After having my flight delayed for ten hours and arriving at Malaga airport around four in the morning my trip to Spain hadn’t started out so well. Waiting around for another three hours at yet another soulless airport for transport to the city to begin I could at least be consoled by the fact that I knew I was going to some of Spain’s more celebrated towns.
Arriving in Malaga after a sleepless night there was really only one thing to do and that was to start the day with a couple of ‘cortado’ coffees and a ‘tostada’ at a street side cafe and watch the city come to life. By the time this was done the station ticket office was open and I purchased a one-way ticket to Ronda.
Coming into Ronda after a journey of approximately two hours through some beautiful Andalucian scenery doesn’t really give you any idea of how lovely this town truly is nor of its dramatic setting.
A quick walk past some of the larger and more modern housing near the station and I soon found myself walking downhill through some narrow streets filled with whitewashed houses and their tiny wrought-iron ‘birdcage’ balconies. With the smell of coffee and freshly baked bread filling the air I spotted some trees and aimed for what I hoped would be a park where I could get my bearings and hopefully find my hotel.
Sure enough, after crossing a busy road, I found the Alameda de Ronda and sat down to dig out some paperwork and get directions. A couple of ladies set me off in the right direction and some further enquiries at a restaurant soon got me to where my hotel was.
Dumping the rucksack in the room I had a quick shower and change and headed into the streets of Ronda, camera at the ready, to explore this famous town.
I quickly made my way back to the Plaza del Socorro where I had asked for directions before and sat down for another coffee as I watched the life of the town pass by in the glorious sunshine.
Feeling a bit peckish by now I found another restaurant and had a delicious serving of Chorizo al Andalus and set off to explore further. By now I was only a few hundred metres from Ronda’s most famous attraction, the famous ‘New Bridge’ over the gorge which divides the town in two, but it was a joy to wander the streets taking in all the whitewashed architecture, shops and restaurants catering to the never-ending supply of tourists.
Crossing over the bridge I came into the older, originally Moorish, part of town with narrow cobbled streets and housing that seems to loom over you as you walk by before coming to a square with a small park, church and the ubiquitous street-side cafes so it was definitely time to sit down for some freshly pressed orange juice and listen to some guitar music as I let the world pass me by and just relaxed.
Walking back through these same streets later I soon found the path which leads down into the El Tajo Gorge from where you can get the iconic photos of the Puente Nuevo, but that could wait until later. For now it was time to indulge in that most Spanish of pursuits, cerveza and tapas.
Settling in at a table outside a picturesque restaurant with a small shaded square off behind me I enjoyed a couple of beers and some tapas dishes before heading back into the main part of town.
Once back into the centre of town it was time to think about an early night as I wanted to rise before the sun came up and get some photos of the famous bridge early in the day so a couple of beers were consumed before I purchased a bottle of Rioja and wandered back through the darkening streets to my hotel after an eminently satisfying and enjoyable first day in Ronda.