Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Me Gusta Espana 2011 - Part Four: Ronda

     The last town that we visited in Andalucia was the quaint little town of Ronda.  Situated on a little plateau over a beautiful gorge, this little gem is known for being one of the first major bullfighting towns.  It was also immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls", in which the Republicans murder Nationalist sympathizers by throwing them off of the cliff that surrounds much of the town.  Ronda is not mentioned here specifically, but the reference is strikingly similar to actual events during the Spanish Civil War in 1936.  Our visit came complete with a walking tour around the gorge and a guided tour through the bullfighting ring/museum.

El Tajo gorge, spanned by Puente Nuevo ("new bridge").  This is the second attempt, completed in 1793, as the first try in the 1700's collapsed shortly after construction was finished.  Looks like they learned a lot from those mistakes.

 Here's a backside view of Puente Nuevo.

Ronda overlooks a nice little landscape.......and these are probably the cliffs referred to by Hemingway.

Outside of the bullring there were a few local heroes immortalized in metal.  While I can't recall who these chaps are, I read about one famous bullfighter from Ronda that killed a few THOUSAND bulls in the ring without an injury.  Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't sound as dangerous as it's made out to be.  

Apparently PETA doesn't have much of a stronghold in Spain, because bullfights are still held today.  They're usually during festivals for the town in the spring/summer.  

Inside the bullring we came across a Spanish riding school with these beautifully-bred creatures hanging around.

My go-to move when I'm in the ring.....

........and my back-up plan!!

Marisa goes for a little more charm than intimidation.......

.......and if it doesn't work she's got her plan B as well.  Maybe this is why that guy never got injured.

Ronda also has a lovely little park, covered in trees, that opens up to the cliffs.  They also have a few peacocks kept in a huge netted area in the park.

I definitely recommend Ronda for a quiet little Spanish town in Andalucia.  It's got a lot to offer for a half-day visit.

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