Ronda and Marbella

Ronda and Marbella – May 23, 2017

After a large breakfast, we were off for the two hour drive to Ronda, one of the oldest cities in Spain and the location of Spain’s oldest bull ring, built in the 1,700’s. However, Ronda is noted for a two significant things. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles lived here and Hemingway’s novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, was filmed here. Both Hemingway and Welles started as war journalists and shared a love of bull fighting, drink and women.

The other item of note is that the city is built on both sides of a chasm that is 3,000′ deep. The bridge, called the “new” bridge, 400 years old, was built over the old one, built by the Romans. It is a feat of engineering.

The gardens in town are lovely and, as you can see, there are many buildings overlooking the canyon, mostly painted all white. We found a shady table by a small park and had a tapas lunch with a beer for Jim and a tinto verano for me. Better than sangria with all the fruit, this drink consists of red wine, lemonade, lots of ice and slices of citrus. It is very refreshing and you can easily have a couple without feeling the effects. It is sure to become a favorite once we return home, too.

We navigated through the mountains to Marbella, in the coast of the Mediterranean. The central area, with its marina, is the most elegant in all of Spain. On the road down, we saw several gated and very secure communities with massive homes looking out on specular views. They are owned by the wealthiest of the wealthy, mainly from Europe and the Middle East. Marbella is now the primary destination for boating, beach time and fun-loving monied folks have forsaken San Tropez and Cannes to come here. These folks are at the top of the one percent! The yachts are splendid, as are the shops. Just to let you know, I have been saving my pennies and have my own yacht docked here. Check out the picture of the “Helena,” along with a picture of my Bentley and chauffeur!

Finally, back to the hotel, where we had an excellent buffet dinner with many choices. This hotel, part of the Barceló chain, overlooks a beautiful golf course, with nary a soul playing. We saw many courses that were totally empty. Maybe they golf in the morning. Will have to check it out as we depart tomorrow.

As an aside, changing hotels daily is not the most fun, I must say. There are definite advantages to having a base, unpacking and enjoying the place you are in. I guess that is why so many people like cruises.

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