7:00 came pretty quick on Saturday morning after a long week of work, but we were up and at em ready for our next trip to Ronda. We boarded the train at 8:30am and would be to our destination by 12:40, just in time for lunch! Trey had read in Hemingway's, Death in the Afternoon, that Ronda was one of the best places in the South of Spain and was a must see! Let me just say Hemingway did not disappoint! Side note when Trey said, we were going to Ronda I couldn't help but sing the song Help me Ronda by the Beach Boys every-time Ronda was mentioned. I must be my mothers daughte,r because my mother used to break into song when she was reminded of lyrics from a song even if it were in the most inappropriate times. It always made everyone around her laugh and still tickles me to think inherited this trait. Anyway I know this song so well because more specifically when my sister and I were children and we ask for help she would sing this very song!)
The train ride was exceptionally great with the sun shining, clear sky, and a coffee and Bailey's to get us started right. The train weaved in and out of the hills of the south and we finally reached our destination just as expected. We decided to walk to our Airbnb since it was such a gorgeous day. We walked all through Ronda's artistic and intimate little town stopping in a several little artisan stores and Spanish suvienere stops. We had made it to the center of Ronda where the famous look Puente Nuevo overlooked views you couldn't even dream up, we looked at each other laughed a little giggle smiled and instantly knew this was going to be one of our favorites of Spain.
As our excitement heightened so did our hunger. We decided to get checked into our Airbnb and ask for recommendations. Our little room was perfect clean, comfortable bed, with our own private bath, amazing light, with a million dollar view of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The best part was when Marco our Airbnb owner took us up to the roof top and explained the entire city from the terrace. He pointed out the best look out points, and gave us a great lay of the land. The view from our terrace alone was simply breathtaking! We asked for recommendations for a place to grab a bite to eat for lunch and he sent us to the best little tapas bars in town called Bar Convento. Marco gave us the keys and we were on our way.
I do have to brag a little about this conversation with Marco because 2 reasons. One it was a half an hour entirely in Spainsh and 2 Trey and I both spoke and understood 90 percent of the convo! We both have had our ups and downs with learning the language, and when you can carry a conversation with a native it is feeling of pure satisfaction. It feels so good when you can comprehend and natives can understand you! I'm not saying we are the best, in anyway shape or form, and we both have so much more to learn, however, it is rewarding and encouraging to continue when this occurs.
We walked up the street to where Marco told to have some excelente tapas muy rico(very rich or delish). It was packed but managed to get a drink and wait for a spot to open up. We were placed at the bar where we were able to have lite conversation with both the bartender and waitress. We enjoyed some of our traditional Spanish favorites like the pimentos (peppers fried in olive oil and salt) and an incredible dish of roasted asparagus with jamon and a fried egg. The last plate was a small pork roast. I was so full from the first two dishes, but of course with Trey Stone by my side I never have to worry about wasting food! My human garbage disposal was able to finish off every last morsal. I had a nice tento verano(which is similar to sangria but better) and Trey had a few beers so we both were feeling great and almost euphoric like because of the beauty and atmosphere of our surroundings. We decided to adventure out to a really good look out again suggested by Marco. We walked down away from the city into the rolling hills and towards a vineyard in the country side. I remember breathing in deeply and feeling I never wanted this feeling to end! Trey and I had conversations of past and future as we basked in the glory of the present. Once we reach la Casa de Amarillo (the yellow house) we turned to look at the view Marco admired. We knew exactly why this was one of his favorites, there we stood gazing at some of the most beautiful sites in all of Spain. The sun was beginning to set and I told Trey I wanted to do a little shopping before the stores closed and see the sunset from the highest point in Ronda. We began our treck back up to the city along the dirt road and trails that led directly to the city center. We wondered in and out of the quantity leather shops, galleries, and souvoneer stores. We enjoyed the quaintness and originality of Ronda. It was a clean, and artistic city and everywhere you turned there was an unimaginable view. After traveling and walking all day we ventured to look out point to watch the sun set and take a load off before dinner. We had made reservations at another recommended spot, however this time from one of the three amigos and dear friend Kathryn. We had some time to kill before dinner so we decided to take a look at the bull fighting arena and park. It was a beautiful evening and Trey and I enjoyed strolling through the city finding new hidden gems all along the way. We