A Day in Ronda: Puente Nuevo, pickpockets and paella

 

Transport: Bus from Marbella Bus Station to Ronda (1h20m approx.)

Price: € 12 return

As you may have read in my last post, I didn’t find a great deal of interest in Marbella itself and so it became necessary to plan a couple of day trips during the holiday.

Upon arrival, we followed all of the signs from the bus station for the tourist office, which led us to the city centre (20 minute walk). The first place we stumbled upon was the Plaza de Toros (the bull ring), but before going in we wanted to take a little tour of the city.

There were train and walking tours available but we decided to take a horse and carriage instead. This was almost unbelievably cheap at €25 per carriage (seating 4 people each) and it was a fantastic way to see the sights. It  felt like the streets were built for this mode of travel alone, as we squeezed through tiny roads, nearly scraping the buildings on either side.

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The tour lasted for around half an hour, going through the town, over Puente Nuevo, past famous hotels, the town hall and the Arab baths. Our guide let us stop a couple of times to take photos and provided a bit of commentary on the way round. Once it was finished, we bought tickets to the Plaza de Toros (€7).

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Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Whether you agree with it or not, bullfighting is still legal in many countries (including parts of Spain). It embodies a rich history and tradition and is still considered a national sport – especially in Andalusia.

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The Plaza de Toros is the oldest bullring in Spain, having been  built in the 18th Century, and now houses a museum dedicated to the history of the sport. It has even become famed in popular culture after being featured in Madonna’s video ‘Take a Bow’ featuring real life bullfighter, Emilio Muñoz .

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At lunch time, we found ourselves in a cute little café called El Puente, which was serving paella. This was a bit of a tourist trap, so the paella was not as well presented or as authentic as the dish I later ate in Marbella, but there are plenty of places to eat in the main square so you won’t find it hard to fill your tummies!

After lunch, we walked over to Puente Nuevo, a magnificent bridge built over a chasm splitting the city into two. This bridge was built in the 1700s and stories suggest that during the Spanish civil war, both the Nationalists and the Republicans used to throw their enemies off it. Further on, there is a walkway called El Tajo where you can look out at the bridge on one side and the panoramic views of the valley on the other.

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With my eyes focused on the view and my ears full of melodic Spanish guitar, I almost didn’t notice the fact that an attempted robbery was taking place behind me.

I felt my backpack unzipping and turned around to find a couple attempting to pickpocket me. When I threw them some serious shade, they pretended to be tourists admiring the view and began to walk away. I obviously had vigilante justice on my mind, so I stalked them back to Puente Nuevo loudly stating, “MIND YOUR BAGS LADIES AND GENTS, THERE ARE THIEVES ON THE LOOSE” (which they didn’t understand).

Unfortunately there were no police around so all I could do was shoo them away like pigeons. I’m only including this to highlight a safety point (and because it was dramatic AF); as with any tourist destination, you need to keep an eye on your personal belongings! The rest of the day was spent recovering from this violation, with ice creams and photos in a beautiful park called Alameda de Tajo.

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Panoramic views from El Tajo

I would definitely recommend making this trip if you’re staying in Marbella or somewhere close by; it was a cheap day out, fairly quick and easy to get to and a nice change from the resort scene.

Watch out for the final part of my Spanish series coming soon – Cordoba!

Thanks for reading,

~Plane Emoji

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