Friday, September 25, 2009

Ronda, Andalucía [Part II of V]

I only knew about this little Andalucían town Ronda when a friend of mine, (whose name incidentally, IS Ronda) persuaded me to make a trip there with her in November last year. I am so glad I did. I’d say Ronda is in the top 5 ranking on my list of “the most appealing scenic attractions in Spain”.

It was before the onslaught of winter when I first visited this charming town which was built among a mountainous region, approx. 4 hours train ride from Madrid. The air was crisp, the sky was blue. There were hardly any tourists, and I could see snow capped mountains in the distance. How beautiful, the tranquility being complimented by stunning scenic views.

Ronda is rather compact, and looking at the town map, it’s obvious that you can comfortably & adequately cover the historical town in a day, on foot. Of course like most other towns or cities in Spain, Ronda has several old churches, museums and plazas.

Its most emblematic monument however, is the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo), which offers superb views over the mountains as well as the 100m deep plunging gorge (called El Tajo / The Edge) beneathe it. This is the most popular of the 3 bridges that connect the old historical town to the urbanised new town, separated by the River Guadalevin.

Above: The 'New' Bridge / Puente Nuevo

Whitewashed houses built right up to the edge of the outcrop of rocks.

Above: Convent de la Merced

Above & Below: Known to be one of the oldest in Spain - The Bull Ring & Bull Fighting Museum of Ronda (Plaza de Toros & Museo Taurino within it)

My second visit to Ronda earlier this month, however, gave me a totally different feel. It was summer and on that very Saturday I was there, the town was PACKED with locals and tourists. Not what I had expected. What happened to the quiet little town??

I soon realized that I had unknowingly walked right into an annual celebration called “Ferias y Fiestas de Pedro Romero, 2009”. ¡Qué suerte! This festival, which is unique to Ronda, is celebrated in honour of Pedro Romero, the founder of modern bullfighting. It happens every year during the 1st week of September and the highlights include the bull fighting events, as well as the coordinated dressing up in 18th century costumes.

[Be warned, if you want to visit Ronda during that period, be sure to book your hotel and tickets to the bull fight in advance!]

The colours, the music, the people in their traditional costumes - Ronda was ALIVE and bustling with excitement. Everyone was gathering about outdoors, eating, drinking, dancing...the atmosphere was just awesome!

So that's Ronda. One town, two different experiences.

Next up…still on Andalucía, one of the most unusual sites I’ve EVER seen anywhere in the world….


  1. Like the fiestas in Ronda.. so colourful!

    And the houses on the edge of the rocks looks "scary" & dangerous... Hmm.. wonder if anyone dives there?!


  2. Good question. Oh yes, there have been several cases of people 'diving' least from the bridge. At some point in its history, the bridge had a chamber under the central arch that was used as a prison and prisoners were known to have been thrown off the bridge! Yikes. And there's also a rumour about the architect of the new bridge who fell to his death while inspecting his finished work. I had meant to leave out the gory details in this post actually :S


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