Thursday, March 26: This day we set forth to travel via Renfe, Spain’s train system, to Ronda, one of Andulucia’s White Hill Towns (los puebloes cerro blanco). We walked a quarter mile to the metro and rode into Malaga, about a 25 minute ride, where we caught the train to Ronda. It was a beautifully scenic ride. Highlights were groves of orange trees, lemon trees, and olive trees, along with river gorge hikers and rock climbers, fields of wind turbines and an array of solar panels. It made for a stunning mixture of old with new. We passed grain storage facilities and a cement plant while listening to the announcement for each village as the train slowed to a short stop, first in Spanish and then in English, always preceded by the destination: Rrrrrronda! Next Stop – Proxima parada … One of the following villages- Cartama, Pizarra, ‘Alora, Las Mellizas, El Chorro, Bobadillo, Capillos, Almargen-Cañete, La Real, Rrrrronda! At Bobadillo, not being able to make the hairpin turn to Ronda, the engineer put it in reverse towards Ronda. Luckily, there were empty seats facing in the now forward direction, so we could be comfortable, as needed.
Upon arrival, we made our way to the overview of the Gaudalevin River Gorge along which Ronda nestles. We walked along the gorge pathway to see the magnificent views while listening to the music of a harpist who had situated herself in a lovely gazebo.
The ravine, called El Tajo, is 360 feet deep and 220 feet wide. The 18th century bridge pictured, the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) built from 1751-1791, replaces the Old Bridge (Puente Viejo), which was built in 1735 and fell down after only six years. It is a wonder to see.
Ronda’s history includes eras of rule by the Romans (mythology), the Moors (Islam, Moslems), and Christans (Catholocism). The New Bridge separates the old Moorish town and architecture from the new town development. The picture above shows the new town.
From the bridge we looked down into the multi-tiered sundecks of the Don Miguel restaurant and hotel. It seemed like the perfect place for a light lunch and a glass of wine.
The other point of interest that we had time to visit was The Plaza de Toros bull ring. Here both Ernest Hemmingway and Orson Welles spent many months over several years.
Bullfighting was developed by King Phillip ll to train the knights in the 16th century. Francisco (the father) and Juan (the son) Romero developed the bullfight into the cultural event seen in modern Spain today. Pedro Romero (the grandson) was one of Spain’s greatest matadors, killing nearly 6000 bulls during his career.
After some beverages, we headed back to the train to reverse our morning ride. Prior to leaving in the morning, we waited for the train in the Orient Express Cafe. Ingrid and I enjoyed translating the poem (below) which was stenciled on their wall. Enjoy!
Nuestra receta para ser feliz
Our recipe for happiness
2kg de abrazos
2kg of hugs
3kg de besos
3kg of kisses
4kg de paciencia
4kg of patience
1 pizca de locura
1 pinch of madness
Siete cucharadas soperas de mimos
Seven tablespoons of pampering
Agitar todo con mucho amor
Shake it all with much love
Y servir todos los dias
And serve everyday.
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