Ronda – a Small Town with a BIG Bridge

ronda-2154601_1280

Photos by Pixabay

A Spectacular Sight

Puente Nuevo bridge is one of Spain’s most photographed sights, and after visiting there on our tour of Spain, it’s not hard to see why.  This medieval masterpiece towers 390 feet above the canyon floor. It’s an amazing feat of engineering made even more so by the primitive tools available at the time. Construction began in 1759 and took 34 years to complete.

A Bridge Too Far

The first attempt at building this bridge was in 1735. It had only one arch, was poorly constructed, and was thrown together in just 8 months. In 1741 it collapsed killing 50 people. The architects Jose Garcia and Juan Camacho, were no doubt out of business after this debacle.

The current bridge was built with longevity and safety in mind. With three upper arches and a lower-middle arch, this structure has stood the test of time.

The Puente Nuevo crosses the Guadalevin River, which flows down a deep gorge. This gorge effectively splits the city of Ronda in half, and while this was a great deterrent to enemy armies, it made it nearly impossible for citizens to get from one side to the other.  Completion of the bridge must have been a godsend to the inhabitants of the town.

A Gruesome Past

ronda prison
While Puente Neuva bridge is a glorious edifice, it has a dark side. The square chamber located in the middle of the bridge was once used to house prisoners. Understandably, few if any escaped.

Another grim chapter in the bridge’s history was during the Spanish Civil War, 1936 – 1939. At this time the prison was used as a torture chamber and captured opponents were tossed off the bridge to a watery grave below – very far below.

ronda-965305__340

Today Ronda is a sublime and peaceful place. It is reached by a steep road which winds through olive and lemon orchards and past gorgeous old homes. Seeing Puente Neuvo is an unforgettable experience, so if you’re ever in  Malaga make sure and include Ronda in your travel plans.

Have you been to Spain? What was your favorite destination? I’d love to hear from you –

For other great bridges see Calmkate’s Friday Fun.

For more of Library Lady’s travels in Spain see “The Mysterious Caves of Drach“.

Valldemossa Monastery

valdemossa-2727394__340

Valdemossa Monastery – Picture by Pixabay.

What’s more fascinating than an ancient monastery? Ghostly footsteps echo in the halls and vestiges of mystery and intrigue waft through ancient corridors.
                                                        (Name of the Rose, anyone?)

name of rose

One of my all-time favorite monasteries is Clon Mcnoise in Ireland, but today we were visiting the village of Valldemossa on the Spanish island of Mallorca.  The monastery was originally a royal palace but became home to a group of Carthusian monks in 1399. It’s known for its picturesque bell tower and gothic charm.

As we rounded the corner and the monastery came into view, I tried not to melt into a scenery induced puddle. (I’ve been told I’m an overly excitable tourist, but what’s the point of traveling if you’re not blown away by the sights you see?!)

The first glimpse of this ancient edifice was like something out of a movie set. Perched on a hill, the tower dwarfed the surrounding buildings, its white stone walls glowing in the morning sun. This was definitely my kind of place.

View of the village from Valldemossa’s heights.

village

Cobblestones and rock walls. Photo by Pixabay

We followed a  winding road up into the hills and enjoyed the views of the local neighborhoods.  Upon arrival, we purchased tickets to tour the monastery for 8.50 Euros. Continue reading

Doors of Spain

Spain was never on my bucket list, but it should have been. I recently spent 10 days there and have at least that many stories to tell.  My husband and I love traveling, but my favorite part is coming home and writing about all our adventures.
Midevil yet modern, Spain is a country that percolates with positive energy – think  Flamenco dancing and Spanish guitar, yet it’s steeped in ancient and often controversial traditions like bullfighting.
We visited Madrid, Malaga, and the island of Mallorca (Majorca). We ate suckling pig at the oldest restaurant in the world, saw a medieval pharmacy at Valdemossa Monastery, and gaped at the magnificent bridge in Rondo. So much to talk about, but first . . . the doors!
SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA
I spotted this Spanish jewel in Madrid. What would it feel like to walk through this door every day? Who lives here and what are they like? Doors make me wonder what goes on behind them.
As for this one, notice the lovely ironwork on the top and the mailbox on the left. This is not actually the door into the house, but into the courtyard which leads to the house.
In addition to this wonderful door, the roughed up surface surrounding it has a look that many people with new homes pay big bucks to achieve. Chip and Joanna Gaines are you seeing this?

 

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s another residential beauty, I’ll call it Blue 22. Similar to the first, with the look of the middle ages, this has a nameplate which I could probably read if I enlarged the picture. Wait, I’ll do just that and now you can see it too. The name is still a little blurry, but the title says Notary Public, so this may be a home or a home office. Hmm . . . while this door is admirable – well-worn and rustic, if this is a business entrance it could use a spit shine. Continue reading

Doors of Tangier

20181002_110743I’ve always thought my passion for old doors was a little weird, an odd personality quirk best not discussed in polite company. I’ve gotten used to it over the years, and so have my friends. “Wait,” they say screeching to an exaggerated halt. “Geanie’s taking another picture of a door.”

I love doors. Unusual doors, battered doors, doors that look like they’ve been around since the beginning of time.

An open door is an invitation into someone’s home, their life, and their story. A closed door is the opposite, but I find them equally intriguing especially in an exotic place like Tangier.

