We arrived to Ronda after bittersweet goodbyes with the tapas world of Granada and one of the best dinners I've ever had.
|Ronda hasn't learned how to socialize very well with others. |
Nobody thinks to go to Ronda, do they?
Let's take a moment to reconsider.
|Ta-Da! A view of Puente Nuevo looking up toward the edge of the city. Apparently the small enclosed area that you can see at the top center of the bridge was used as a prison during war time. Slightly intimidating?|
Driving through with veiled eyes, one might mistake Ronda for a town like any other: cute restaurants, a small village with tourist shops, cured pork legs abounding in all shop windows (honestly, even gas stations have whole cured pork legs on display in Spain).
|Looking at Puente Viejo ,the bridge that preceded the one on which we stood, and now looked forlornly on at all the lost foot traffic that forsake it for the new guy.||
|John and I thought we could find wild asparagus, so we took an absurdly long hike in its pursuit, but got a nice view of the city from afar in the process.|
Not only could you pass through the town without realizing why it's so special, you could even pass right over the thing that makes it so amazing and, if you were looking down at your smart phone, you still might miss it.
|Overlooking the Guadalevín river that cuts through the city and made things a bit difficult until some aggressive bridge building took place. Hey, sometimes you just gotta build a bridge, amiright?|
Ronda sits in its quaint, self-contained manner high at the top of a winding mountain pass. It's isolated, and the people there know it. And so, with the trademark determination (willfullness?) of the Spanish people, they built a bridge so that they could have access from the outside, but keep others out, when necessary, once on the inside. So well was the city protected that at one point, its only weak point was a secret passageway from the river below that cut through the river's sheer mountainside border (read more about that below) and up into the city.
|Toward the bottom left are the beautiful pools at the base from which old Kings would make slaves carry up water.||
|Bridges are fun!|
The most-renowned Ronda bridge, Puente Nuevo
, dates back to 1751, when it underwent construction after King Felip V decided a new and better bridge needed to exist to one-up the two that had come before it. One-up it did, but not until after 40 years of construction and about 50 deaths in the meantime.
At about 320 feet tall, it means business.
|To the bottom right are the ruins of Arabs baths near Puente Viejo and what once was the Moorish bridge. You can see the equestrian center sitting in the background, which isn't known for its ancient history, but we like horses, right?.|
The fact that Ronda is filled with Spain's oldest bullfighting ring
, many amazing restaurants, and adorable cobblestoned walks is all background music. This bridge is it
. You can come here five times a day and never tire.
|The garden of La Casa Del Rey Moro, aka the Moorish King's House|
|Through the old garden of the Moorish King one can find a set of secret stairs that lead under and through the rock wall the the bottom. Isn't history exciting and full of secret things!?||
|Exiting this ancient door, you end up on a platform above a calm section of river, the area where Christian slaves came down to fetch water for the Moorish King (also the weak point through which Ronda was invaded).|
But do you want to know what else?
Ronda has nun's buns
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