Tag Archives: Ernest Hemingway

Travels in Spain – Ernest Hemingway’s Madrid

Madrid Wine

“When you get to know it (Madrid), it is the most Spanish of all cities, the best to live in, the finest people, month in and month out the finest climate” – Ernest Hemingway

A nice quote but I am not so sure that even Hemingway was qualified to make this judgment.  Outside of Madrid he visited Pamplona in Navarre and Malaga and Ronda in Andalusia in pursuit of the bullfight but that seems to be about it.  He might have visited Segovia and Toledo near Madrid but this is not certain.  I have visited more cities in Spain than Ernest Hemingway but there again he didn’t have the benefit of cheap Ryanair flights.

Hemingway in Spain

After the unpleasant experience of the bocadillo de calamares and with the taste difficult to shift even with a beer mouthwash we quickly left the restaurant and returned to the streets and from the Plaza de la Puerto Del Sol walked south east towards Atocha train station because we wanted to check the timetable for an intended visit the following day to the nearby city of Segovia.

Well, that was a waste of time.  The man at the information desk had even less of a grasp of English than I have Spanish,  which to be fair is restricted to ordering beer and wine, but we did somehow manage to understand that trains to Segovia do not leave from Atocha but from an alternative station on the opposite side of the city.  He gave us some instructions on how to get there but it was an awful long way away and we had no intention of trying to walk there right now so it would have to wait.

Instead, we walked now to the Parque de el Retiro, which is a huge public park full of tall deciduous trees in their full spring glory and with paths that meandered meaninglessly below them deep in the shadows which gave welcome relief from the burning sun.  It used to be a Royal park reserved for the exclusive use of the King and his pals but it now belongs to the city so any riff-raff can go in and along with half of Madrid it would have been possible to spend an entire day in there alone.

Madrid Cortez

We wandered aimlessly past the monument to Alfonso XII adjacent to a large lake and the Palacio de Velasquez and then to the Palacio de Cristal, a sort of giant greenhouse modelled on the original Crystal Palace in London and open today and host to an unusual sculpture exhibition which I must say made little sense to me but then I also confess that I am the original Philistine when it comes to anything to do with art.

Unless there is nudity involved…

Madrid nude 2

Next to the Park is the World famous art museum  Del Prado where there is an entrance fee during the day but free admission after six o’clock for poor people to enjoy the last two hours of the day so we thought we might wait for that and anyway we were hungry so looked for a bar that might serve a dish of tapas or two with a drink.

If we had been able to afford it we might have gone to Restaurante Botín, open since 1725 on a tiny street behind Plaza Mayor which claims to be the oldest restaurant in the world. It is said that it was a favourite of Ernest Hemingway who regularly dined on the house speciality of roast suckling pig washed down with at least four bottles of Rioja.  Only four?  The front window displays an photograph of the writer and a quote from “The Sun Also Rises” that mentions the restaurant.

The owners of a nearby establishment playfully display a large sign above the door that boasts “HEMINGWAY NEVER ATE HERE.”

Madrid Oldest Restaurant

According to legend, the tapas tradition began when the King of Castile Alfonso the Wise visited a tavern near Cádiz and ordered a glass of sherry. There was a gusty wind, so the innkeeper served him his glass of sherry covered by a slice of ham to prevent the sherry from getting dirty. The King liked it, and when he asked for a second glass he requested another tapa or ‘cover’ just like the first.

We found a bar that suited our budget and just like the king ordered a drink that was served with tapas and then, also like the King, we ordered a second.

Spain Tapas

So now we wandered back towards the city centre along a street of grand Government buildings, including the Congress of Deputies and back to Plaza de la Puerto Del Sol where we had started our first day in Madrid several hours earlier.  There was time for a quick drink at a pavement bar before Richard and I retraced our footsteps back to the Del Prado while the girls chose instead to go the department store El Corte Inglés. Culture is different things to different people and I no longer challenge that.

The free entry at six is so popular that it means that realistically if you want to get in with time to spare it is necessary to start queuing at five and when we arrived just before there was already a long line several yards long and we were a long way back from the entrance next to a grand statue of the painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez where we stood now and waited for fifty minutes or so.

This is the thirteenth most visited art gallery in Europe, first is the Louvre in Paris, second the Vatican Museum in Rome and third the Tate Modern in London.

I began to get concerned about how long it would take to get inside and worried that there might not be enough time to see all around the inside of the museum but at about six the line started to shuffle slowly forward at a pace as though people had shoe laces tied together but at about twenty past six we were inside.

