Monday, 16 December 2013

Another Sojurn in Andalucia -Part Two. Ronda and Cordoba

Ronda

With four included trips during our stay in Nerja, Andalucia, (or Costa Del Sol) we hadn't anticipated wanting to take in any optional ones. However, Ronda called to us and it was a better alternative to hiring a car.
We actually first visited Ronda many, many years ago when staying further along the coast in Fuengirola. It was two bus rides and lots of winding roads up the mountains from the coast. Then we had a wonderful four days when we rode there on the Honda Gold Wing in 2001 as part of our Andalucian Adventure*
It was time to re-visit to see the gorge again. We were met by a local guide. This is normal practice in large towns of cultural interest. He was so enthusiastic and explained about the bullring before taking us around the side from where we could see over the plains - as well as a statue of a huge bull.
Walking around the side of the Parador to the distant strains of someone playing a Spanish Guitar, we all looked over the wall into the depths of the gorge below. 
Rounding the side of the Parador we came to the huge square in front of it - by the bridge. The guide was to take our party over the bridge into the old part of Ronda which goes back to Roman and Arabian times. I elected to stay behind as I wanted to wander at will and perhaps have coffee.

I found that the hotel in which we had spent our time in 2001 had changed its name. It is down a narrow street which leads from the square to the bullring. Coming back to the bridge, I noticed that the Hotel San Miguel across the road had terraces going downwards as they overlooked the gorge from the other side of the bridge. Taking the lift down, I settled down for coffee and to absorb the wonderful timeless view. Meeting my husband later, he was full of the tour and we elected to have lunch in this hotel - again on the terrace down below - and savour the atmosphere.





Cordoba

Cordoba was an extra trip which the Saga Reps organised. Being part of the 'real' Spain with so much history attached, we could not let this opportunity pass. Cordoba was occupied by the Moors in 711AD until reclaimed by the Spanish in the 13th Century. It is famous for its Mosque-Cathedral or Mexaquita as it is still known. It is actually now a Cathedral. It was too large to pull down so they built the cathedral inside.
On entering you are rendered speechless in awe at the wonderful design of arch after arch, one behind the other, going into the distance.


As we walked around we could hear the sound of an organ in the distance and a choir singing. Entering the main chapel we were fortunate to experience this at closer quarters.
Leaving the Mexaquita through the Orange Tree Courtyard, our guide - again a local guide - took us into the old Jewish quarter with its narrow streets and alleyways crammed full of shops of all description. All in all, the time there was not long enough. You need a few days and more to really explore but it was wonderful to get a flavour of this important city. After lunch in a typical tapas bar/restaurant (which had a wonderful display of richly embroidered and embellished matador outfits belonging to famous matadors) where we devoured a huge pizza each, we strolled back to our pick-up point by the side of the Rio Guadalquivir.
Stopping by the Roman Bridge we captured more photographs and reflected how the buildings in those early days have lasted all this time.
 
 
Needless to say, after an early start we slept on the journey back to Nerja!

* You can read more about Ronda and Spain in general in Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery / Andalucian Adventure. Also follow the links above.

Rosalie xx
Just Us Two
Chasing Rainbows
ORANGES: A Journey