A Day Trip to Ronda
“I feel like I should start this post with a relevant quote.”
After getting our feet wet in Barcelona and Seville, our next destination was Granada. But before getting there, we decided to take a day trip to Ronda, one of the famed white hill towns scattered across Spain. We were not only excited to check out Ronda – well known for being a vacation spot of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, among other things – but I was pumped to drive through Andalusia on the way. And we liked it enough to give it its own post on the blog instead of just a small mention in our Granada post (you can imagine Ronda’s excitement about this decision…).
After a very sweaty walk (naturally) to the train station in Seville to pick up our rental car, we were given the keys to a look-at-me-I’m-not-from-around-here green Chevy shoebox…. err, car. Check out this beauty below.
How does the saying go… “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Well, both the journey and the destination were worth it in this case. The drive itself was gorgeous, and it was fun to drive a manual car again while curving around groves of olive trees and farmland that draped over the endless hills in the area. But Ronda was a great payoff at the end of the drive. It’s a pretty striking visual to approach a city where literally every building is whitewashed against the backdrop of green rolling hills and the occasional rocky cliff.
After taking our first pass through the small city down the main street that runs from end to end (about a mile in total), and enjoying the killer views, we had lunch at the far end in the San Francisco quarter. We discovered a restaurant called Almocábar in an article by a UK professor now living in Ronda, calling it “the best lunch you’ll ever have.” We can now echo this superlative with confidence. It was a bit pricier than most places we’d look at for lunch, but we found a couple items which were easier on the wallet including some sort of fried egg, potato and truffle oil situation that was out of this world. Partially due to the dish you see below, the word “truffle” is now firmly planted on my list of food buzz words that I immediately go to when looking at a menu – right up there with chipotle, aioli and chipotle aioli.
After filling up we started the walk back and really started to explore some of the side streets and views around Ronda. The highlight was easily the Puente Nuevo, or “new bridge.” It towers about a canyon the cuts through the town, and the name is a bit misleading.
This might be the only circumstance where something that’s over 200 years old is considered “new,” but it got it’s name because when it was completed in 1793 it was more recent than Puente Viejo (“old bridge”) across town. We took a short hike (cue more sweating) down below the city where you could see the bridge set between two large rocky facades with the city split in two on either side of the bridge.
Ronda is also home to the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain. When you walk by, it looks much smaller and cramped than the only other bullfighting ring in Seville (the only other one we can compare it to), but the actual ring itself is similar in size and they make that possible by having much more limited seating inside compared to others around the country. While we weren’t able to go inside, I did get this picture below of a bull statue outside the arena with a Spanish flag in the background.
What you can’t see in the picture is that when I walked over to take it I inadvertently got about one foot away from what I thought was a horse statue but turned out to be a real (and enormous) horse. One more step to my left and I would have planted myself in a spot behind the horse that may as well have required putting on a “place hoof here” target on your belt buckle. But lucky for me, Noelle called my name to alert me that the mountain of an animal next to me was indeed real and I backed away. There are a few things that would legitimately ruin this trip for me, and taking a hoof in the… well, that might have ruined the rest of the trip for me. Annnnyway…
Nothing but good things to say about Ronda. It’s a great place for a day trip since you can see most of it after a few hours of walking, but if we go back I wouldn’t mind hiding out there for much longer. The views are great, it has some cool history and character and it’s easy to see why Hemingway would go here to vacation and write. So years from now, when you see my name on the New York Times bestsellers list for the tenth time, you’ll know that this is where it all started.