Tuesday, 10 November 2009


Any long holiday weekend in Spain is called a puente - literally 'a bridge' - often because if, say, the Thursday is a holiday they make it a bridge to the weekend by taking the Friday off as well. This past Monday was a puente in Madrid, so we felt it was only fitting to visit a famous puente on our way back from Estepona.

Ronda is one of the oldest towns in Spain, with remains in the area going back to the stone age, though it was under the Arabs that it really rose to prominence, a fortified rock in the middle of a high, fertile plateau, ringed by mountains that became a regional capital. Once Spanish control of Andalucia had been firmly in place for a couple of centuries, they decided the old part of town didn't need to be quite so inaccessible, and so the bridge for which Ronda is now chiefly famous was built, a beautiful construction spanning a plummeting gorge. However Ronda was not just a one-trick town. Even the drive there had been worth it, as we wound our way up the mountains of the Sierra behind Marbella which offered stunning views across the Straits of Gibraltar to Morocco, the Atlas Mountains clearly visible. Ronda itself, with its pretty whitewashed houses, doors open to the cobbled streets revealing beautifully tiled vestibules, was a pleasure to walk around and well worth the diversion on our way back to Madrid.

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