Friday, June 28, 2013

Al Andalus – Ronda

Quickly brushing past the ugly over-development of the Cost del Sol we climbed up and over the coastal hills to the spectacular town of Ronda. Having put some significant elevation between us and the coast, the warmth of the Med was lost to a bitterly cold chill. Nonetheless we locked down the little ones in the pram and went to explore.  
Ronda is famous for having the oldest bullring in Spain. Dating from 1784, it is small but perfectly formed. A whitewashed round, topped by terracotta.  Fittingly, we feasted on oxtail at the neighbouring Pedro Romero, in the company of mounted bull heads and memorabilia of famous fights and fighters.
Ronda has its fair share of picturesque medieval cobbled streets, mansions and churches, but what makes it stand out is its simply ridiculous setting. The town steadily rises from the high plain before unexpectedly giving way to sheer cliffs. Beyond, the rugged, striking countryside stretches out for miles to wide ridges which hem in the wider high valley.  A feast for the eyes and, in our case, the senses, as we were buffeted by winds so strong that all but a trace of my exhilarated shrieks were drowned out of existence.  
To cap it all off, the town is sundered in two by a deep canyon which cracks open the cliffs and strafes its way back and forth into the land behind. This geological rift is crossed by an oft-photographed medieval bridge which, as Christina will verify, is exceptional in its vertigo prompting qualities as well as its ingenuity.

Sad to leave, we jumped back in the wagon and headed North-West. Past the edge of the valley the winding mountain roads slowly straightened, leading on to an odd hilly terrain with undulations which resembled a rolling ocean. A bit further and the land ironed out into the plains of Seville, our next destination.
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