For Whom the Bell Tolls

Bells of Iglesia Padre Jesus

Bells of Iglesia Padre Jesus

Lady Tennyson

Lady Tennyson

Following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Tennyson and a few other tourists, we have just spent four days in Ronda…an amazing town perched on top of sheer cliffs, deep in Andalucia. We stayed at Camping El Sur, a good site about a mile to the south of the town. It is quick to walk or cycle in…the old town is about 20 minutes walk away.

Puerta de Almocabar

Puertas de Almocabar and Carlos V

Occupied since neolithic times, the town was a Moor (Muslim) stronghold for many centuries. These are the gates through which you enter the old town from the campsite direction. Just behind the walls here is the church of the Holy Ghost.

Altar...Church of the Holy Ghost

Altar…Church of the Holy Ghost

For a euro you can walk into the Church and climb the tower on its south wall.

View From Church of Holy Ghost

View From Church of Holy Ghost

There is a good view of the Almocabar and Carlos V gates and walls from the tower.

Good Coffee Stop

Good Coffee Stop

Jardin de la Muralla

Jardin de la Muralla

Just past the church, hidden around a corner, is this small cafe, with a delightful terrace and great views over the countryside.

Jardin de la Muralla

Jardin de la Muralla

Perfect for the first coffee stop of the day.

Puente Nuevo..the new bridge

Puente Nuevo..the new bridge

Ronda is split in two by the El Tajo gorge which divides the old town in the south from the Mercadillo, or market town, to the north. This is the new bridge (new is relative…built in the 18th century), which joins the two towns.

El Tajo Gorge

El Tajo Gorge

The River Guadalevin runs through the El Tajo gorge….this is the gorge to the east of Ronda.

Casa de San Juan Bosco

Casa de San Juan Bosco

One of the many old houses worth visiting is that of San Juan Bosco, on the west side of the old city. There are elegant interiors and a pretty terrace, much be-tiled in an Islamic style, with stunning views over the gorge to El Mercadillo and the surrounding countryside.

Bosco Terrace

Bosco Terrace

Terrace at Casa Bosco

Terrace at Casa Bosco

Casa Bosco

Casa Bosco

Hemingway

Hemingway

Hemingway’s bust adorns the plaza just by the bullring over the bridge in the Mercadillo. He spent much time in the old city and based his novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ on events here in the Spanish Civil War.

Iglesia del Socorro

Iglesia del Socorro

A little further on from Hemingway is the Plaza de Socorro, home to this elegant church and a number of restaurants…it’s a good place to sit and refuel.

Lunch at Casino Restaurant

Lunch at Casino Restaurant

The Casino restaurant overlooks the Plaza Socorro.

Plaza del Socorro

Plaza del Socorro

This handy pigeon perch is on the Plaza de Socorro.

Ice Cream Time

Ice Cream Time

Also a good spot for an ice cream. And a lie down, if you are a terrier with old town overload.

Eugen

Eugen

This is Eugen, brilliant spanish guitarist who played on the Plaza Maria Auxiliadora, close to the Bosco house, while we rehydrated in the cafe here. We bought some of his CD’s to remind us of the trip.

Restaurant Casino ..Accompaniment

Restaurant Casino ..Accompaniment

Another local musician; he was playing in the Restaurant Casino, on the Plaza Socorro.

Eco Transport

Eco Transport

This seemed a civilised way to get around. We hopped aboard one of the carriages for a leisurely drive around the old town.

Lady Nia in her charabanc

Lady Nia in her charabanc

The last time we were on one of these together was our wedding day. (Before any one comments…this wasn’t because we were married before the internal combustion engine had appeared).

Viewpoint

Viewpoint

This is the viewpoint in El Mercadillo, just behind the bullring and close to a good woody bit to let the Krays off in. There are good views over the gorge and live music each time we walked by…harp and pan pipes today, accordion yesterday.

Arab Baths

Arab Baths

There is a good walk down from the Jardins de la Muralla coffee stop, outside the town’s walls, to the Arab baths to the east of the old town. Built on the site of preexisting Roman baths, the sophisticated hot pools were for the use of travellers before they entered the town.

The Krays

The Krays

Colin and Penny weren’t allowed in to the baths; we took it in turns to go in. Pity…Penny would have loved to dig up some old Roman bones.

Arab Bridge, Arab baths behind.

Arab Bridge, Arab baths behind.

Just next to the baths is the Arab Bridge (also known as the Roman bridge) to El Mercadillo, at a much lower level than the New Bridge.

The Old Bridge

The Old Bridge

This is the old bridge, just above the Arab Bridge (confused yet?..we were).

Palace of the Moorish King...Gardens

Palace of the Moorish King…Gardens

Palace of the Moorish King...Gardens

Palace of the Moorish King…Gardens

Walking up from the Old Bridge, on the Old Town side of the gorge, you come to the Palace of the Moorish King and Gardens. The palace is closed for renovations but the garden is worth a visit, as is the ‘water mine’ which is a vertical shaft sunk down from the gardens to the river 80 m or so below. 300 steps lead down to the water and provided a water supply in times of siege.

Water Mine

Water Mine

Slaves on the steps formed a human chain to pass water bags up to the thirsty townspeople.

From the Foot of the Water Mine

From the Foot of the Water Mine

Walking down the steps you eventually come out, not unexpectedly, at the foot of the gorge.

Cafe Goyesca

Cafe Goyesca

This is the Restaurant Goyesca, close to the Place of the Moorish King, and home to some excellent tapas.

Tapas

Tapas

More Tapas

More Tapas

Even more Tapas

Even more Tapas

Tapas again

Tapas again

Xijara Walls

Xijara Walls

Another good walk is along the Xijara walls to the east of the old town.

Xijara Gate

Xijara Gate

The gate is in the Moorish style.

We have eaten so many tapas that we won’t be able to get through any more gates if we stay any longer, so we are moving on now, in the direction of Cordoba.

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Rambling about Europe with the Kray Twins (Colin and Penny).

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Posted in - Spain, Andalucia, Autumn 2015, Ronda
5 comments on “For Whom the Bell Tolls
  1. kris says:

    Damned, i’m jalous when i see all these pictures 🙂

  2. Rosie Pike says:

    Superb photos as always Peter and Nia. The weather looks so much better than when we visited Rhonda (story of our lives!). You will love the Mezquita in Cordoba, it is truly awesome inside. Looking forward to seeing the photos! x

  3. nomaggsrush says:

    Looks great. I’m planning to visit Ronda soon, so thanks for the tips on what to look out for!!

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Places Visited
Dordogne Guide
Our Guide to Bordeaux, the MĂ©doc and the Dordogne

Our Dordogne Guide Book is now available. See motorhomefrance.com

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