Ronda, Spain

(Bridget)

Along with Seville, Ronda was a place that Alex and I really wished we had been able to get to on our first trip around Europe. Since my sister and I were in Seville, I was very keen to do a day trip there. After going round and round in circles on the internet trying to find the bus timetables / buy tickets and deciding it was the impossible task, we headed to the local information centre in Seville and picked up a paper timetable and instructions on buying tickets in person. It turned out buses to Ronda ran quite frequently and there were enough time options to make a decent day trip out of it.

The bus trip to Ronda took about an hour and 45 minutes, winding through spectacular landscapes – a mix of dramatic mountains and sunflower fields. This brought back some great memories of our first road trip around Spain where we were a bit late to see the sunflower fields in bloom, so I was very grateful to get that opportunity this time around – although we weren’t able to stop and take photos.

We arrived in Ronda around 11am. The bus station is set back into the town a bit so it takes a bit of walking to come across the dramatic vistas you travelled here to see. Ronda one of the Andalusian pueblos blancos perched on the edge of a cliff high above the El Tajo gorge. Pretty much the whole way around the edge of the town is a large cliff walk with the most breathtaking panoramic views of the gorge and surrounding countryside. I have to admit, a large chunk of our trip here was dedicated to taking photos – everywhere you look there is something else spectacular.

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Ronda is divided into two halves by the gorge – the ‘new’ town (15th century) and the old town which dates back to the Moorish rule. Connecting these two halves are three bridges, most impressive of the lot is the Puente Nuevo (or New Bridge) which is not that new – circa 18th century. This bridge is over 120m high and is one of the most recognisable features of this town. We were certainly impressed by this. It is visible from many viewpoints, the best I thought was accessible only from a tiny dirt path in the old town. We stumbled across this only by accident, but well worth trying to find. It is the place where the sun hits in the afternoon, so both you and the bridge will be able to be visible in your photos.

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Another little gem we discovered in the Old Town was the Casa Del Rey Moro. This was a derelict manor surrounded by clifftop, manicured gardens which offered lovely views. However, the best part was getting to climb down the old water mine to the bottom of the gorge. This staircase was apparently cut during the Moorish rule so water could be secretly transported from the gorge to the top of the cliff. After climbing back up the 300+, uneven stone stairs, we were well in need of a vino, and found a cute cafe under a tree canopy overlooking the valley which (I think) was attached to the Casa Del Rey Moro. This was a great place to relax and enjoy the spectacular view.

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Another interesting place we visited was the Baños Arabes or the Arab Baths. These (again) date back to Moorish Ronda, around the 11th century. This complex, is surprisingly intact, allowing you to walk through most of the old bath house. They have a video playing in the bath house, telling you more about the history of the place and how it all worked. I was particularly impressed at how they were able to control the temperatures of each of the rooms using underfloor heating. Curiously, the bath house was set outside the old city walls and required all travellers to wash there before entering the city.

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We had six hours in total in Ronda. This was plenty of time to see the above sites, have time to relax with a glass of vino rosado and a bite to eat for lunch without feeling rushed. This is a perfect day trip from Seville and I would highly recommend squeezing this in if you have time.

Until next time,
B&A

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