Today we traveled from Granada to Ronda. After walking to the Granada train station we picked up a couple of sandwiches at a cafe and then boarded the train bus. Half way to Ronda, in Antequera, we transferred to the train. Upon arriving in Ronda we bought our tickets for the Sunday train to Algeciris, then we walked across the newer town to the old town.
Upon arrival in Ronda, we walked from the train station towards the center of the city. Not a notable walk, just a gradual uphill through a typical Spanish town. But we shortly hit a large square overlooking the 100-meter-deep El Tajo gorge. The gorge is spanned by an old stone bridge, the Puente Nuevo (or new bridge, curiously). On the other side of the bridge is the original town, the oldest part of the city. That is our destination, as we've rented an apartment on Plaza Duquesa.
Our apartment, at La Colegiata de Ronda, Plaza Duquesa Parcent, 14, is wonderful: roomy, comfortable, and complete with a friendly and helpful proprietor. We had several rooms on the top-floor, open beamed ceilings, kitchen with washing machine, couch, chairs, and beautiful woodwork throughout. The small, deep windows gave geranium-bordered scenes of a tree-filled square. Comfortable and picturesque and located right in the middle of the old town. The apartment is next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor Ronda. Of course it's all rich with history, with many stories of locals fighting off the insurgents down in the valleys below.
After checking in we walked back over the bridge to the newer part of town. I bought some socks and then we checked out the grocery stores. Dinner was delicious tapas at el Lechuguita. 10€ got us 9 tapas plus wine and beer. Their signature dish is a quarter head of lettuce with some secret sauce, and it really was good. We came back later in the week and ordered it again. It's crowded with locals, many stand as the tables and stools are few. We capped off the evening by a walk around town then back to the apartment for wine.
When the first humans settled in Ronda they were drawn to it because it is an easily defensible place. It's almost completely surrounded by rocky cliffs as much as 100 meters high. This was successful, Ronda fended off all attackers, but only until their Achilles heel was discovered, their source of water. Lack of water made Ronda surrender.
Today, of course, Ronda's invaders are tourists. Ronda offers a comfortable combination of touristy and real. The city is clean and well maintained and takes advantage of it's beauty and history. Broad paths track along the cliffs, plus there are paths down to the valley below.
The small, historic old town connects to the newer and larger part of the town via a centuries-old stone Puente Nuevo (new bridge). This bridge was built over the period 1751 to 1793 so it is new only in relation to the other two bridges in town which are far older, the Puente Romano (Roman bridge) and the Puente Viejo (old bridge).
In addition to the cliffs and the bridges, there are attractions such as Moorish baths; Spain's oldest bull fighting ring; and churches and squares and well-priced restaurants. The bull fighting ring is still in use and attractive. Ronda is quite romantic and not without a hint of danger. You can't help think it would all come tumbling down were there an earthquake. But not a bad place to be should there be a zombie apocalypse.
We spent the morning walking around town and then hiked down to the bottom of the gorge. The gorge is the source of the town's safety, it's walls are formidable, but the gorge is its weakness as it is the town's source of water.
By afternoon the weather turned to rain so we pulled out rain gear and walked over to the Museo Joaquin Peinado. Peinado was a contemporary of Picasso and was influenced by him, especially in his cubist work and still lives. Which was great because I love Picasso. The museum is in the light and spare Moctezuma Palace.
Lots of shops with reasonably-priced ceramics. Paul bought a couple of colorful plates, and they survived the trip.
For dinner it was back to our fave, El Lechuguita. We splurged, 15 for 15 tapas plus beer and wine. We were first ones there when they opened, the only customers at all, but it was standing only by the time we left. We followed dinner up with a couple of pastries on the rainy walk back to the apartment.