Friday, May 2, 2014


We were up and at 'em this morning--no headache, yaaay!  We cooked a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and fruit, and a couple of cups of strong coffee, unlike yesterday.

We were out the door about 9:30, anxious to explore beautiful Ronda.  Our first stop was the pretty church right next to our apartment, La Colegiata Santa Maria la Mayor. This church is built on the site of the old city mosque.  There are still some remnants of the mosque visible in the church, which was started in the 15th century.  Most of the church standing now is from the mid 1800's.

Front of the church, our apartment is on the right:

Visible remains of the mosque, right at the entrance to the church:

The main altar, c 1770:

There are several interesting altar pieces along the nave, but not full chapels like we usually see:

Pretty interior, with a crystal chandelier:

Some nice stained glass, dating to the early 1800's:

We went down into the crypt, which has been converted to a gallery area, showing some reproductions of local treasures, as well as some older items.  This was a beautiful old bible, from the 1600's:

After the church, we walked across the plaza to the pretty park we can see from our window.  Here we are:

We continued down a set of steps, following a walk shown on the map given to us by Hilde.

We saw a church down the street in the opposite direction, so we took a detour:

This is the Iglesia Espiritu Santo, 15th century:

It was open, so of course we popped in for a look.  It's a lovely small church:

I liked this very large painting:

One of the ornate altars along the nave:

 The bell tower was open--so we climbed right up!  The circular stairwell was very narrow--good thing there was no one else there:

The view from the top was gorgeous:

We decided to snap a photo of us at the top, and just as David was setting the camera up the bell rang--and I was standing right under it!  Scared the living daylights out of us, and our ears rang for several minutes!

Here we are in the bell tower:

Round and round, back down all those steps

We continued on our route, walking along the old city walls for quite a ways:

The views were still amazing--in every direction:

Coming out of the door to the wall, looking back towards the city:

 Soon we came to the Moorish bridge (c 1660, also known as Puente Viejo), the first and lowest of the 3 ancient bridges.  Here we are on the Moorish Bridge, with the 13c Puente Romano  in the background:

Just in front of the Moorish Bridge are the 13th century Arab Baths.  We paid our small admission fee and went in for a closer look--it was fascinating!

 This is the "reception area" according to a sign:

The lower part of the baths, it was nice and cool underground, a welcome relief from the hot sun:

And here we are, Dave & Di at the Arab Baths:

In one area of the underground ruins there was a theater with seats, where they show a 9 minute film about the construction of the baths.  It was very interesting--those Moors were pretty smart!

After leaving the underground ruins. we even ran into Spiderman!  He was so tickled when I said "Oh, hola Spiderman"!  What a cutie!

Pretty gardens around the baths:

We sat down for a little rest on this garden bench:

After the Moorish Baths we continued on our way--UPHILL! Up and up and up!  The views made it all worth it, though:

 Looking back at a portion of the wall:

A view down into the gorge and over the countryside.  Did I mention it's beautiful here???

Looking at Puente Nueve ("New Bridge")--built in 1751.  It took 42 years to complete, and spans the 390 foot deep gorge.  We re going to hike down the other side into the gorge tomorrow!

After climbing and climbing in the hot sun we were definitely more than ready for a rest, lunch and cold beverages!  We sat down at the first cafe we came to, choosing a table in the shade.  Here's David and his well deserved cold beer, just Coke Light for me:

We ordered an assortment of 5 small tapas--they were only 1 Euro each. Cold Russian salad, as they call it here-it's just potato salad, pork rinds with potato chips (yup! They were delicious!), a cold tomato and octopus salad (my favorite), and a local specialty called Migas de Ronda--a strange concoction of garlic bread crumbs and thin sliced cured ham--just OK.

And some little snails in a delicious garlicky red pepper sauce:

Here's David, chowing down on one of those yummy little things:

This one still had it's cute little antennae-I ate it, head and all!  Hey Nathan--I think I've seen these in our back yard--wanna cook up a batch when we get home??

After lunch we made a quick stop at a pharmacy for some sun screen--I think we have both had more than enough sun for several days, I'm just a little crispy and pink!

Next stop:  The Bullring!

