Ronda was a bit of a surprise. We’d forgotten we were going there… and what a lovely surprise she turned out to be.
Apparently the 3rd most visited town in the south of Spain and all because the town is split in half by a gigantic 100 metre deep gorge and connected by this amazing bridge. It’s called the “New Bridge” even though it was completed in 1793. There are two other bridges – the Puente Viejo (Old Bridge), which dates from 1616, and the Puento Romano, which actually dates back to the Moorish period, between the 9th and 15th centuries. The older two are nowhere near as spectacular as the New Bridge and are inconveniently in the wrong place for getting from one side of town to the other, but they’re there.
A bit like Mandurah – we used to have an old bridge, then they built a new bridge, then replaced the old bridge with a new bridge which we all call the new bridge…. but what of the old new bridge?
The two sides of town are the old town and the modern area. The construction of this bridge took 40 years and was so dangerous that 50 workers lost their lives.
Both sides of town and the bridge between them were packed with tourists. We noticed a hot air balloon getting ready for take off as we crossed over.
Once on the other side (it’s really not that far across) we got to have a sticky beak in the old buildings, which as you would have come to guess by now – I love.
This doorway, when open, has an amazing view across to the mountains. It’s also pretty lovely closed.
- view up the street
- an antique Moorish communications device
- traditional transportation
- a lovely view over to the mountains
In the street there are these lovely shaped trees with little fruit on them. When they’re ripe they turn red like a strawberry, but taste nothing like it.
The first stop along the street was the Don Bosco house, originally owned by Don Francisco Granadinos and his wife Doña Dolores Gómez. Don Bosco had become friends with Frank and Delores and when they died they left the property to the Salesian Congregation – founded by St John Bosco, with the purpose of being a house of rest, healing, hospitality and care for the elderly members of the Congregation.
They did leave one slightly creepy condition – that they never leave the house….. Frank and Delores are in coffins in the upstairs part of the house, which I understand, ’cause why would you want to leave this view?
And this beautiful house…
Me Jenny with Delores and Frank…. oh they’re watching you alright!
A pretty garden and this view…
There is a lovely seating area dedicated to Don John Bosco done nicely on painted tiles…
However I can’t help think that perhaps the top of his head didn’t need to cross two tiles. Look, I’m not an art critic, I just know what I like.
We kept strolling up the street for more views…. as had everybody else. Luckily these groups move on pretty quickly as they have to keep up with the tour leader and her scarf on a stick.
Again, cars are meant to be limited in this area, and the streets are so narrow – some starting quite wide, but narrowing at the other end. Cars are meant to stop and wait for pedestrians to move past, but if they did that, they’d be sitting there all day.
Each time we got a glimpse of this balloon it tried to get off the ground, but then slowly floated to the ground again. Spoiler…. it never got into the air.
Also in this pic you can see the forest (the dark trees) are where the wild pigs live – the pigs of the famous Iberian ham. Our guide lived over in that area and she said if she leaves her car outside the fence at night, the pigs, after rolling in the mud, come and scratch themselves up against her car, leaving a brown mark at pig height.
Here’s something else I didn’t know. Orange trees come in sweet – the ones we eat and bitter – which you don’t eat, but they do have a lovely aroma, so they line the streets with them. You can tell the two apart because the bitter orange trees have this double leaf system going on. Spain sells all their bitter oranges to the UK for the making of marmalade and the skins are used to make gin – win/win/win!
There are iron bars on every window. Apparently this is for security, but most importantly so they can show off their iron working skills.
If you do have a car here – this is pretty much how you park… hard up against the wall and touch the car in front and and sometimes behind as well. I don’t know how they got in and out. Safe to say that you probably wouldn’t own an expensive car if you lived here and had to park on the street.
Another example of different religions having used the same building, or building on in their own style to extend the original building.
They charged a fee to see inside that church, so we went to have a look at the church of the patron saint of Peace… when Me Jenny heard our guide say this, she thought for a moment that she said ‘peas’ and thought, that’s a little odd, but maybe she’s the patron saint for ALL vegetables – you know how your thought process goes…. it turns out that Maria wasn’t the gardener Jenny thought she might have been. lol.
Isn’t this a pretty church?
This smaller church is looked after by the school next door and is run on donations. They have a statue of Mary/Maria at the front of the alter and if you zoom in you can see that she is wearing clothes made out of material. Apparently there was a famous bull fighter who came to the church to pray that nothing bad would happen to him during his fight and when he came out unscathed, he paid tribute to Maria by having a dress made out of the finest materials and jewels, which she’s wearing in pics 1 & 2, which is about 200+ years old. Since then she as acquired a number of different outfits and it can take a whole day to change her. Pic 3 is another statue who also has a wardrobe change every now and then.
Our next stop was to the famous bull ring. Let me get this out there – I don’t like bull fighting one bit and had some mixed feelings about going in there. In fact, I can’t quite believe that it still goes on today (it is banned in some places in Spain, but not all).
The bulls are privately owned, but they are put out into the wild, with little to no human contact so the they go crazy when they arrive here…
First, they are washed – cause, who wants to fight a dirty bull? The cleaner has to stand behind the wooden barrier to hose them down in case of death.
The bull ring is also a horse riding school, so there are horses, and these are the rooms the bulls are kept in before the fight. Pic 3 shows the upper level where there are rectangular doors in the floor that open up into the bull rooms below so they could throw them food.
Then out they come for the entertainment of the masses…
This bull ring is apparently the biggest in Spain (or probably the world?) in size of the actual ring was built in 1785. The stadium only holds 5,000 people. There are stadiums with bigger seating capacity, but with a smaller ring.
To finish our day we had a little luncheon overlooking the ‘Old Bridge’.
Thanks for your help Ronda.