Our Trip to Spain-Part 4

8 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 4

This morning after breakfast our group boarded the bus for an all-day tour to Ronda.  On the way, our Program Director gave us a running account of the countryside we were traversing, with its history, culture, and points of interest.  Much of the scenery was picturesque as we passed thru some of the smaller towns such as Churriana, Alhaurina, Alozaina, and El Burgo, bordering the foothills of the Sierra de las Nieves. 

Photo Credit: https://www.hotels.com/churriana-de-la-vega-spain

Called ‘The most beautiful city on earth’ by Earnest Hemingway, Ronda is located on a high plateau, with the city’s ‘medieval’ part (El Ciudad) being separated from the ‘modern’ part (15th century) by a 300-foot plunging river gorge (El Tajo).  The ancient stone bridge (Puente Nuevo), which took 34 years to build, was complete in 1793, and links the two parts of the city.  The view from the bridge is amazing.

Photo Credit: https://handluggageonly.co.uk/

Ronda has archaeological roots dating back to the Neolithic Age.  Said to have been settled by early Celts somewhere around the 6th century BC, but most of the present-day city is of Roman origin from about the time of Julius Caesar.  Conquered and ruled by Islamic nations from roughly the 1st century BC to the 16th century AD, most of the city’s older edifices are mainly of Moorish architecture.   Located on the far side of the Puente Nuevo (new bridge), we visited the Convento de Santo Domingo.  Established in 1485, it was the seat of the Court of the Inquistion for many years.  Renovated several times over the years, it is said to be one of the oldest and most visited buildings in Spain.

Photo Credit: https://owaytours.com/en/ronda/convent-of-santo-domingo/

Then our group visited the ‘Plaza de Toros de Ronda’ which is advertised to be the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain.   Built in 1784 the bullring is host to the famous annual ‘Corrida Goyesce’ (bullfight) which draws thousands of bullfighting fans from the world over to the famous event.  There is also a bullfighting museum in the building.  The ‘Museo Taurino’ holds over two hundred years of famous bullfighting regalia and artifacts, including a collection of original weapons used by the Real Maestranza (circa 1686) in Spanish Wars. 

Photo Credit: https://barbaraathanassiadis.com/rondas-feria-goyesca-andalusia-spain

Our group stopped for lunch at an ‘Approved Restaurant’ there in Ronda, where we were served a delicious Spanish meal (I can’t remember what it was) as we were serenaded by musicians singing some of their favorite Spanish songs. 

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Our return trip was by a different route, and we again enjoyed the ‘Travel Log’ given to us by our Program Director.  We appreciated the knowledge he displayed while explaining points of interest, the local culture, and the people.  We passed thru the small towns of Casarabonela, El Chenil, Zalea, Cerralba, Casapalma, and Miralmonte, as we traveled thru a large portion of the Guakalhorce Valley.  Then I saw this huge bull standing on the top of a hill and thought, ‘I wonder why that bull is running free so close to the road’?  I took this photo and asked our Program Director about the bull.  He told us it wasn’t a real bull but was actually a 14-meter (45 feet) silhouette called Toro de Osborne (The Osborne bull).  The one we saw today was one of 90 bull silhouettes, placed in various outdoor locations throughout Spain.  The story we were told was that the silhouettes had started out as a ‘Brandy de Jerez’ advertisement in 1956, but over the years, has become the unofficial national symbol of Spain.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

 We saw some people riding horses off in the distance, and it was just recently that my wife, DiVoran, informed me that some of the horses we saw on our travels that day may have been Pure Spanish Andalusian Horses (PRE) which have been bred, and shown throughout the Iberian Peninsula, for many centuries.  We arrived back in Torremolinos in time to wash up for our dinner at the Cetus Restaurante there at the Bajondillo that evening.

Photo Credit: https://www.cortijoelchenilcaballos.com/

After dinner DiVoran and I took another leisurely stroll thru the quiet streets of Torremolinos to walk off that great meal and to enjoy the wonderfully pleasant evening activities of the town as it settled in for the night.  It was a cool and very relaxing stroll, and just what we needed to end an exciting day on the Costa del Sol.

Photo Credit:Bill Lites

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “Our Trip to Spain-Part 4”

  1. divoran09 April 8, 2022 at 5:09 pm #

    There is so much beauty in this story. I just love it and the pictures.

    Love,

    DiVoran

    Like

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