It may be a long way from Bali, but coming to the town of Ronda in southern Spain and all we can think of is the Australian TV ad featuring the love story of Ronda and her Balinese friend Ketut.
In reality, we couldn’t be further away from Bali, with the only similarity being the heat.
Ronda is a very dramatic town perched on top of an isolated cliff, this natural defensive position used well by the Moors against the Christian invaders. The muslims were eventually toppled when the water supply they obtained through a secret mine below a palace, La Casa del Rey Moro, was cut off.
We visited this old moorish palace with lovely gardens and the secret water mine that you can walk down. After 200 damp stone steps you come to the river in the gorge, which offers dramatic views of the cliff from below. Thank goodness we did not have to carry any water back up the steps.
The major landmark of Ronda is the spectacular bridge which spans the large gorge between the old fortified part of town and the newer section where we are staying. It’s called the new bridge (Puente Nuevo), though it was completed back in 1793. There are several good vantage points for viewing the bridge and looking out over the countryside, including one path leading down from the old side of town so you can get a fantastic view back up at the bridge.
Our first afternoon we visited Plaza de Toros de Ronda, Spain’s oldest and largest bull ring. With only once-a-year bull fights, the ring is mainly used for equestrian events, and during our tour of the ring we witnessed some fine looking Spanish horses in training. It is a really well maintained ring, with quite interesting museums housed under the stands, covering the history of bullfighting plus a display of uniforms and guns.
And speaking of guns, another interesting thing for kids was the hunting museum, Museo de Caza. This quirky spot is overflowing with stuffed animals which was a bit creepy but mostly fun for the kids.
Some final meals of paella, churros and more yummy tapas, now we are off to visit another country (and continent)! Morocco here we come.