Posts Tagged ‘ronda’

To Ronda and Beyond on our ‘Tapas Tour’

April 25th, 2008 at 5:38 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

After enjoying our repast of Iberian ham and cheese from the supermarket as our breakfast we said goodbye to Peter and Nice, and posed for a Bonaire Reporter ‘shot’ (holding up a copy of the bi-monthly Bonaire Reporter newspaper in an exotic locale) to send back home to Bonaire. The Lensvelts were great hosts and we regret only having been able to spend two nights at their place. However, as Peter so eloquently put it, we are on a ‘Tapas Tour’ – one where we taste a little bit of each place to see where we might like to revisit in the future. I see it as a sort of self-designed ‘tasting menu’ myself.

We headed out through Alozaina in The Beast, along twisty turning narrow roads high above deadly precipices (no joke), surviving the trip along route A-366 with nary a scratch but a lot more adrenaline in our systems. The scenery was gorgeous – changing from hilly and verdant to mountainous and stark and then back again. The most curious thing we saw along the way was a flock of vultures on the ground in a field – probably about 30 of them, hopping about (they don’t walk, they hop). Alas we were not quick enough with the camera.

We also learned – actually, we confirmed – that our GPS has a sense of humor. We have it set for fastest driving time mode, and somehow it has determined, incorrectly, that this means the most direct route should be chosen. Yesterday we found ourselves in a maze of narrow streets in La Linie near Gibraltar that The Beast barely made it through, and today the GPS took us up a thousand year old footpath the back way into Ronda. We managed to avoid damaging any tourists or The Beast along the way, but it was a very close thing.

Amusingly, we later saw several other GPS users coming up the same way. Someone at Garmin sure has a strange sense of humor.

Ronda was beautiful, with an ancient bridge rising hundreds of feet above a water filled gorge still in active use today (we drove over it in The Beast and walked over it a couple of times too).

After locating a parking facility – and let me tell you, parking in old cities and villages, especially with something as large as The Beast, is miserable – we made our way to the Bull Fighting Arena (see photo above), which serves as a museum when there’s not a bull fight going on. The kids were not wild about the idea at first, but I think they gradually came to understand the cultural, and dare I say artistic, roots that make up Spanish bull fighting. They are understandably still perturbed by the thought of killing a bull for entertainment, but also understand it’s not nearly as simplistic as it seems. In a way, it’s a performance and show, where almost always the bull dies, but not before making a stand of his own (and yes, a matador has actually been killed by the bull in Ronda, but it was a long tim ago – and matadors do get hurt too, although the odds are weighed pretty heavily against the bull, of course).

We then had lunch (the kids had a mixel grill with beef, ironically) at a posh restaurant outside the Arena, and went on to spend several more hours exploring Ronda’s history and quaint streets.

By 7pm we were on our way to Seville, dropped our rental car off at the train station – Good riddance to The Beast!, and took a taxi to our hotel.

Our plan for tomorrow is unclear for the most part. We are booked to see an authentic Flamenco show in the evening (with Tapas), and may go visit the Alcazar – a Moorish castle across the street from our hotel. But most importantly, we are going to try and sleep in!

 

Our Next Trip… Spain, Morocco, Portugal, England, France

April 13th, 2008 at 8:48 am (AST) by Jake Richter

We’re now in the final throes of getting ready for the next expedition of The Traveling Richters. We depart Bonaire on Friday, April 18th on a five week journey which will take us to Spain and then Morocco.

We start in Spain in Barcelona for several days (which including meeting up with our friend Martin and his father), then fly to Granada to see the Alhambra. We then rent a car, drive south to the mountains of Andalusia to stay at villas managed by Peter, an old friend from Bonaire. We’ll use his place as a base to visit Gibraltar for a day, and then when we leave, go via Ronda to then spend several days in Sevilla before flying south.

In Morocco we join up with a group as part of a Lindblad Expeditions tour which includes academic lectures on culture, history, and sociology, as well as hands on work with a National Geographic photographer.

After a few days in Marrakech and the Atlas mountains visiting with Berber tribes, we board the National Geographic Endeavour in Safi, visit Kenitra and some historical sites there, and then head up to spend three days learning about Portugal (including the making of port wine) and then visit the largest and most revered cathedral and third most visited Christian pilgrimage site at Santiago de Compostella.

Then, after a couple of days at sea, we will go to Mont St. Michel off the northern coast of France, then Sark in the Channel Islands the next day, before finally arriving in England. After a private tour with the curator of the HMS Victory, we spend three days in London. On the night of May 13th, we take part in a BonaireTalk mini-meet in Surrey – if you’re in the London area that night and want to join us, drop a note on BonaireTalk.

On May 15th, courtesy of the TGV high speed train and the Chunnel, we head to Paris to finish off our trip with non-stop tours of museums, galleries, and restaurants. Our friends Martin and Angela will join us over the weekend we’re there as well.

And, assuming flights all work out, we’ll be back home sometime on May 23rd!

The itinerary, by date, is here.