Velasquez 01

I don’t really know what I was worrying about because to be honest I was completely bored with it all after about half an hour.  I enjoyed the exhibition of Goya paintings but after that everything was so samey. Let’s be honest there are only so many pictures of the crucifixion that you want to see or two hundred year old paintings of Charles III and the royal family so after only an hour or so I was happy to leave.  I told you that I am a Philistine.

In the early evening Richard was determined to eat at a restaurant recommended by this morning’s tour guide but was quite unable to follow the directions to get there.  We wandered aimlessly about for well over an hour or so before chancing across it and to Richard’s disappointment discovering it to be fully booked all evening.  We found an alternative place nearby and enjoyed a very nice substitute meal.

We planned to eat early, but ate late and like Hemingway stayed out longer than we had anticipated.  We finished our evening at the pavement bar directly outside of our hotel.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

Travels in Spain, A Walking Tour of Madrid

Madrid Bear

“To go to bed at night in Madrid marks you as a little queer. For a long time your friends will be a little uncomfortable about it. Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the night.” – Ernest Hemingway

According to official statistics, after London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona, Madrid is the fifth most visited city in Europe (in that order) but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Compared to London, Paris and Rome it only achieved capital status relatively recently, and there is no iconic building to define it, no Eiffel Tower, no Colosseum and no Westminster Abbey and no famous cathedral or castle either so I was curious about what we were likely to see.  Hemingway liked it so I was sure that I would too.

On the first day we could have taken the option of a city bus tour but I really do dislike them with most of the time spent in long lines of slow moving traffic or at red lights with nothing much to see and then flashing past places of interest with only a split second photo opportunity, so on our first day we decided to take a ‘free’ walking tour of the city.  I knew that it wouldn’t be ‘free’ of course but everyone else seemed to think that it was a good idea.

We joined the tour in the appropriately named Plaza de la Puerto Del Sol because the sun was blazing and in this wide open space the rays reflected off the buildings and the paving slabs and the temperature was rising steadily as we walked past the statues of King Charles III and the Bear and the Madroño tree, which we learned is the heraldic symbol of the city (top picture).

Madrid 04

Interesting I thought as only a month previously I had been in the city of Berlin which also has a bear as a city symbol and I was also reminded now that as a boy I grew up in Warwickshire which has a County symbol of a Bear and an Old Rugged Staff.  I expect lots of towns and cities adopt the bear as their symbol.  In the USA California has one on its flag and the bear is of course the symbol of the country of Russia.

This Berlin…

I Love Berlin Bear

This is my old Boy Scout badge Warwickshire Bear …

Warwickshire Bear

There have been no wild bears in England since William Shakespeare was a lad and none in Germany for nearly two hundred years but there are still some in Spain in Cantabria and Asturias in the north of the country.

The Plaza is the very centre of Madrid and the hub of the radial network of the city’s roads and from here we walked a few streets to the Plaza Mayor.

The Plaza Mayor is the original city square, impressive but not the largest in Spain because that honour belongs to Salamanca in Castilla y Leon.  In the centre stands a grand statue of King Philip III and this place has previously been a market, a bull ring and a place of gruesome public executions but now it is a large cobbled pedestrianised area, grand buildings, temporary exhibitions and pavement cafés all around the sides. We stayed for a while and then left to continue our tour.

The route weaved its way eastwards, stopping every so often to explain points of interest, a Flamenco Bar (where tickets were available for later) the oldest restaurant in the World (where tables were available for later) an expensive indoor market (where tables were available immediately) and a fast food place selling calamari sandwich which the guide explained is a popular lunch time snack in Madrid.

Madrid Calamari Sandwich

The tour took us as far as the Palacio Real de Madrid, which with an area of one hundred and thirty-five square metres and over three thousand rooms is the biggest Palace in Europe and more than twice as big as Buckingham Palace in London.  It is larger even than Versailles in France (sorry Versailles). It is the official residence of the King of Spain but he doesn’t live there, probably because it must be a bugger to heat in the winter and it is only used for official State Ceremonies.  King Felipe VI and the Royal Family choose to live instead in the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid.

We decided that we would come back to the Palace later when the tour was finished.

We walked around the outside of the white stone Palace and admired the views over the royal gardens and then visited the adjacent Plaza de Orient a spacious and well laid out pedestrian area with an extravagant fountain and equestrian statue of Philip IV surrounded by immaculate gardens and lines of ugly face statues of former Kings celebrating the period of the Reconquesta.

The walking tour finished close by with a selling pitch for more tours and a fee, I just knew that it wouldn’t be ‘free’ but to be fair it had been very good and we enjoyed it and we happily handed over a contribution to the guide.

