The train ride from Málaga to Ronda was uneventful, although I wished I could see outside. It was dark and raining that day. Our train was "retardo" by 30-minutes, but we managed to get into town and get to our hotel at a nice hour. The hotel was palacial... very nice amenities for a modest price. There was a large park across the street from our hotel with panoramic views of the surrounding hills. I love these smaller towns!
Ronda is a tiny town in the Serranía de Ronda Mountains of southern Spain. Its claim to fame is that bull fighting originated here. We would fall in love with this place in the next day or so. It is really a charming town with a 500-ft gorge running through the middle, dividing the town in two. The scenery is awesome!
Our dinner was incredible. We splurged at a restaurant named after Pedro Romero, a legendary bull fighter, directly across from the first bull ring in Spain. The fish soup and baked monkfish were delicious, and the wine was great. After dinner, we went to the only place open in town, a small little bar on a side street where none of the patrons had seen Americans for a very long time. June started talking to two Spanish boys (Juan Luis and Jesus, the bakers from Málaga street) who fell in love with her. Michelle was stalked by a strange fellow in a trenchcoat.
Back in our hotel, we had the best conversation of the whole trip. The four of us stayed up until about 3:00 am discussing everything from our childhoods, to "love language", to Myers-Briggs type indicators. I really enjoyed that conversation, although we paid for the late night the next morning.
An interesting anecdote. Our favorite Mexican restaurant back in Phoenix is Casa Romero. We found a Casa Romero in Ronda. Here we are enjoying a lovely brunch of steak and eggs with fish soup.
A statue of Pedro Romero in front of the bull ring (Plaza de Toros).
Scott hiding behind gate 4 in the sunny side of the arena (marked by "Sol").
Dos hermanas strolling around in the arena.
A bull's eye view. This is where the bull enters the arena for the last time.
Inside the bull fighting museum (Museo Taurino), we learned about the history of the controversial sport and saw some of the most famous bulls and bull fighters.
Ronda is divided by a huge gorge running through the middle, here's a view from Puente San Miguel, the 12th century Roman bridge that links the two halves of the town. The cliff-hanging houses are amazingly precarious.
Me on top of Puente San Miguel with a view of the path down into the gorge.
On the other side of the bridge, you can see just how deep this beast really is. You can barely see the Guadelevín River at the bottom of the chasm.
Michelle, June and I hiked down into the gorge and found a charming little cottage along the trail. The cottage has a garden, vines, a cat on the porch, and yellow wildflowers everywhere. Perfect! Michelle is pondering the meaning of life in a field of wildflowers next to the cottage, and trying to figure out how to buy this place.
A view from the cottage to the top of the gorge where the town sits. The little gazebo has a platform that overhangs the canyon to give visitors a thrilling view of the surrounding hills. The threatening clouds add to the ambience.
What a hole in the wall! This structure lies near the bottom of the gorge, and overlooks the farms and hills in the distance.
A picturesque view of the farms and hills. Someone must be firing up the stove in that charming farm house below.
Another vantage point of Ronda on top of the gorge.
This is a view of the Roman Puente San Miguel bridge that connects the two halves of Ronda. You can see the waterfall at its base where the Guadelevín River tumbles a few more hundred feet.
Another shot of the picture perfect landscape. By now, Scott was really pissed off at us because we took so long down in the gorge. He couldn't hike down with us due to a broken foot.
On the older half of town, we found some cool little houses with Moorish styling, and whitewashed villas. This is a nice striped yucca plant on someone's patio with the hills in the background. Man, I'd love to live here for a while.
A charming church in the older part of town.
There's an old, yet still functional Arabic bath house in town called Baños Árabes. Here is a local puppy greeting Scott near the bath.
We took a tour of the underground Arabic bath house. The bath house had domed ceilings and glass windows to let in the natural light.
Rock climber Michelle pulls a climbing move on a wall near the bath. June is on top trying to coax the sheep to come to her.
The sisters play with a flock of sheep grazing on the hill. This place is so serene and beautiful!
It's sad to leave, but we have a train to catch. Here's the gang on the move down a quaint and hilly village street.