In 2011 we planned a five day road trip in Spain, flying into Madrid and then driving down to Cordoba, Ronda and Granada before flying off to Barcelona. As you can imagine, the trip was really rushed, we spent most of the time on the road and it was really stressful being on the other side of the road, and I wasn’t even driving! Navigating through tiny roads that don’t seem to fit normal sized vehicles was also traumatic.
Nonetheless, one of my fondest memories was travelling to Ronda. We had only scheduled a day but it was one unforgettable day.
We did have a bumpy start. We had difficulties locating our accommodation and everyone we asked didn’t seem to speak English or understand. It wasn’t until we met a local man that pointed us in the right direction. He had moderate English skills and he offered to walk us in the direction of the place to pick up the keys – apparently we were in the right location but key pickup was on the other side of town, something they completely failed to mention on the website.
On the brightside we arrived on a celebratory festival day in Ronda and the town was buzzing with people, the man explained that he was celebrating with his family in town. He had greying hair, tanned skin and wore a fedora. He slung his jacket over his shoulder and spoke calmly, with an air of confidence and pride for his home town. It looked as though he had just walked off the set of The Godfather.
He told us about how he recently came back from a trip in Shanghai. He spent three months there and loved it. He asked us how long we were here for and was disappointed when we replied “for only a day”. He stated that you can’t really see or experience a place for only a day and even three months isn’t enough. Before departing he recommended us things to see and do during our stay.
As we walked I wondered if everyone in Ronda was like this and pondered how fleeting and meaningful interactions with strangers can be. I never asked for his name, and nor he for ours. Although our meeting was short, he definitely left an impression on me and perhaps is one of the reasons why I am so fond of Ronda.
This is Puente Nuevo bridge. We first saw an image of this bridge in Google Images and decided immediately that we must go. It didn’t disappoint and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to photograph it and see it in person.
The town is atop a hill and all of the buildings have wonderful views of the countryside.
All restaurants in the town featured outdoor dining options.
We decided to hitch a horse and carriage ride for 20 euros. The driver pointed out sights along the ride, but they were mostly hotels.
I was able to capture this intimate image of a mother and child riding the horse and carriage through the narrow lanes of Ronda.
Whilst roaming the streets of Ronda, we heard music and followed the sound. Two musicians, a woman playing a harp and a man alternating between a guitar and flute, were playing in a gazebo overlooking the country fields and mountains.
Above is a video I took of the buskers playing.
It was simply by chance that we found Ronda, as we needed some cities to pit stop between Madrid and Granada, but it was more than I could have imagined. After all that manic driving around Spain, Ronda was a much needed breath of air.