decided it was time to make our way toward the restaurant where we had made dinner reservations at Hotel Montelirio. We entered the hotel where the restaurant over looked the famous picturesk view of Puente Nuevo. We started with a bottle of cava and enjoyed yet another unforgettable meal talking about our love for this experience and country. The food was wonderful starting with soft-shell crab as an appetizer followed by local fresh veggies and a beautiful salmon plate. Since we had such a big lunch we kept it simple at dinner leaving us at a perfect full. Perfect full meaning still room for a night cap of course! We walked the streets of Ronda and the cool breeze filled the air. We visited Ronda when we did because it was a holiday weekend, and we would have some time to enjoy all it had to offer and have time to get back to Madrid to get ready for the work week. Therefore, unfortunately all of the main night life was closed. We wondered into a bar called Duende's (Trey's favorite 20 questions game if you remember form a previous blog post) and purchased a bottle of the same wine we shared at lunch. We decided to take the bottle back to our airbnb and drink it up on the terrace. We stayed up until nearly 4 in the morning talking about anything and everything. It was as if we were in state of Duende! As I write this I enjoy reflecting and remembering how special moments like that truly are. This experience has taken our relationship to another level, and I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity and time with my best friend I call my husband.
The next morning we woke up to the sun peaking through our bedroom window blinds. We showered and packed up the little things we brought with us on our over night romantic getaway. We had one last cup of coffee on the roof top terrace and said our goodbyes to yet another 10 out of 10 Airbnb. We didn't have to catch the train until 4:30pm so we set out in search of a lite brunch. The weather was gorgeous and we were feeling rather refreshed form the evening in the honeymooners paradise. We stumbled into this little garden that overlooked the vineyards and listened to the birds. We stopped there and sat for a moment to take it all in when we both realized something wasn't quite right. We both were a bit restless so we decided, there was still so much we wanted to see in town before we had lunch. We continued walking through the winding steep hills of Ronda, taking pictures and admiring all the generations of different architecture, from Roman to Islamic, to Moorish to Spanish. We went up and down and all around when we finally work up an appetite. We stopped in another little outside courtyard with views you just have to see for yourself to believe how magnificent they really are. We each had a nice wrap and several chilled cocktails to top off our feeling of love and enchantment for the sweet city of Ronda. We walked across the smaller bridge Puente Romano, and Puente Viejo as the sun grew hotter. We ducked into a very interesting museum and hunting lodge. I most definitely have never seen anything like this before and my perspective on it was much different than Trey's. It made me feel sad and I couldn't quite understand why something like this existed, don't get me wrong it was beautiful to see the animals up close and they were so life like it was haunting. I will say it is a form of art I can see is beautiful but a form of art that I may never quite understand. :That is all I have to say about that."(In my best Forest Gump accent). What to do when in a city like Ronda you say? Eat, shop, see, do! We had almost accomplished all of those however, I still had an itching for some more shopping. We made our way toward the main shopping area which fortunately was on the way back towards the train station (how convenient right?). Now we have thought about our loved ones quite a bit on this trip and what we should take back to each of them! Nothing really had struck our fancy on our journeys because we wanted it to be from Spain and not a cheesy shot glass or fan. However, Ronda had it figured out! We went into several stores collecting many little take home items for our friends and family. The other place we will be taking back things from is Toledo and Madrid of course, but Ronda had the true Southern Spanish Flair and artistic originality With many bags and walking nearly another 3 more hours we finally called it quits. We found this perfect little place to stop for a nice cool beverage before we boarded the train. We worked up yet another appetite with all that shopping, so we ordered some fun tapas as well. We hated that we had to leave and were going to enjoy every last minute we could until it was time to depart. That is just what we did until we literally had to run to the train station to ensure we were going to make our train. With a slight buzz and high from shopping, food, culture, romance, nature, and architecture we made it to our platform with 10 minutes to spare.
Ronda will always hold a very special place in both Trey and I's heart as it was one of our favorites here in the South of Spain. I know I say that on nearly every post I write and honestly when we visit the North I am sure we will say it again. BUT Ronda is a magical city full of life and we will return! Thank you Hemingway for the recommendation and thank you Ronda for memories of a life time!