542-543: Ronda – 3 Bridges & 2 … Gates

542 – Sunday 20th November 2016:  Ronda

Joy!  Back to morning running after a few weeks off – Oscar towing K backwards as per usual – the Olympics seem a bit further away, somehow – but ‘hope springs…’ A mere 2k, but it’s a (re)start…little green shoots and all that…  

We’ve seen this in a few places:  a grid with roads, pavements, street lighting and even bins … but not all blocks yet built on … obviously at one time the town councils were optimistic about the economy.  We’ve also spotted very large car parks virtually in the middle of nowhere.  Any ideas why on a postcard to ….?

Next stop Ronda after lunch – for those of us from a more mature generation (not K, of course) the Beach Boys “Help me Ronda, help help me Ronda…”.  K has just found this on iTunes – ‘course I know it!

We parked up at a car park in the ‘new town’.  Cold, damp and blowy did not deter us.  Up and down and down and up (not down and out!) – we circumnavigated the old town walls and the nooks and crannies – (I stopped myself from writing ‘cooks and grannies…).

The temptation of cheap very good local wine creeps upon us, as we took shelter in a bar for a couple of glasses before supper – we are definitely going dry.  Tomorrow!

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The Plaza de Toros … every town has one, but this dates from 1785 and is bull fightings spiritual home.  Ronda’s bull fighting claim to fame is that it was here that a family of 3 bull fighters developed the art of modern bull fighting … on foot.

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Square in the urbano sector where we found a covered outdoor bar area for a couple of glasses of the red stuff.  A Spaniard at a neighbouring table told us that Oscar is very like his Spanish Breton dog … we googled a pic:  same ginger and white colouring, but a little more pointer than springer in his head.

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Two literary geniuses … well I chuckle when J writes the blog.  The figure is Ernest Hemingway.  Both him and Orson Wells loved Ronda and have streets named after them.


543 – Monday 21st November 2016:  Ronda Twoo and “Umbrella Wars!”

Heavy rain all night, so a noisy one.  Having a large rear end (garage!), our beds are nearer the roof than in Chardonnay.  Rain sounds even more like conkers hitting the roof!  We set off in time though, to make it before the TIC shut for lunch.  I had the very large Spain map in the back pack as I wanted to know about the suitability of the roads for Jez if we were to wander the Pueblos Blancos (white hill towns).  The immaculate and slender lady spoke the most excellent English (and without any trace of an American accent) and produced a much better map of the area (needn’t have brought the back pack after all).  She indicated the roads which were best explored on a bike. All the other roads, she assured me, had bus routes, so we’d be fine.  Supplied with a Ronda map and directions to a camera shop, we set of for La Ciudad across the Puente Nuevo … we could not walk anywhere near here in a straight line as:

  1. Oriental tourists block any direct route with their selfies or ‘funny’ poses for picture taking
  2. So many stopped to coo over Oscar.  J may remember how many pix were taken of him!
Ronda, like so many of the towns was Moorish and built on rocky impregnable outcrops.  It was the capital of an Islamic statelet until 1485.  Hemingway’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ tells how, early in the Spanish Civil War, the fascists were clubbed and flailed by towns folk, who then ran them off the rock to certain death below.  This was based on real events, although the perpetrators were from Malaga, not local, of course!  We wandered the narrow white streets; glimpses of the cloud over the hills and nearby valley.  We found houses, museums and churches that we could have paid to go in.  We know we would have found some very interesting, however, we would have had to take turns and the costs start to mount.  We elected to spend our pennies on a cheap Menu del Dia …. take note … we strongly recommend Bar La Farola in the ’new town’… EUR9 for a starter, main, bread and a drink – 4 choices of food for each course … all home cooked good basic fare.  We were all set to eat under the dripping canopy (heavens had opened again) as we had Oscar, but the waiter (Maitre D) called us inside, moved a chair and indicated the corner for Oscar to lie in, unseen by others.  Nice – we were very grateful and the rain intensity increased.  What set this lunch and venue apart was the people watching.  Locals in and out, sherry glass after glass consumed …  The waiter was totally on top of every situation:
  • gently evicting the drunk who slid in
  • handing over a forgotten plant as one guest planned to leave after half a bottle of Tio Pepe (no food!)
  • carefull balance of greeting regulars without being over familiar 
  • shutting the door to stop customers getting a draft and 
  • smoothing ruffled feathers as one customer flounced out with his umbrella as another customer, who just arrived, had obviously commented on it dripping over the floor …. this we dubbed “Umbrella-gate”.
We had to join in … two glasses of wine, followed by two sherries … each.  Followed by a third on the house one as we paid the bill.  Spanish measures are not mean!  And today was supposed to be a dry day!  Tomorrow is another day!  Oh, and we stopped for a glass and a sobering coffee on the way home … actually we both needed a pee (but that’s our excuse!)

