I have already told you how "Moorish" ronda is...oh snap. That's an excellent pun, because it really is seeded in Moorish culture. Now, I'll attempt to demonstrate it..
Ronda is perched on top of some of the most dramatic cliffs in the region, the old town on one side, the new on the other. It is one of the oldest towns in Spain with a history dating to 9th century BC. There is an historical moment that occurred in Ronda, which is recorded by Hemingway in his novel 'Whom the Bell Tolls.' The fascists of a small town were rounded up, clubbed and made to walk a gauntlet between two lines of townspeople who then pushed them off the cliffs to their death. This actually happened here, early in the civil war, at the front of the parador.
These days, the location is a centrepiece of the day tour circuit to Ronda. The majestic gardens flow from the bullfighting stadium to the cliffs. There is a pegoda thing, with talented buskers bringing their music and elegance to the view. The video excerpt from Imogen's birthday film clip demonstrates this perfectly. The historical and current settings are certainly a juxtaposition. It would be ignorant to stand her and not think "Poor fascists and their misguided beliefs. They didn't deserve to die. In such a glorious location."
We ended up spending three nights here, and promoting ourselves back to the apartment with the massive terrace overlooking the town. Here are some pictures I snapped last night. The view from the parador pales in comparison. Especially when you factor in that they are actually looking over a site of atrocities, and we are looking over a gorge, some excellent structural and architectural beauty.
The bridge is a centrepiece of Ronda. For obvious reasons, not least of which is Imogen's rendition of Under the Bridge, which is becoming a YouTube sensation, 70 views and counting. Ha ha. So, it might surprise you to know that there are actually three bridges. I feel sorry for the smaller bridges which barely make an appearance in the Ronda art and postcard worlds. Yet knowing this, I didn't even make an effort to photograph the third and final bridge. Yet I have a dozen large bridge photos.
But just when you were feeling sorry for the third bridge, it turns out the only reason people even go there, is actually to see this famous arch on the other side. So they 'use' the bridge to get there... It's a hard life being a bridge in Ronda.
Something happened to our marriage in Ronda, we have reached a milestone reserved exclusively for married couples. Karl will ask which direction I would like to go, and then do the exact opposite. BUT. Not intentionally, that would be lame. He genuinely just does the opposite without even trying. At first I thought it was a fluke and we hadn't actually reached that level of connectedness, but it began happening every single time we did anything. My favourite was the time I said I needed to go to the toilet, and pointed to where I thought there was one. I turned around and Karl was halfway up the street on the other side of the road. Twenty to thirty minutes of touring through the industrial area and we were back in a park, coincidentally, right near the site of the fascist murders. Was he tempting fate? I was not going to give him the satisfaction.
I accidentally took us on a detour down more steps than you could possibly imagine, maybe 300. Then we had to climb up the cliffs to get home. It was ok in the end because we visited the royal palace hanging gardens. I was trying to get a picture of the peacock with a death wish that crows all morning, annoying me on our terrace, across the gorge. But it would only stand in front of hoses and other ugly things. Nek minit. I turn around and it is working this pose for another tourist. I was so pissed off at it that I forgot to take any more pictures of the gardens.
We visited the Plaza de Torro, despite my new found hatred for this "sport." It is the oldest "stadium" in the country so I respected the antiquity and heritage of the place. I must admit, it was pretty beautiful. I particularly liked the museum about bullfighting which helped to illustrate why this profession is so important. Essentially it boils down to ego. My favourite.
I was also relieved to see that it is ok to break the law, as long as you are in a remote village. Keep that in mind when planning your holidays to Spain.
But wait, there's more. Before you got to see any content about bullfighting in the museum, you were directed to a massive room full of guns, which seemingly had nothing to do with anything.
You may recall that Steven and Karl attended some bullfights in Madrid, and came home drunk, giving Elaine and I a blow by blow reenactment of the night. Well, upon entering the stadium, Karl started doing it again. I went along with it at first, then reminded him he had already told me, and acted it out. He denied this happened, and said he wasn't drunk.
Later that night I got an email from the Madrid apartment owner. I had emailed him offering to pay for the glass that got broken. Karl was confused, not able to recall a single skerick of memory about a broken glass, despite being the person who had kicked it off the table and then cleaned it up. Definitely wasn't drunk when he got home from the bullfighting.
Turns out Plaza de Mayor was once a bullfighting arena. Karl was speculating about what would happen if the world was like the song 'Cows with Guns' and all the dead bulls came back to life, seeking vengeance on humans. I hope they go to Plaza de Mayor. Three words. Eat shit Spiderman
Although it looks so dodgy, we took a fair bit of time filming, editing and mostly trying to upload Imogen's birthday film clip to YouTube. In the end, the high definition clip didn't upload and everyone gets a low resolution substitute.
Our feet were pretty dirty from trudging around the cliffs in thongs. We were dehydrated and hungry after doing the bridge scene, so we popped into a nice restaurant on the cliffs for a drink, and maybe dinner. The waiter took one look at our feet, then walked into the kitchen. After a while, of us awkwardly loitering at the front counter, he reemerged, then quickly went out onto the terrace. He looked up at me, I smiled and tried to indicate we wanted to eat, but he quickly walked back onto the terrace. We took the hint. Ha ha ha. So, if anyone comes to Ronda, don't eat here on principle. Take that.