It was time for lunch so we thought it might be a good idea to sit in the Plaza Mayor but when we arrived there the prices were higher than we generally like to pay so we abandoned this idea and returned to the Plaza de la Puerto Del Sol and looked for a tapas bar.  We selected one in a side street and instead of tapas all decided that we should try the calamari sandwich which I personally hoped might be similar to a nice fish-finger sandwich.  When it came it wasn’t and we wished we hadn’t so we washed it down with a beer and returned to the streets.  It was so bad that I can honestly say that I would have rather had a McDonalds Filet-O-Fish!

Filet O Fish

Or, even better, an English Fish Finger sandwich…

Fish finger sandwich

What would you choose, Calamari Baguette, McDonalds Filet-O-Fish or a Fish Finger Sandwich?

Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…

Some time ago I wrote a post about my favourite Plaza Mayors in Spain.  You can read that post here.

Travels in Spain – Andalucía, Ronda and the Puente Nuevo

New Bridge Ronda

“We sighted Ronda. It was raised up in the mountains, like a natural extension of the landscape, and in the sunlight it seemed to me to be the most beautiful city in the world.” –  José Agustín Goytisolo

Ronda  is one of the pueblos blancos (white towns) so-called because it is whitewashed in the old Moorish tradition and sits like a wedding cake on the surrounding ragged countryside.  It also happens to be one of the most spectacularly located towns in Andalucía sitting on a massive rocky outcrop straddling a precipitous limestone cleft in the mountains.

Ronda is most famous for a one hundred and thirty metre high bridge, the Puente Nuevo, whose name means ‘new bridge’ and which spans a dramatic gorge that divides the city in two.

Ronda Bridge Painting

To put that into some sort of perspective it is the height of thirty London double-decker buses, seven times higher than the Presidents’ faces at Mount Rushmoor, four times higher than the Aqueduct of Segovia, two and half times higher than Niagara Falls and more or less the same height as the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The bridge was begun in 1751 and took forty-two years to complete.  It is supposedly one of the most photographed structures in Spain and often quoted as one of the top places to see in Europe and lots of people must have taken that recommendation literally because this afternoon the town was swarming with day-trippers from Seville and the Costa del Sol.

We crossed the bridge and looked out over the sprawling patchwork landscape of burnt brown, cream, beige and copper coloured fields that spilled out across the flat valley plain punctuated with terraces of irrigated green, a meandering river far below, swollen by recent rain and a dramatic grey sky full of heavy cloud and pregnant stormy menace.

Ronda Andalusia

The author Ernest Hemingway and actor and film director Orson Welles both lived in Ronda at some point in their lives (it seems that they lived almost everywhere) and both wrote warmly about the place.  Hemingway’s novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ describes the murder of five hundred fascist Nationalist sympathisers early in the Spanish Civil War by being thrown from the cliffs of El Tajo and into the Rio Guadalquivir by the Republican forces.

Or possibly vice versa, I have never read the book so am not absolutely sure and neither are the historical accounts because even after seventy-five years both sides continue to accuse each other of the grisly crime but those who lost their lives are in some small way poetically remembered by Orson Welles who said – “A man does not belong to the place where he was born, but where he chooses to die”

We walked over the bridge and admired the expansive views over the surrounding countryside and from here it was easy to understand why Ronda was one of the last Moorish strongholds in Spain, only finally falling to the Christian armies in 1485 just seven years before the fall of Granada.

It was possible to visit the interior of the bridge by climbing down a set of steps carved into the side of the canyon and then entering a chamber where there was an interesting exhibition in what was once the guard-house describing the history of the bridge and its construction.  Just behind the guard-house was the cramped prison, which allegedly both sides used for imprisonment and unimaginable torture during the civil war.

Ronda Andalucia

Ronda, it turns out, has three bridges, the first and lowest may have been Roman but was certainly Moorish and the second was built in the middle ages.  They are both at the bottom of the canyon and as both the old town and the new town were at the top this meant a lot of aching legs and creaking wagon wheels to get between the two so the third and most famous bridge was built right at the top to make life a whole lot easier for everyone.

In the evening we went into the town looking for somewhere to eat.  It was much quieter now that the tourist buses had left and there was plenty of choice.  After a larger than planned lunch neither of us were especially hungry so we were easily talked into a tapas bar with a promise of a mixed plate of local specialities.

According to legend, the tapas tradition began when the King of Castile, Alfonso the Wise (if I was King I think I would like to be called ‘the Wise’) visited a tavern in the town of Ventorillo del Chato in the province of Cádiz, and ordered a glass of sherry.  There was a gusty wind, so the innkeeper served him his glass of sherry covered by a slice of ham to prevent the sherry from getting dirty.  The King liked it, and when he asked for a second glass, he requested another tapa or ‘cover’ just like the first.

