Bridging the Gorge – Amazing Ronda, Spain

Ronda is one of the most visited destinations in Spain. The main characteristic and defining geographic attribute is the El Tajo gorge that separates the new and the old parts of Ronda.

El Tajo gorge

Well, if there is a ravine dividing a city,there is a need to connect them somehow and that is the function of impressive Puente Nuevo (New Bridge).

Puente Nuevo / New Bridge

The first time I looked over the top of the bridge and saw this view, I was stunned at how beautiful it was in the the early morning light!

El Tajo gorge

The bridge is an essential part of Ronda’s culture, allowing the newer parts of the city to easily mix with the old. It took more than forty years to build and should be seen as a marvel from many of the nearby vantage points.

The New Bridge Connecting old and new Ronda

We did not have time to walk down to the bottom of the gorge, but that too is another spectacular view of the Puente Nuevo (see the other photographs HERE)

Once across the bridge, we stopped to view an old city map created in the azulejo style of tin-glazed ceramics mounted on a building wall. The title, Viajeros Romanticos translates to Romantic Travelers.

City map made of tiles

Close up view of a city map made of tiles

We next visited the John Bosco house which was considered palatial in its day. It was bequeathed to the Order of Salesian Priests founded by Saint John Bosco and served as a retreat for that religious order. The picture below is of an interior courtyard.

Courtyard at the John Bosco House

What adds to the allure of this estate are the beautiful gardens…

Bosco house gardens

and vantage points of both east toward the mountains

The mountains from the Bosco house

and west toward the New Bridge.

The gorge from the Bosco house

The house is built on the edge of the ravine and looking straight down also provides a wonderful view of the old retaining wall.

The old retaining wall from the Bosco house

A short walk from the John Bosco house is a small park-like area with additional mountain views.

A Park in Ronda

Like most other old cities and older sections of cities, Ronda had a number of interesting streets to wander and admire. The handles on this old wooden door and metal accents give testimony to the pride Spaniards take in maintaining their heritage. Notice how the right-hand handle is broken and not replaced.

Aged wooden door with metal accents

And one of our favorite features to explore are the side streets and small plazas of these wonderful old-world cities. This is picturesque Plaza Mondragon.

old world plaza withe balconies and flowers

picturesque Plaza Mondragon

As we walked through Ronda, we visited one of the more unique churches, the Church of Our Lady of Peace.

Church of Our Lady of Peace

The most important feature is the altar of the Virgen de la Paz, the patron Saint of Ronda.

 altar of the Virgen de la Paz

 altar of the Virgen de la Paz - close up

We admired other buildings and churches as part of our walking tour including the clock tower of the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.

clock tower of the Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.

Wildflowers growing from the walls of another church added to the historic beauty of the building.

Old wall with wildflowers growing

One of the most noteworthy historical assignations for Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting sometimes referred to as the “Ronda school.” The historic context of bullfighting is lost to the ages, but it is suggested that perhaps it was a right of passage for adolescent boys before transitioning to manhood. The absolute derivation will never be known.

Pedro Romero, a Ronda native, hailed from a line of innovative bullfighters, but he was the one matador who raised the ritual to an artistic form and thus is given the distinction of the Father of Modern Bullfighting. Read more about it HERE

Statue of a Bull outside the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Plaza de Toros de Ronda is a world famous bullfighting ring which is not in regular use anymore. It is a beautiful structure to behold.

the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Standing in the middle of the arena, one gathers a sense of the scope and popularity of this Spanish tradition.

the Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Some youngsters could not resist reenacting the contest between man and beast.

Youngsters acting out a bullfight

This was our last stop in Ronda this morning before having lunch and heading to our next destination. It surely is a town that deserves more time and perhaps one day we shall return to explore further.

One last look back at the El Tajo gorge of Ronda!

One last photo of Ronda's beautiful gorge



Continue reading about our trip to Portugal and Spain.


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A Very Different Pointe of View – Septuagenarian Style

So what did you did you do this weekend? While this isn’t my actual birthday, life circumstances sometimes dictate the postponement of celebrations or, as in this case, the fast-forwarding to a special occasion.

It was with the greatest of ease that I slid from being a sexagenarian to that of a septuagenarian although the former did have a certain ring to it! It was almost painless and was less troublesome than I had thought a number years earlier.

My very best special friends of more than fifty years feted us in grand style. As a surprise, we were escorted to quite a dinner at the award winning Different Pointe of View restaurant nestled high into the hills overlooking downtown and north Phoenix.

This is the blurb from Hilton’s website:

“The award-winning Different Pointe of View offers modern American Cuisine and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.”

Sad to say I only had my iPhone, but I was able to gather a few representative pictures anyway and I hope they impart the beauty and elegance of the surroundings. The food was excellent as well and I will talk a bit about that too.

Here is the first photo I took looking north from the parking lot near the main entrance to the restaurant.


View looking North from The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix

This is another picture in the same basic direction; perhaps a bit more westerly. It had rained the day before and the clouds still maintained some of their drama.

View looking North westerly from The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix

Facing south, we can see the hills that surround the valley including South Mountain.

View looking South from The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix

As a frame of reference, I placed an oval around the downtown area of Phoenix.

View looking South from The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, with the city highlighted Phoenix

From the balcony of the restaurant, looking southeasterly, there were more mountains and houses off to the side of the hill. The sky was a beautiful color blue.

View looking South easterly from The Different Pointe of View Restaurant's balcony, Phoenix, AZ

Needless to say the food was superb as well. This is the entrée that I had:

The Pork Tenderloin entrée at The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ
Picture courtesy of Hilton’s website.

The tenderloin was “spicy,” but not overly so. Those more gringo however, might want to focus on other offerings. Several of our friends had the short ribs which were reported to be outstanding. The bread service was unique in offering several toppings for the bread varieties. Everything was as it should have been; very good!

The view was equally stunning at night with the city lights, the lights of the cars and streetlamps adding to the romantic aura.

An evening view from The Different Pointe of View Restaurant's balcony, Phoenix, AZ

The patio was superbly landscape inviting diners to walk into the various outdoor “rooms” and nooks and crannies that abound.

The Different Pointe of View's beautifully landscaped balcony area, Phoenix, AZ

This picture shows the interior of the restaurant (left) with the door to the outside open (right) which melded the indoor and outdoor experience for total enjoyment.

An indoor/outdoor split view from The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ

The hibiscus (below) and greenery were presented with dramatic flare!

A pretty, red hibiscus on the balcony at The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ

Naturally one would not expect the ordinary outdoor lamps at a Different Pointe of View.

Decorative outdoor lamps at The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ


Decorative outdoor lamps (closeup) at The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ

The base of the lamp, with the associated shadows, also served in their role as a catchy design element.

Decorative outdoor lamp base (closeup) at The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ

While we had a lovely, well-paced birthday celebration, it was one those events that we would hope to prolong as much as possible, but alas the evening had to draw to a close. We made our way to the elevator where a spiraling staircase allowed some guests to descend at their own pace.

The spirial staircase at The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ

As we awaited the arrival of the car, we enjoyed the serenity of the fountains and started to fashion the memories of the evening just passed.

The tranquil fountains at The Different Pointe of View Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ

Thank you to my best friend and college roommate and his lovely wife (L & M), as well as our other very good friends Terry & Lora for making this a most memorable evening. Every time I drive by, I will certainly have a different “pointe of view.” originally published this post

See previous Life in the Desert entries HERE