Arriving in Ronda

You mustn’t think that our traveling life consists entirely of touring old churches and interesting museums, then sitting in a sunny plaza with a mountain view and eating good food while a guitarist plays softly in the background. But our first day in Ronda did.

Ronda is the most famous of the pueblos blancos (white villages) that dot the mountains along the border between Malaga and Cadiz provinces. It’s best known for two things: its setting on a high plateau split down the middle by a 300-foot gorge, and bullfighting.

Although it was a Moorish fortress starting in the 9th century and then a prosperous Renaissance town, Ronda really came into its own in the 18th century. That’s when engineers succeeded in spanning the top of the gorge with a large sturdy bridge, which allowed the city to expand to the other side, and when the modern version of bullfighting was born in the city’s new bullring.

The New Bridge over the gorge was an engineering marvel when it was built in the 1780s

Because Ronda is only about 50 km from the horribly overdeveloped Costa del Sol, it is inundated by day trippers on buses. But even when the city is thronged with tourists, Ronda’s amazing setting still elicits a “wow.” And there are always quiet spots, like some of the narrow streets of the old quarter, where tourists rarely penetrate.

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