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The view from near our parking.

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No. 1:  The Puente Nuevo:  C18th crosses the …

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100m deep gorge.  Don’t look down James!

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Very typical of the houses in this area: white exterior and nearly every window and door has some form of wrought iron work.  Buildings picked out with an acre colour.

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Santa Maria la Mayor:  Christian church, again built over Muslim.

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Again … we found the outside of the old city walls – untrodden by most tourists.

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And looking up see how the houses are built into the rock.  We read that in a number of places that the rock is having to be shored up and repaired.

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We walked across the Puente Arabe (No. 2) to take a shot looking up the the Puente Viejo (No. 3) … that’s all three bridges that join La Ciudad (old bit) with the newer.

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I tried to photo edit out the red tinge to J’s face … mine was worse!IMG 3351

No, this really is not one on the way home!  Actually no sherry here, so we had a Marie Brizzard and an Amoretto.

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My bull, no bull!

Having got back to the van, I left my boys snoozing and headed out to the large super market nearby … just to buy nappy sacks to use as poo bags for Oscar … unsuccessful, but I came back with a large bar of chocolate and a bottle each of of Tio Pepe and Pedro Ximinez … both now in the fridge for another day.  I then headed out to buy a replacement UV filter and lens cap for my camera (dropped and lost) … unsuccessful here too, but came back with a twin electric hot plate for when we are on hookup … saves our gas and I can cook outside.  So on both trips I did not get what I intended, but bought what we really really needed!  Sorry, Aged P’s the camera kit has not been ordered on eBay for you to bring to Faro in December.  They are both small and light … honest!  Along with everything else you are bringing out for us!!!!

I don’t know if it was the two espresso coffees, the copious booze, half the large bar of chocolate or what, but I was totally wired last night.  Lying in bed awake and alert enough to hear through the barrage that was rain on our roof, a car pull up at about midnight.  Peeking out the habitation door blind, I spied on two lads … getting it on together…. the car was all fogged up, so i couldn’t have seen much even had I wanted to!   ‘It’ can’t have taken long, as I then heard them chat for a bit and drive off.  

The next visitor was the dumper truck (they seem to do waste collection every day and at all times around here).  I heard a bit of a bang, so again peeked out of the window to spot a semi naked German descending from the ladder from his African off road motorhome, closely followed by his nightie clad dressed wife … the refuse truck had reversed into them – knocking their high-off-the -ground bike rack totally askew.  It was still teeming, so once they had persuaded the truck driver to come and inspect his work, they went and put some clothes on .  They had to wait for about 30 mins for the local Police to arrive … all the while running the refuse truck’s engine!  We waited with them … no chance of sleep!  About 2.40 the incident report was finally completed, and the police car and truck departed.  So this must be “Bin-gate”.  We finally got some shut eye, and I did not get up till nearly 9.00 a.m … can you wonder?  

Two bin lessons learned here for wild parking:

  1. Do not park near bins as refuse trucks may empty them at any hour waking us up, and 
  2. said refuse truck may reverse into us.

But what a fabulous couple of days:  El Torcal, Antequera and Ronda.  It just keeps getting better.  Hope the weather does too.

5 thoughts on “542-543: Ronda – 3 Bridges & 2 … Gates

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