An easy hour and a half drive from Malaga brought us to the beautiful Andalusian white hilltop town of Ronda. The roads are in excellent condition and we are delighted with the manners of the Spanish drivers and the safety of how they drive. Ronda had been on the bucket list since out last trip to Andalucia in 2007, and we did not have enough time to visit then. So, 4 nights should give us plenty of time to discover all that it has to offer and also see some of the surrounding villages too.
The Hotel Catalonia Ronda is in a central part of the town just near the famous Puente Nuevo Bridge with the Tajo Gorge running below. We’re very happy with our spacious room and sunny verandah with a plunge pool and it’s quiet and overlooks the rooftops. John did it his usual first day recky to familiarise himself with the lay of the town and then we both enjoyed a wander of the quiet streets before dinner. The tours groups had gone for the day and it was just locals and tourists that were staying in Ronda that were out and about. We’re getting into the swing of the Spanish way of Summer Living, having an afternoon siesta, staying out late at night and eating late dinner and sleeping in , in the morning. It doesn’t take us long to adapt.
The wind today was chilly so we thought we’d have a meal inside somewhere that we could also get a view of the sunset. We were very happy with the restaurant Montelirio , it had seating on its verandah and had plastic covers down to protect from the wind and heaters, so we were cozy and enjoyed looking out to the countryside below and watched the sunset colours build up . The meal was delicious too , Foie Gras for starters and scrumptious Sea Bass and vegetables for mains. The local wine was great too.
The warm jackets were used a great deal in Ronda as the mornings and evenings were very chilly but as we walked around during the day it warmed up. Everywhere we turned there was a photo opportunity from the stunning lookouts , to the many monuments and statues and the wonderful ornate ironwork on the windows and doorways. We spent 2 days walking the streets and enjoying every turn. A visit to Arab Baths that were restored to original condition were worth the walk down to .
We were very fortunate that a Guitar Festival was on in Ronda too , so we booked tickets for the Wednesday evening. it was a lovely night so we had a few Mojitos on the hotel rooftop terrace bar before heading out for the concert. We were entertained by 2 brilliant guitarists, the first act was an Italian Guitarist and the second was a Spanish Guitarist. The acoustics in the old Convent where the concert was held were fantastic and we were so thankful that we had the opportunity to experience it all.
We drove to another white hilltop village, Grazaloma, it was a winding drive in but it was worth it.It was a such a well kept town and every street and houses were so well maintained. We walkedup the hill to the church that was fortunately not opened but we enjoyed watching the primary school children playing in the school yard. A basic fish meal from a café near the carpark kept us happy and ready for the winding return drive. We decided that our idea of visiting lots of little villages around the area was not going to happen, as the efforts of getting there and effects on Ann’s silly vertigo head made it all too hard.
We continued to explore all that Ronda had to offer and ventured out to the ramparts of the old Fortress and visited the main gates of the town that date back to the 12th century.
We enjoyed wandering the back streets and on our wanderings came across a beautiful building, with a wonderful vista lookout and it was a Restaurant too,El Morbito, so we were in luck for lunch and unfortunately it was too windy to eat outdoors, but the indoor rooms were divine and the Tapas were the best we’d had, a few having a Moroccan twist to them and we were taken back to the delights of the wonderful tastes we enjoyed when we were in Morocco years ago. The food was so good here that we decided to return for dinner for the following night and it was a much milder temperature and we got to enjoy the stunning views and sunset whilst delighting in scrumptious food and local Verdelho wine.
John took a final outing on our last day to visit the grotto at Casa Del Ray Moro, an old Moors Palace and water fortress where he had to traverse over 230 wet steps through the caves cut inside the cliff to get to the grotto pools at the bottom of the gorge. it was well worth the effort and it just showed what ingenuity the Moorish kings had to defend and to enjoy their surroundings when not in danger. That night we said farewell to Ronda with a sensational meal at El Morbito again watching the sunset again over this fabulous town
We headed off to Cadiz the next day and along the way stopped in at the delightful White Hilltop Fortress town of Zarah for a coffee before heading into the rain.