Ronda in 24 hours
The average person could tour Ronda in a day, but we decided to go overnight because taking the bus everywhere eats up a lot of time. We woke up really early in order to catch the 7:15 am Colmenar bus to Malaga, which takes about 40 minutes. The bus from Malaga to Ronda left at 8 am so we knew we would be cutting it close. Through a series of long stop lights and traffic, we entered the bus station at 8:01 as I saw the bus to Ronda leave the station and turn the corner… I was so sad. We decided to walk around and look for a café, my nose drew me around the corner to a café/bakery called “Granier.” We ordered two café con leche, a chocolate croissant, and waited until the next bus arrived in two hours.
The bus ride to Ronda was incredible. The views that is…not the fact that every person on a germ incubator bus seems to be the midst of a cold. It’s a miracle I haven’t gotten sick, Mikel seems to be coming down with something but were trying to keep him well.
We arrived in Ronda around noon and I realized I didn’t have directions to the hotel. Not quite used to my phone not working without wifi yet. I had the street name and we eventually stumbled upon it. We stayed at Hotel Ronda which was cute and clean, a little bit of old and new, nothing extravagant but were on a budget here! ;). It was really the perfect location, but I would stay there again based on the service alone.
After checking in we headed out for lunch. I had done my trip advisor research, as always, because there are nearly 200 restaurants in Ronda. Italian sounded best, of course, and Pizzeria Italiana Nonno Peppe had rave reviews. Our waitress didn’t speak English very well but she was really sweet, and figured out a price for just a single “copa de vino” (glass of wine). The menu only had wine by the bottle, actually we saw this at every restaurant we went to, they only show prices for bottles of wine. The pizza was shrimp and red pepper, the pasta was mushroom and truffle sauce. Both equally satisfying and delicious. We were now ready to do some hard sightseeing.
First stop was the Puente Nueve (new bridge), truth be told I could have just sat and stared all day. Mikel is better at remembering and describing the history but I’ll do my best and not try to bore you all. This bridge was built by the Romans in the late 1700’s. It is massive (321 feet tall), see the picture where I am standing in the bottom right for perspective. Between the arches there is a balcony facing a section that was used as a prison.It is currently used as the main pathway from the old to the new city.
We took a hike down the side of the bridge where you can go walk along side of the gorge. It was pretty hot and a decent treck. Side note* I have not seen one gym here…not a one, and yet everyone seems to be in perfectly good shape. I felt like I had legs of lead on the way back, sucking wind like none other whilst everyone is prancing around and passing me right and left. What is going on here??
Anyway, we spent most of the day exploring what the old city had to offer, and worked up an appetite for dinner. Being my Birthday/Valentines day we decided to splurge a bit on dinner. The restaurant was called “Puerta Grande.” We were treated like king and queen, really amazing food and service, I was in my happy place. We finished the night with fried milk (a cinnamon custard) blueberry cheesecake (was like a cloud), and a complimentary shot of Malaga sweet wine. I wish I could say everything we ate in Ronda was fabulous but lunch the following day put the streak to an end.I should have known really, 7 euros for three courses?
The next morning the owner of the hotel brought us breakfast to our room at the time of our choice. It was so perfect- fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, tea, bread, local meats and cheeses, fruit salad and cookies. The weather was cloudy with a chance of rain so we headed to the Plaza de Toros (bullring) for some cover inside the museum. This bullring is the oldest in Spain and dates back to 1783. Mikel explains,
“What’s unique about the bullring and Ronda is it is the place where modern day bullfighting began. The costumes, the techniques, and the way the bullfighters kill the bulls all came from that bullring.”
We were pretty wiped out by this point in the day and had a long journey home. Dee had chicken and chickpea curry waiting for us at home and Mikel skyped his parents while I laid down, feeling ill from whatever mystery meat I ate at lunch.
Overall, I would definitely say Ronda has to be on the itinerary if you’re Southern Spain. Even if just on the way to another city, the views alone are worth a stop.