We’d signed up for a last-minute day trip from Malaga Spain to Tangier Morocco. I hadn’t had time to do my research so didn’t know what to expect. I was in for a nice surprise.

Continue reading

Questionable Food?

images

I am a voice in the wilderness, a lonely tree falling in the forest, a distant bell tolling in the wind – oh, sorry, I got a little carried away. What I  meant to say is this: I am one of the few people I know who will admit to liking airplane food. There I said it.

Just look at that picture. What’s not to like? I wish the food that came out of my kitchen looked half as good. To be perfectly honest, since my kids are mostly gone, I rarely even cook anymore and if someone wants to hand me a plate of attractively presented, yummy, hot food, that’s usually O.K. by me.

But on our last plane excursion, there was a bit of a hitch.

My husband and I were traveling to Norway, and it was approximately Three A.M. my time –  heaven only knows what time it was by the airplane clock, but it was dark and everyone else was asleep. Since I have yet to master the art of sleeping on a plane, I’d been sitting for hours, reading, knitting, and doing crossword puzzles until my eyeballs were fried.  Out of the darkness loomed a stewardess who handed me a tray, presumably breakfast, and I mindlessly began to consume the pocket bread sandwich thing which was offered.  As I slowly came to my senses, I turned to my husband who was looking at me.

“What is this?” he said, mid chew.

I consider what I’m swallowing. “I don’t know.”  I scrabble through the litter on the floor and come up with the wrapper. “It says, Cheese Salad – shredded cheese mixed with mayonnaise and onions.”

We exchange a dubious look and threw away the remains of our sandwiches. Have you ever eaten something where the taste just won’t go away, no matter how much gum you chew? This was one of those times.

After disembarking and meeting up with our friends who were also on the flight, we began to compare notes.

“Did you eat that sandwich thing they brought us?” said my friend.

“Kind of,” I replied, ” It was gross.”

“I know, cheese salad.  Eeeew.”

I still like airplane food but,  wiser now, I carefully examine all offerings before eating.  Cheese salad, it’s out there.  Beware.

Do you love airplane food, or am I the only one?

Travel Blunders

Uber Blunder

alhambra 2

It was September 2018.  My husband and I were looking forward to a dream trip to Spain but we almost missed our flight. Here’s why:
We’d decided to be cool and trendy and book an Uber for the drive to the airport. This was a new experience for us, as we’d previously relied on kids, or friends and neighbors for transport, but this time we had to leave at 5:00 A.M. and hated to bother anyone.
uber photo“Uber’s a great idea.” said our kids.  “Here – we’ll help you set it up.”
After a group effort, (John and I require help with this kind of thing) we were able to download the app and even schedule an early morning ride. We felt very high-tech.
Fast forward to the day before our departure. My husband was chatting with our good friend and across-the-street neighbor, Paul. When he found out we were paying someone to take us to the airport, he said, “You should have asked me.  I’d take you.”
“No no,” my husband assured him. “It’s all set up. We’re good.”

moonlight

The next morning we sat outside waiting for our ride. It was cold and dark and very lonely. 5:00 A.M. came and went with no sight of an Uber. Concerned, John double-checked the reservation and to our horror, we discovered our ride was scheduled for 5 P.M.!
Continue reading

Adventures in Oregon

 I live in Oregon, Oregon’s my home. I love the trees the hills,
the places I have roamed . . .
    Song by Black Hawk County                                                                

20190627_160443-effects

I’ve never stopped missing Oregon. My husband and I who hail from Portland, have just returned from our annual pilgrimage there to visit friends and family. John and I are both from NE Portland and love to spend time revisiting our former haunts. It’s always fun to wander the halls of the old schools – Madison Hgh, Clackamas, and Jason Lee Elementary – which played such a huge part in our lives at the time but now seem tiny and insignificant. Old neighborhoods are familiar yet different, not to mention the weirdness of driving past childhood homes now occupied by strangers.
Continue reading

The Mysterious Caves of Drach

 

I was sitting in a cave. It was dark and quiet except for the murmur of lake water lapping against the shore.  Limestone stalactites dripped from the ceiling in fantastic shapes, and a slight breeze stirred the humid air. So far this had been a travel experience I wouldn’t soon forget . . .

Published on My Itchy Travel Feet. For the rest of this Library Lady article click here.

 

Women Dancing!

orange-2564647__340

Pictures by PIXABAY

What brings people of different cultures together? How does a roomful of strangers from countries as diverse as India, England, Ghana, Spain, and the US form a bond? Would your first guess be women dancing? Not mine, but let me tell you why it’s true.

 

 ferry-boat-123059__340

I recently had the opportunity to go on an international cruise and was fascinated by the variety of dress, language, and culture on board. I’ve always been a people person, but while I love making new friends, I’m a little hesitant to reach out when the cultural differences are so strong. Thanks to the language barrier, conversation isn’t always an option and you never know how this person with completely different life experiences might react to your overtures of friendship. So I continued to enjoy the diversity from afar.
Continue reading

Spain – Lovely Palma De Mallorca

20180927_125306

Published on My Itchy Travel Feet

Seeing the three major sites of Palma de Mallorca in one day is like trying to sample all 20 flavors at the gelato stand – a bit of a challenge, but we did it and so can you. Read about our amazing day at My Itchy Travel Feet.