Granada to Ronda
27.06.2015 - 13.07.2015 40 °C
Before I start this blog, I have to advise that there were some factual errors in day 5. I had the incorrect name of the village that fed us and the incorrect explanation of the mule measurement. This has now been rectified.
Today we had a sleep in as our tour didn’t start until 9am. We left our beautiful hotel and headed along a laneway to meet the bus. Our local guide took us through the streets of the old Jewish town, whose history dated back many centuries to the Romans, Visigoths and Muslims. He told us stories about philosophers, matadors and the Jews prior to expulsion (1492) during the Spanish inquisition.
During our walk we could hear the bells of the church, calling the people to mass. We headed towards Cathedral Cordoba. It is a historical fact that the San Vicente Basilica was destroyed during the Islamic period in order to build the subsequent mosque. Cordoba was invaded by the Islamic forces and the dominating Muslims proceeded to demolish the Church of San Vicente and began the construction of the Mosque in 785. The Christians eventually reconquered Cordoba (1236) and fortunately did not destroy the mosque. Rather, the Christian church was built inside the mosque, this work beginning in 1523. Today it is possibly the only place that Islam and Christian religions live in harmony side by side. It is a truly beautiful building that shows recycling of materials such as the columns. This has meant that there is not a uniformity of pillars in the building as they have brought these from different areas and they were made of different materials and decorations.
Lunch was very delicious. Unfortunately, Uncle Bill was not feeling well so he missed out on the delicious oxtail stewed in broth. We had lunch at Casa Palacio Bandolero Restaurant. Once lunch was over, it was back on the bus for a drive to Rondo. We had to have a break at a service station so that we didn’t arrive too early in Rondo.
The hotel in Rondo is run by the government. The room was clean and the yard was lovely. It is built atop an escarpment. Rondo is 780 metres above sea level. You might expect that it would be cool but it was extremely hot, probably close to 40 degrees even late in the afternoon. We met a guide who told us that our hotel was once the city hall and that Earnest Hemmingway’s story, For Whom the Bell Tolls, was set there up to chapter 10. (Not sure if that is correct.) Next he drew our attention to the new bridge that connects the old town to the new. He said that this bridge was once the jail for bandits etc. We walked across the bridge and looked down into the ravine. We were taken to the San Juan Bosco house so that we could get a good view looking back at the hotel. The view across the valley was spectacular. Of course, the landscape is very dry at the moment. All the buildings are whitewashed to help reduce the heat. We wandered around the old part of the town, meeting real nuns who live there. He also explained that bullfighting was carried out there with no ring. They took place in the square of the town.
Following our walk around the old town, we went to the bullring that is still used today, three times per year. We went through the small museum to hear the history and see some beautiful outfits worn by the toreadors. We were also able to walk into the centre of the ring. The bullring at Rondo is bigger than the normal ring size. Quite impressive.
Dinner was quite enjoyable and was held in the main dining room of the hotel – vegetable soup, guinea fowl and tiramisu. Following dinner, we went for a quick walk to see the lights on the bridge. It was a little cooler at 10pm!