 We walked a couple of block over to the Plaza de Toros and the bullring.

The front of the arena, completed in 1785:

At the front entrance, a matador:

Main entrance gate:

This is where they let the bulls into the ring--there's a very ingenious system of pulleys to open the doors from above:

   In the ring--I could just hear the roar of the crowd!

David in the bull ring:

Walking along the inner corridor, below the seats:

The Royal Box:

There's a Bull Fighter museum around the outside of the ring, it was very interesting.  Several very elaborate matador costumes were on display, but no photos allowed, darn.

There were also many year's worth of bull fighting posters, these were my favorites:

A Picasso!  I'm not sure what year he painted this, as he died in 1973, but the poster is from the 2006 season:

And--as if that was not enough--there was also an antique firearm and military uniform display.  For some odd reason, I really enjoy the old firearms, and I am so NOT a gun girl!

There was an entire room of dueling pistols--very interesting!  Each set was in their own custom case; two identical dueling pistols and cleaning tools, etc.  Some of them were beautiful, but it's impossible to get a good picture of something in a glass case

And just for our favorite neighbor "Super Nate"--we thought of you,  we know you would have loved the bull fighting stuff!  We picked up this t-shirt just for you, hope you like it.

Phew! After all that, we were hot, tired, dusty and thirsty.  We found a shady cafe and sat down for a cold beverage--beer for David and delicious refreshing sangria for me.  What a great day we'd had--we are LOVING Ronda.  So far, definitely our favorite place in Spain, and one of the prettiest places we've seen in all our travels.

We made our way back "home" about 5 and enjoyed a little siesta time; reading, loading pictures and working on our blog.  We could get used to this!

Our plan for the evening was to wander back out about 7 or so, do a little souvenir shopping, eat a late dinner and enjoy the sunset over the valley and the bridges all lit up.

We wandered along the streets, looking at the usual "tourist junque", and of course I bought the required fridge magnet.   We found the main shopping/dining street--and it was hopping!  Mostly locals; all meeting friends, strolling with their families or relaxing at a sidewalk cafe.

We walked many blocks, just enjoying the fun atmosphere.  Eventually we were back at the Plaza de Espana, where we sat down for a drink and ordered a small cold seafood salad--it was delicious!

Sure wish we could get fresh seafood at home--I could live on this stuff!  

After our nice break we just strolled along, and eventually found ourselves in front of a large park, La Alameda Del Tajo, built in the early 1800's.

 A statue of Pedro Romero, a famous bullfighter from Ronda and the first bullfighter to fight on foot instead of horseback:

A wide promenade through the center of the park leads to a nice walking path along the bluff, overlooking the gorge and the valley below:

There are several formal gardens along both sides of the promenade.  I liked this big, beautiful tree:

The sun was just setting, so we walked along the path for quite awhile, enjoying the gorgeous views and sunset.  I took about 100 pictures, trying to get a good sunset picture, but our little point & shoot cameras just aren't good enough. Here's the best I could do:

David, at a look out point along the path:

It was now about 9:30, the sun had set and the bridge was lit up and beautiful.  This is looking east:

Another view, looking west:

We decided it was too late for a full dinner, so we enjoyed a nice stroll through the empty streets back to our apartment.  Our "dinner" was a glass of wine and a few pieces of beef jerky--just right!

What a wonderful day it has been; we've walked miles and miles and climbed way too many stairs.  We are both just plain tired.  It  wasn't exactly "early to bed", but we are two weary travelers!

Good night from wonderful, beautiful Ronda!


  1. What beautiful pictures. Ronda looks like such a magical city. I would love to see it in person. By the way, your sunset pictures are wonderful. Thanks, again, for sharing your awesome journey. I'm still intrigued by the very ornate altars and religious symbolism. I wonder how much money has been dedicated to their construction and renovations.

  2. Hey neighbors,
    Nate says thanks so much for the shirt! And YUCKKKKK about the snails...

  3. What awesome pictures...snails, not so good. Loved the picture in the bell tower of you you have my utmost attention when u start showing bull fight pictures. Big old glass of beer David is and sangria look soooo good.

  4. We are planning a trip to Spain and you have convinced me that Ronda has to be one of our stops. Thanks!