Monday, February 16, 2015

From Ronda to Granada

Ronda has been a lovely interlude and transition into Spain. Tourism is its main focus, and has been for a few centuries. Ronda was a major site on "The Grand Tour". Many famous visitors are immortalized in its street names, e.g. Orson Wells, Rainer Maria Rilke, James Joyce, and others. Hemingway set his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls here. Lloyd has it on his e-reader, and I started it the other day, but have put it aside--too suspenseful within the first chapter for travel reading!

Bull-fighting has also put Ronda on the map. The "Plaza de Toros" is an impressive yet simple bullring erected in the late 1700s. 

There is a very good museum within its walls...nicely curated with didactic panels in both Spanish and English. The first panel describes the "human fascination with bulls" or bovine worship, stating that this goes back to Paleolithic times with the cave drawings of bulls. (An interesting way to justify the practice...) The costume displays were excellent; the exquisite embroidery on the jackets and pants was a delight of course! And they would have fit such tiny bodies!  Another lovely display was the posters...

Here's my favourite which nicely encapsulates a view of the town from above...

The bull pens...

Lloyd went out last night after dark to take a few pictures of the statue of a bull outside the bullring (our hotel was about 20 m away):

We also visited the "Secret Mine", a set of steep stairs zig-zagging inside the cliffs, dropping about 80 m from the gardens above to the river below. This was built in the 14th C by the Muslim ruler at a time when Ronda was in a strategic position between Castile (Catholic) and Granada (Muslim). 

A peacock in the gardens:

The view to the other side of the gorge:

We also visited the Arab Baths (which were similar to Roman baths) but fell into disuse when the Christians took over the city...a shame because the population might have been healthier if they had bathed more often! Sorry, no pictures...

This morning we visited the fabulous museum of Ronda, an excellent overview of the town's archeology from Neolithic times to the Roman. This is housed in a splendid 17th C palace on the edge of the precipice and the outer gardens are particularly splendid.

This afternoon we took the train to Granada and are now happily installed in the "Suites Gran Via 44" about half way between the train station and the Alhambra. We are here for 5 nights and so have settled in (meaning that I have unpacked and hung up my clothes). We found a supermarket about a 10 minute walk away, and bought groceries for tonight's supper (omelette) and tomorrow's breakfast.  Looking forward to cooking!  Here are some views of the apartment:

It's a bidet-toilet combined, like in Japan! Note the arm on the side...that's the control panel for the spray and dry functions...

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