Back, then, from Paternoster, and back to Spain: Ronda, to be precise. Retracing our steps for the next couple of posts, to pick up on these images from our hotel rooftop before – in an upcoming post – sitting down in a small tapas bar for some foot-stomping flamenco.
As with the other pueblos blancos we visited, Ronda, with its cobbled narrow streets, its whitewashed walls, its tiled roofs, its plazas and churches, its sun-soaked vistas, lends itself both to colour photography and to black and white.
Partly it’s a matter of taste and preference; more importantly, it’s a choice of expression. These images, for instance, worked just fine in colour, but in black and white have something quite different to say to us – or to me, at least.
Ronda, perhaps the most famed and loveliest of Andalucia’s pueblos blancos, sits atop a massive cliff, rising sheer from the valley floor a hundred metres or more below. The old (read, Moorish) and new parts of the town are cleft in two by the Tajo Gorge, crossed, as I noted in my previous post, by the not-so-new, 18th century Puente Nuevo.
‘Spectacular’ is a word which has been rubbed dry of its meaning through overuse and repetition, yet it is really the only word to use of the vistas that open before and beneath you, when you gaze out from Ronda’s parapet, across a sea of rolling hills and olive groves and distant, tiny buildings, like small ships on a heaving ocean.
Puente Nuevo, the ‘new’ bridge, dates to the 18th-century and spans the 100m-deep Tajo Gorge, connecting the old and new parts of Ronda.
Ronda was a surprise: approaching up a steep hill, and entering the town through drab, less-than-interesting neighbourhoods, we wondered if we had made a mistake, booking for two nights. We checked into our hotel, headed out to explore, and immediately fell in love.
Indeed, Ronda quickly became one of our favourite towns in all of Andalucia, and we would happily have stayed for several days more.