The rest of the day we spent reading and pottering. We went back to the same restaurant again in the evening, having booked a table(!) and had another delicious meal.

It was really nice to have a day "off". But it did mean the Blog is this late! John even managed to finish his book, a rare event, which was Elton's autobiography "Me, Elton John". A good read!

The next morning, following the routine Parador breakfast, we finished packing and were ready for the long drive home. We had made up a thermos so stopped for a coffee in a layby somewhere. We stopped again on this side of Granada at a mesón we'd stopped at before. We were disappointed to find that they no longer had any tapas and the only food available was tostadas or a "sandwich". We each had a toasted "mixto" - ham & cheese - which was passable. We will find a different place to stop next time. The place was all but empty which was understandable.

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We were home in about 5½ hours but it did seem a long drive this time. Maybe another stopover on the way would be in order next time! It was sad that Sofi was not there to complain about how long we'd been away but I know she is around here, pleased to have us back!

Now back to planning our trip to UK (Norfolk and North Wales) next May and, hopefully, back to the USA in the Autumn of next year. Fingers crossed!

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Thank you again for all your support and we hope you enjoyed following us on our little adventure, despite the ramblings.

Take care!

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Posted by Johnash 10:49 Archived in Spain Tagged bridge ronda parador

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Comments

Thank you for a very informative report on the Ronda. It bought back the memories of our visit years ago when Amanda was about 5 years old She looked so small as she stood down in the Bullring as the photo was taken up high in the arena.
Glad you watched 'The Gap'(Gorge)
This adventure satisfys another journey on the Wish List. Understand how good it felt arriving back at Bagend after that long ride.
Onwards to prepare the next venture.
Youlove it !!

by Jean& Ron

At least the weather got better as many of photographs look very sunny. Here is the next blog of Norfolk

by Vivienne Sawyer

Great last blog, tried to solve your mystery without success! See you again next year x

by Paul k

Another great blog and introduction to Ronda. A place I've never been so thanks so much. Your pics brought it alive. Hadn't realised the town was in 2 parts - good to know.

by Maggie P

Thank you for all the pictures and anecdotes! I tried to solve the mystery, too, but all I could come up with is the possibility that he was one of the young men being "tutored" by San Juan Bosco or Don Bosco, founder of the Orden de los Salesianos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bosco
I'm already looking forward to your next trip to UK. Best wishes for the coming year!

by Gabriela

Many thanks for a super blog.

by Annie

You sure had a great time in wonderful Ronda; your photos & text bring back happy memories of many visits there between 2004 & 2015! Glad you're both safely home after a grand trip - I'll look forward to travelling with you again on your next tour!
As for your mystery, I agree with Gabriela. Your photos place the suited statue in the Iglesia / Santuario de Maria Auxiliadora & internet research strongly suggests the priest in the painting (standing, watching the young man praying / having a vision) is St John Bosco. If so, then the suited statue (& young man in the painting?) might well be of Bosco's student Dominic Savio, who also became a Saint - which would explain the halo on the wall behind the statue's head.

by Ian T.

Love Ronda!! What a great look at it through your eyes and comments! We thoroughly enjoyed our time there a few years ago.Did you make it to the baths at the base of the hill (near the old bridge)? If not, add it to your plans next time! Thanks so much for all the effort in creating this blog. It was a real pleasure traveling along with you!

by Linda Ketterer

Once again managed to miss your email! Glad you enjoyed Ronda. We've had a couple of day trips there from other places and really like it. If we ever go again I must get the name of the restaurant from you. The food looked excellent! Another great trip and we've loved your travelogue as always x

by Sue and Gordon

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