This developed into the practice of using slices of bread or meat as a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the drink. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst and because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales.

It wasn’t the best tapas that we have tasted but to be fair it was traditional and authentic and we liked that and when we had finished we left and returned to the Hotel Poeta de Ronda and hoped that tomorrow the rain would stay away.

Tapas

Weekly Photo Challenge: New – Puente Nuevo, Ronda

It took about an hour to reach Ronda, which is one of the pueblos blancos (white towns) so called because they are whitewashed in the old Moorish tradition.

It also happens to be one of the most spectacularly located towns in Andalusia sitting on a massive rocky outcrop straddling a precipitous limestone cleft in the mountains.  We parked the car in the new town near the bullring and crossed the Rio Guadalquivir back to the old town with its cobbled narrow alleys, dazzling white houses and decorative black window grilles covered in scarlet geraniums.

Read the full story…

 

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Ronda, A Pueblo Blanco

Ronda Andalusia

“We sighted Ronda. It was raised up in the mountains, like a natural extension of the landscape, and in the sunlight it seemed to me to be the most beautiful city in the world.” –  José Agustín Goytisolo

The “Twelve Treasures of the Kingdom of Spain

was a contest/poll that was conducted by the Spanish Television Company Antena 3 and the radio broadcaster Cope. The final results were announced on 31st December 2007.  I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the eight out of the twelve that I have visited and having completed that I thought I might come up with a personal alternative twelve.  For my number four in the countdown I have gone back to the south of the country and the town of Ronda.

Marbella and the Costa del Concrete

I went to Andalusia in October 2003 to play golf and stayed near Marbella on the Costa del Sol.  I have to say that I didn’t really care for Marbella or Puerto Banus next door, it seemed to be just one long ribbon of inappropriate concrete resorts and an impatient motorway rushing by.  It didn’t help that it seemed to rain continuously and the weather was so poor that when it was impossible to play golf or go to the beach it was necessary to find alternative things to do.

Sometimes that is not so bad and on one disappointing weather morning that ruled out golf we took a drive to Ronda in the mountains and away from the tourist traps on the coast.

This involved a forty-five kilometre drive from our holiday accommodation at Los Aqueros golf and country club through the Sierra Bermeja mountains as we climbed continuously along a dramatic road that clung to the side of the mountains like velcro and zigzagged dramatically all of the way to our destination.  There was light rain and some low clouds but we could just about make out the coast line and the sea as we drove through first oak and then pine forests of this protected ‘natural area’ of outstanding beauty.

Ronda and the Pueblos Blancos…

It took about an hour to reach Ronda, which is one of the pueblos blancos (white towns) so called because they are whitewashed in the old Moorish tradition.  It also happens to be one of the most spectacularly located towns in Andalusia sitting on a massive rocky outcrop straddling a precipitous limestone cleft in the mountains.  We parked the car in the new town near the bullring and crossed the Rio Guadalquivir back to the old town with its cobbled narrow alleys, dazzling white houses and decorative black window grilles covered in scarlet geraniums.

Ronda Andalusia New Bridge

Ronda and the Puente Nuevo…

Ronda is most famous for a one hundred and twenty metre high bridge, The Puente Nuevo, whose name means ‘new bridge’, and which spans a gorge that divides the city in two. The bridge was begun in 1751 and took  forty-two years to complete.  It is supposedly one of the most photographed structures in Spain and often quoted as one of the top places to see in Europe.

We crossed the bridge and looked out over the patchwork landscape of burnt brown, cream, beige and copper coloured fields that spilled out across the flat valley plain, terraces of irrigated green, a meandering river far below and a dramatic grey sky full of rain and stormy menace.

The author Ernest Hemingway and actor and film director Orson Welles both lived in Ronda at some point in their lives and both wrote warmly about the place.  Hemingway’s novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ describes the murder of five hundred fascist Nationalist sympathizers early in the Spanish Civil War by being thrown from the cliffs of El Tajo and into the Rio Guadalquivir by the Republican forces.  Or possibly vice versa, I have never read the book so am not absolutely sure and neither are the historical accounts because even after seventy-five years both sides continue to accuse each other of the grisly crime but those who lost their lives are in some small way poetically remembered by Orson Welles who said – “A man does not belong to the place where he was born, but where he chooses to die”

Ronda Andalusia Spain

We walked over the bridge and admired the expansive views over the surrounding countryside and from here it was easy to understand why Ronda was one of the last Moorish strongholds in Spain, only finally falling to the Christian armies in 1485 just seven years before the fall of Granada.

