Romantic Ronda

28 Sep

Only two hours drive from Seville but a world away, the hilltop white town of Ronda was the perfect weekend escape from three weeks of hot city life and wall to wall flamenco.

With a beer o’clock stop in the puebla blanca of Zahara de la Sierra we arrived in Ronda by lunch, just in time to see a classic scooter rally cruise through the main street of the old town centre.

This was our second visit but the first overnight. We treated ourselves to the Parador de Ronda. Our room turned out to be a grand suite on the the corner of the top floor with a massive wrap around terrace immediately overlooking the bridge and gorge. Not great for vertigo to watch people abseil over the bridge, but if I kept my eyes off the 160 metre drop and on the encircling lavender mountains it was heavenly.

The day unfolded with a lazy lunch on the terrace followed by siesta then a sedate stroll around the streets to select our restaurant for later that night in quiet Plaza Mondragon. By the time we returned for dinner the parishioners of Santa Maria La Mayor were in the middle of carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary around the streets and then back into the church.

The procession passed right by our table on the cobbled street. Sometimes the accompanying brass bands can be a bit noiseome, but this one played tasteful classics and at one point three nuns sang beautifully a capella.

Sunday morning there was a fun run in town and an artisans’ market by the bull ring, but until the day trippers arrived it was blissfully quiet. We’d noted how clean the streets were compared to Seville. This was explained when we saw the council workers out in force early washing the streets and sweeping side walks.

We returned to Seville via Grazalema, another pristine white village. The villages are a magnet for cyclists, bikers and hikers but both those we visited seemed vibrant and didn’t charge rip off prices. Our 8.50 Euro menu del dia lunch was good value.

Back in Seville it was an unrelenting 35 degrees at 5pm and I was already planning my next weekend break.

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