The day began very bumpily indeed. We were up at 5 and reached the train station by 6 for the 6.45 train to Ronda which turned out ‘not’ to be a train but a bus to Santa Ana about halfway to Ronda and ‘then’ it was a train into Ronda. Caused the heart to speed up when, due to language constraints and no English signage, we have out tickets checked and are told, “No, you must take the bus first.” The positive was that we didn’t have to go to the bus station, which is located in another location.
As the train pulled into Ronda I saw that there were literally hundreds of people of all ages standing on the platform very close to the sides of the train waiting to greet me. As the automatic doors opened, I paused, raised my arms, waved, called out “Heeeeeey!” Stepped down one step, took off my hat and waved it in the air, calling out, “Viva Australia”. The crowd went into a frenzy. The noise under the station roof was deafening. The crowd parted as I stepped off the train and walked through, loaded to the hilt, all their energy and eyes
on me, all of us now shouting, them in Spanish, me in fearful gibberish as they surged to touch or get a glimpse of me. I now know how rock stars feel. I turned to see if Jane was with me. She was following, laughing like I have not seen her laugh in a long time. Finally, through the masses and to the safety of the taxi. As Jane said, “Only you, Andrew Belotti.” I reply, “Who cares. No one knows us.” (All of the above is TRUE. The crowd, however, was at the station to see their youngsters (10-14year olds) off on camp). It was all a spur-of-the-moment action. We were now really on a high.
All our heart attacks were forgotten the moment we reached Ronda and our beautiful accommodation at Hotel Polo. Definitely Number One for us … and then our walks (no one clambering to touch me), at the moment, in a small area only, around Ronda, proved to us that all that we had read and what friends had told us about Ronda was true.
Reflecting, the bus and train journey took us through beautiful countryside of kilometre upon kilometre of olive groves,
mountainous terrain, deep valleys, undulating fields and small farmsteads dotted on the landscape. It’s a pity that the photos were taken through the windows of a bus and train.
We wanted to see the most representative monument of Ronda; the ‘New Bridge’ over the Tajo. We did; from above. Whilst here, we will see it from below too. One can’t help but marvel at the awesome views from above the Tajo. The Ronda Bullring is the oldest preserved bullfighting building in the world. Even though one may not agree with bullfighting one cannot deny that it existed and played its part in the culture of the area and of Spain. The museum has been beautifully arranged and takes the uninitiated like us through the years and the clothes.
The night was also full. Dinner and then onto the “Ronda International Guitar Festival” until late. Late is beginning to be a common word in these write-ups! We were front row seats to listen to Tom Kerstens play classical and the Ian Scionti Trio perform jazz flamenco with its 3 members from USA, Spain and France. They were sensational. Passion and a deep love of their art oozed through. As
we strolled to the Polo we commented, “Last night in a cave in Granada watching flamenco; tonight in Ronda at an international guitar festival. What next?”
Oh yeah! Had our laundry done and brought a very small travelling iron. That’s lifted my self-esteem no-end!
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