Spain (Day 9, Part 2)

October 29

Andalusia

Ronda

Ronda is 25 miles east of Grazalema.  With a population of 35,000, it is the largest city in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park.

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[Ronda was first settled by the early Celts, who called it Arunda in the sixth century BC. Later Phoenician settlers established themselves nearby to found locally as Ronda la Vieja, Arunda, or Old Ronda.  The current Ronda is of Roman origins and received the title of city at the time of Julius Caesar.  Ronda is situated in a mountainous area about 750 m (2,460 ft) above mean sea level.  The Guadalevín River runs through the city, dividing it in two and carving out the steep, 100-plus-meter-deep El Tajo canyon above which the city perches. The Spanish fir (Abies pinsapo) is endemic to the mountains surrounding Ronda  (Wikipedia).]

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[American artists Ernest Hemongway and Orson Welles spent many summers in Ronda as part-time residents of Ronda’s old-town quarter called La Ciudad.  Both wrote about Ronda’s beauty and famous bullfighting traditions.  Their collective accounts have contributed to Ronda’s popularity over time (Wikipedia).  This (and above) is the Church of La Merced on Plaza de Socorro . . . ]

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[As the sign says . . . ]

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[Named for a German botanist who studied the plant life of the Iberian peninsula . . . ]

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[Pedro Romero Martínez (November 19, 1754 – February 10, 1839) was a legendary bullfighter from the Romero family in Ronda.  Hemingway, in his novel The Sun Also Rises, portrays a young, “beautiful” and very artful bullfighter whom he names Pedro Romero, presumably after Pedro Romero Martinez (Wikipedia).]

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[And in profile . . . ]

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[Every year in Ronda several of the town’s ladies are chosen to be the Dames Goyescas, and represent the ladies seen in some of Francisco de Goya’s paintings of bullfighting and pageantry from the late 18th century.  A perfect role for the Super . . . ]

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[Since the inception of the Corrida Goyesca in Ronda’s September fair in 1954, the ladies of Ronda have been the official representatives of the city, and welcoming committee for visiting dignitaries.  The role is exceptionally demanding, not only from the responsibility of the role, but also from the demanding schedule of training, and gown fittings before the build up to the week’s festivities.  So exceptionally popular have been the Dames Goyesca, that in 2009, a bronze statue of a Goyesca lady was inaugurated in Alameda park, directly across from the statue of Pedro Romero, Ronda’s most famous bullfighter  (www.rondatoday.com).]

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[Antonio Jiménez Ordóñez Araujo was born in Ronda, on February 16, 1932.  His father was Cayetano Ordonez, called Niño de la Palma, the prototype for the character of Pedro Romero, the matador in Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises (Wikipedia). OK, let him fight it out with Pedro Romero?]

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[He was one of the top bullfighters of his time.  As a matador, Ordóñez faced over 3,000 bulls.  He retired in 1968, having fought over 60 bullfights in that year alone, but came back until finally retiring in 1988.   He died in 1998 (Wikipedia).]

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[We’re now outside the Ronda bullring.  The Plaza de Toros (bullring) occupies a very special place in modern Spanish culture and history as the home of the Rondeño style of bullfighting and also of the Real Maestranza De Caballería De Ronda. The bullring was built entirely of stone in the 18th century, during the golden years of Pedro Romero’s reign as champion bullfighter (www.rondatoday.com).]

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[Many tourist guides will tell you the Ronda bullring is the oldest and largest in Spain, in fact the story is confusing.  Our little bullring only has seating for 5,000 spectators, hardly the largest in the world, but the rueda, which is the large round circle of sand, is the largest in the world at 66m, making it 6m larger than Spain’s biggest bullring, the Plaza Toros Las Ventas in Madrid.  The bullring in Sevilla is considered older having commenced construction in 1761, and was completed in 1785, compared to Ronda’s commencement in 1779 and completion in 1784, though purists agree Ronda’s bullring should be entitled to the crown since it was first to stage a corrida.  However, in May of 1784 during the first inaugural corrida to be held in Ronda’s Plaza de Toros, part of the stand collapsed forcing its closure until repairs could be made (www.rondatoday.com).]

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[Identified merely as a bronze bull statue in Plaza de Toros . . . ]

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[I think it deserves a story?]

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[He was famous for something . . . ]

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[As was he?]

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[And a famous local guy.  Blas Infante Pérez de Vargas (Casares, Spain; 5 July 1885 – Seville, Spain; 11 August 1936) was an Andalucista politician, Georgist, writer, historian and musicologist, known as the father of Andalusian nationalism. Infante was a Georgist idealist who initiated an assembly at Ronda in 1913 (Wikipedia).]

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[Now a walk through Alameda del Tajo Park to . . . ]

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[These amazing overlooks . . . ]

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[Ronda enjoys a spectacular location in between two of Andalusia’s most stunning natural parks. To the east is the Sierra de las Nieves, the highest peaks of which are snow-capped during winter, and to the west is the Sierra de Grazalema, the rugged mountains of which are visible from Ronda’s ‘Alameda del Tajo’ park (theculturetrip.com).]

