Ronda, Ronda, Ronda. Isn't there a famous line from The Brady Bunch along these lines? Don't ask me. I am hopeless when it comes to popular (tv/movie/music) culture.
Ronda was, bear with me, the 4th city I visited, after Jerez and Arcos and before Granada. In short, I went because I saw a video on YouTube of the famous Puente Nuevo, constructed in the mid to late 17th century. I heard about a famous bullfighting ring, too, and how supposedly a scene from Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls was drawn from actual throwing of people over the bridge. I knew the city, like many in Andalucia, was centuries old, with settlement preexisting the Islamic period.
In truth, Ronda was nice, impressive even, but there were factors working against the experience. A rainstorm. Tour buses. Hordes of people trying to capture the same picturesque shot. I wasn't any different from the other travelers, and I didn't have very high expectations of this city. But after my second $40+ meal and rain-soaked shoes, I felt a little tired.
I'm not going to dwell on those circumstances beyond my control. Instead, look at these photos!
Ronda had interesting sculptures. Like this one, of a Dama Goyesca. After reading this, I guessed this was Ronda's version of a Miss Ronda, or the queen of the county fair.
Whoops, I can't remember who this is.
The top of Puente Nuevo. I snapped this shot the second day, when the rain had momentarily stopped.
Rabo de toro (bull's tail), made in the style of Ronda
For no reason, I present to you a fowl house.
The interior of Pedro Romero, a restaurant directly across from the bull ring, is covered with bullfighting memorabilia.
A typical salad in Spain - iceberg lettuce, slivers of red onion, wedges of tomato, hardboiled egg, a protein usually consisting of tuna and/or cured meats, sometimes corn. It took me a while, but I came to love these simple salads.
My first time eating hake. At Pedro Romero, it was perfectly prepared. Moist, tender, delicious with a few slivers of what seemed like toasted garlic.
A look through the old walls of Ronda
The village from the old walls
Stairs upon stairs
Everywhere, another turn
One of many plazas in Ronda
A closer look: Hercules and two lions - this has something to do with Andalucia's political history. Unfortunately, by this point in my trip, I was feeling tired and lazy about absorbing more historical details.
I confess I was more interested in this bakery in the same plaza as the Hercules fountain.
Look at all those goods!
What I ordered. A custardy, sticky, chocolately, delicious mess.
A sweet dessert seems like an apt way to wrap up my two-day stay in Ronda. What began looking like a failure ended up being rather pleasant. The weather may not have been ideal, and food might have been expensive, but I found ways to make the experience positive. I forgot to bring my camera for my favorite meal of innovative tapas at Traga Tapas - the amazing white esparragus de navarra, the pork carrillada (cheek) on top of a slice of bread and topped with what looked like cheese but was actually the lightest of aiolis, perhaps broiled to give it a toasted color.
On that high note, I end here. Next up: Granada!