Day 8 – Tuesday, 27/6/23

Last full day of this journey.

Awoke to yet another cloudless blue sky and the promise of another hot day.

Our usual rather rushed breakfast, then onto the coach to head for the village of Ronda.

We started climbing fairly early on, and the scenery changed dramatically from pan-flat to really quite lumpy.

We took our usual comfort stop at a very decent café.

Hillier scenery
Better if it wasn’t so hazy……

About an hour later, we arrived at Ronda bus station, where we were met by our guide, Pepe, who was the spitting image of our local pharmacist. Fascinating, huh?

He proved to be fantastic value. Lovely delivery, very knowledgeable and took great care to keep the wimpy Brits out of the sun.

Ronda is a revelation. The newer part of the town is a bit ugly, but the historic part of the old town is beautiful.

There has been a settlement here since the first century B.C. , being founded by the Romans as a fortified post.

As usual, the Moslems followed on until the Christians ousted them in 1485.

In much more recent times, wealthy people, including Brits, have second homes here. Indeed, many of the hotels were built by Brits and have British names. Its population is around 50,000.

Pepe took us to a park, in which stands a monument to Pedro Romero, who can be said to have invented “modern” bullfighting.

Carmelite convent
This is the great man. Born in Rome in 1754 and the monument was created in 1954, explaining the date range

The history of bullfighting is actually complex and no time to explain it here. However, Ronda has the oldest bullring in the world, but is now only used three times a year for actual bullfighting.

Pepe then took us to the edge of this nice little park for us to take pictures of the gorgeous scenery hereabouts.

180 metre drop to the bottom of the gorge

Fabulous. More to come, though.

Basically, Ronda is a “round town” as its name suggests, on a hilltop surrounded by a huge gorge. Rhondda Valley is apparently based on the same principle. Never been there, so can’t comment.

We stopped outside the bullring. You can enter for 9 €, or you can ascend to the 4th floor of the Catalonia Hotel, where there is a cafeteria with a superb free view down into the bullring. See later.

Outside of the bullring
Start of the old Roman bridge
There’s an old jail under there somewhere

Absolutely extraordinary. Overused, I know, but pictures don’t do it justice. Far better commercial pictures are available.

This was the southern side of the bridge. The northern side was to come later.

We walked on.

House at the bottom of the gorge
Dom Bosco house. It used to be a home for retired priests
Fabulous view again
Stunning view of the bridge and the town
World famous artist, apparently. Never heard of him.

We next visited a chapel.

Yet another fantastic church.

We finished a wonderful tour by walking back along the other side of the Roman bridge.

13th century Moorish bridge


We decided to try visiting the cafeteria on the 4th floor of the Catalonia Hotel to have something to eat, drink and take pictures of the inside of the bullring. Well worth the trouble.

Great way to finish our trip to Ronda.

Back on the coach to visit another of the area’s “white villages”, painted white to keep the houses cool in this very hot area (temperatures were in the high 30s). This one was Setenil de las Bodegas, and proved to be very interesting, but not on the scale of Ronda.

Houses and shops built above and below a huge rocky outcrop

We wandered around taking in the sights (Jean an ice cream and me a beer) before leaving this lovely place.

A truly terrific afternoon.

Back to the hotel for packing, dinner and bed.

I haven’t said much about this hotel, the Sherry Park in Jerez. It’s the best hotel we’ve been in on this trip by a distance. The room was on the small side, but had a balcony and a sort of view. A decent pool and some nice grounds added to the congenial surroundings.

View from the balcony
And again

The food, buffet-style, was also the best we’ve had, with a lot more variety and better presentation. We even got two room keys rather than just the one! These things are important, you know……

We start our journey to Malaga airport at 6.15 a.m. (!), so an early (ish) night was called for. Fingers crossed for that, then.

4 responses to “Day 8 – Tuesday, 27/6/23”

  1. Fantastic scenery. No wonder the Beach Boys wrote a song about it 😉

  2. that bridge is amazing

    1. It really is. Absolutely sensational.

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