Sometimes it’s hard to pick favorites, especially on this journey. I was fortunate to have my parents join me in Spain for two weeks and this time one place we visited was the clear winner. We left the hustle and bustle of the bigger Spanish cities for the small town of Ronda in Andalusia. Its white washed buildings and narrow winding streets were easy on our eyes and our feet. The historic area is small and fun to walk end to end, weaving in and out of colorful shops and cafes. If you wander far enough you will discover plazas and gardens hidden around corners. Water trickles musically from many fountains and colorful churches decorate streets of worn brick. Manicured orange trees line sidewalks and fresh air from the rolling countryside fills your lungs.
The main attraction of the town is the new bridge, Puente Nueva. This is a bridge made for elven kings and fairy queens. It’s tall and narrow, connecting deep cliffs that rise over a river far below. Doves cling to their walls seeking shade from the intense sun. We were lucky enough to stay in an apartment just above it and woke each morning to enjoy a spectacular view on the terrace. One morning, we woke up early to hike down to the old bridge far below. We walked through the beautiful Gate of Philip V on the way for a postcard view of the white buildings and church in the distance. After exploring the two older bridges below and watching some people riding horses in a field in the distance, we made our way back up the opposite side admiring the hanging gardens as we went.
Later that afternoon, we visited one of the oldest bullrings in Spain, the Plaza de Toros de Ronda. While I would never support a live fight, I was curious about the structure and museum. Another white washed building full of arches and columns made for some nice photo opportunities. We also watched students from the equestrian school ride around in the ring. After a few photos and, “Oles!”, out on the freshly raked dirt, we headed indoors to the museum. Inside we studied saddles, guns, costumes, and artwork from previous fights. I really loved the sculptures outside of the matadors and bull.
Food options seemed more varied for a small town as we tired quickly of tapas on our trip. We were able to find some great little places to eat serving everything from Italian to vegetarian dishes. The shops were quite cute in the area with a few that stood out from the norm. I even managed to find a beautiful etching print of a matador from what I thought was the best shop in town, certainly the most original. Through broken Spanish and English I connected with the printmaker there, Grabados Somera, admiring his presses and artistic ability. I felt a bit of longing when I saw them as I had sold my large press to go on this journey around the world. There will be other presses if I want to take it up again I suppose.
One evening we witnessed winter in Ronda as it hailed like mad and filled our balcony with ice that gave the appearance of snow. The bridge flooded and all the tourists ran for cover in nearby shops. After the storm, I hiked down to the other side of the bridge for the best view of it and took some photos admiring its beauty. I was able to do it almost alone as many people were still in hiding from the earlier downpour.
We were only in Ronda 2 nights, but we created memories to last a lifetime. I fell in love with that sweet little town and am so glad to have shared it with my parents. If anyone is planning a trip to Spain and debating on whether to go, hesitate no more and include it into your trip. Spend a few days and I’m sure you’ll fall in love too.
Getting there – Ronda is just a two hour bus ride from Sevilla and the trip costs only 12.70 euro. While we spent 2 nights, I could have stayed longer. There are many hiking paths to explore and it’s a great town to stay a while and relax in. There are also more white hilltop towns to explore in the area.
Plaza de Toros de Ronda – The bullring costs 7 euro to enter and is a good way to get history fix in. It also has a very nice souvenir shop.
Great Eats – Our favorite lunch spot was El Puente. I went twice for one of the best veggie burgers I’ve had. It’s on the corner, a block from the new bridge in the newer part of town.