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[In retrospect, I would have enjoyed spending more than a half day here . . . ]

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[First sighting of New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) which spans the 120 metre-deep (394 feet) El Tajo gorge and offers a truly vertiginous experience (theculturetrip.com) . . . ]

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[The Guadalevín River flows all the way through the city, separating it into two and creating dramatic landscapes. During the Reconquest of Spain by the Catholic monarchs, the city of Ronda was the last to fall because of the cliffs.  The city is located on a mountainous area of an enormous outcropped rock approximately 750 meters above sea level (www.tourismontheedge.com)].

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[We’re taking these photos from “new town,” and that’s “old town” on the other (north) side of the gorge . . . ]

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[Construction on the bridge began in 1759 and was completed in 1793 . . . ]

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[A prison and torture chamber under the bridge . . . because where else would you put such?]

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[We’re making our move to cross the bridge to old town . . . ]

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[As previously noted, the metropolis of Pueblos Blancos . . . ]

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[The Super leads us out onto the bridge . . . ]

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[Too bad there weren’t any good views around here?]

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[Just spectacular . . . ]

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[The Super, Bill, and Anne crossed the road to see what was on the other side . . . ]

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[And this is what they saw . . . ]

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[And a big gorge . . . ]

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[Lamp post, though I have reason to suspect that wasn’t the object of the photo . . . ]

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[Multi-tiered fine dining back in new town . . . ]

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[And along the right flank of old town . . . ]

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[We’re now totally on the other side . . . ]

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[And Bill is recording it for posterity . . . ]

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[I like this place . . . ]

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[Viajeros Románticos (Romantic Travelers) were not traveling lovers as the translation suggests. They were travelers in the 18th and 19th centuries who wanted to discover the unspoiled areas of Europe and would take lengthy grand tours that would influence their many pieces of literature and art  (www.thewanderblogger).]

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[Here’s that Hemingway guy again . . . ]

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[This was taken somewhere in this vicinity . . . ]

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[A little park with an overlook . . . ]

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[And here’s what it overlooks . . . ]

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[Don Juan Bosco (also known as St John Bosco), was an Italian Roman Catholic priest, educator and writer of the 19th century, who put into practice the convictions of his religion, dedicating his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth and employing teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method known as the Salesian Preventive System (www.omair-khan.com).]

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[Casa de San Juan Bosco:  It is a modernist palace built at the beginning of the 20th century. It is located at the Tajo’s edge, at the heart of the historical city quarter of Ronda. It belonged to the Granada family, which gave it as last will to the Salesian Priest Order as nursing home of old and ill priests (www.andalucia.org).]

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[Fortress and Church of the Holy Spirit . . . ]

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[The spire is Church of Santa Maria la Mayor . . . ]

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[Pedro Pérez-Clotet was a Spanish writer belonging to the Generation of ’27, although he also occasionally appears on the payroll of theGeneration of ’36 (Wikipedia) . . . ]

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[Further sights, if not sounds, of “old town” . . .

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[The Church of Santa Maria la Mayor (well, it’s sign and plaza) . . . ]

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[And here’s the church . . . ]

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[Now that’s a door!]

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[Heading back down the main street of old town toward the bridge . . . ]

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[Why yes, the place is a tourist attraction . . . ]

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[We’re back in new town, and as you can see, at Plaza del Toros . . . ]

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[Our guide advised a good vantage point for this view was at a bar at the top of the hotel across the street – so that’s where we went . . . ]

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[And about where that white car is is where we’ll meet up for the trip back to Seville . . . ]

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[But for now, we’ll just enjoy the view . . . ]

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[And the wine . . . ]

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[Salud!!]

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[Let’s take the city street scenic route back to the bus . . . ]

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[Evening festivities are beginning . . . ]

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[Wish we could have stayed for dinner . . . ]

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[Not Harry S Truman . . . ]

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[Again:  Blas Infante Pérez de Vargas (5 July 1885 – 11 August 1936) was an Andalucista politican, writer, historian and musicologist, known as the father of Andalusian nationalism (‘Padre de la Patria Andaluza’).  Infante was a Georgist idealist who initiated an assembly at Ronda in 1913.  This assembly adopted a charter based on the autonomist Constitución Federal de Antequera written in 1883 during the First Spanish Republic.  It also embraced the current flag and emblem as “national symbols,” designed by Infante himself based on various historic Andalusian standards.  During the Second Spanish Republic, the Andalucismo was represented by the Junta Liberalista, a federalist political party led by Infante.  Infante was among numerous political figures who were summarily executed by  Franco’s forces when they took over Seville at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.  As both a regional autonomist and a kind of libertarian socialist, he twice “merited” inclusion on their liquidation list (Wikipedia).]

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[Now on the bus back to Seville, trying our best to get good sunset shots . . . ]

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[Yes, Virginia, in Seville there is . . . ]

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[a barber!  In the morning, we would be off to Cordoba.]

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I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.  ~  Oscar Wilde

Up Next:  Cordoba

One thought on “Spain (Day 9, Part 2)

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