It was possible to visit the interior of the bridge by climbing down a set of steps carved into the side of the canyon and then entering a chamber where there was an interesting exhibition in what was once the guard house describing the history of the bridge and its construction.  Just behind the guard house was the cramped prison, which allegedly both sides used for imprisonment and torture during the civil war.

Although it remained cloudy it was warming up by now so we walked around and through the attractive streets of the old town detouring now and then to viewing platforms built between grand houses and palaces all with stunning views from the top of the gorge.  When we had seen most of what we wanted to see on this side of the river we crossed back over the Puento Nuevo and made our way to the bullring museum.

The Plaza de Toros in Ronda

is one of the oldest operational bullrings in Spain. The arena has a diameter of sixty-six metres, surrounded by a passage formed by two rings of stone. There are two layers of seating, each with five raised rows and one hundred and thirty-six pillars that make up sixty-eight arches.  It is only used once a year for fighting but is important as a Matador training school  because Ronda is well-known as the spiritual home of the modern corrida or bullfight.

The founder of this style was Francisco Romero, the patriarch of the famous Romero family of Ronda.  Before Francisco, bullfighting was an activity normally fought from the back of a horse in what was known as the ‘Jerez style’ but Romero introduced the style that we are most familiar with today when the Matador stands and fights on foot.

We visited the museum and took a backstage tour and then wandered around the arena itself and as we imagined ourselves to be famous heroic bullfighters the sun began to leak through the clouds and everywhere was magically transformed.

Finished now, we returned to the car and I was glad the weather had improved because this meant a better return journey on the Carreta De Ronda, the tricky twisting A397 and without the miserable rain we were better able to appreciate the scenery and the beauty of the razored edged Sierra Bermeja mountains as they swept back down to the coast and we followed the road back towards the concrete coast of the Costa Del Sol.

Ronda Andalusia Spain Bullfighting

My Personal A to Z of Spain, R is for Ronda

Even before my quest to discover ‘Real Spain’ I went in October 2003 to play golf and stayed near Marbella on the Costa del Sol. I have to say that I didn’t really care for Marbella or Puerto Banus next door, it seemed to be just one long ribbon of inappropriate concrete resorts and a busy motorway rushing by. It didn’t help that it seemed to rain continuously and the weather was so poor that when it was impossible to play golf or go to the beach it was necessary to find alternative things to do.

Sometimes that is not so bad and on one disappointing weather morning that ruled out golf we took a drive to Ronda in the mountains and away from the tourist traps on the coast. This involved a forty-five kilometre drive from our holiday accommodation at Los Aqueros golf and country club through the Sierra Bermeja mountains as we climbed continuously along a dramatic road that clung to the side of the mountains and zigzagged dramatically all of the way to our destination. There was light rain and some low clouds but we could just about make out the coast line and the sea as we drove through first oak and then pine forests of this protected ‘natural area’ of outstanding beauty.

It took about an hour to reach Ronda, which is one of the pueblos blancos (white towns) so called because they are whitewashed in the old Moorish tradition. It also happens to be one of the most spectacularly located towns in Andalusia sitting on a massive rocky outcrop straddling a precipitous limestone cleft in the mountains. We parked the car in the new town near the bullring and crossed the Rio Guadalquivir back to the old town with its cobbled narrow alleys, dazzling white houses and window grilles covered in scarlet geraniums.

Ronda is most famous for a one hundred and twenty metre high bridge, The Puente Nuevo, whose name means ‘new bridge’, and which spans a gorge that divides the city in two. The bridge was begun in 1751 and took forty-two years to complete. It is supposedly one of the most photographed structures in Spain and often quoted as one of the top places to see in Europe.

Ronda Andalusia New Bridge

Thee author Ernest Hemingway and actor and film director Orson Welles both lived in Ronda and both wrote warmly about the place. Hemingway’s novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ describes the murder of five hundred fascist Nationalist sympathizers early in the Spanish Civil War by being thrown from the cliffs of El Tajo and into the Rio Guadalquivir by the Republican forces, or possibly vice versa, I’ve never read the book so am not absolutely sure and neither are the historical accounts because even after seventy-five years both sides continue to accuse each other of the grisly crime.

We walked over the bridge and admired the expansive views over the surrounding countryside and from here it was easy to understand why Ronda was one of the last Moorish strongholds in Spain only finally falling to the Christian armies in 1485 just seven years before the fall of Granada. It was possible to visit the interior of the bridge by climbing down a set of steps carved into the side of the canyon and then entering a chamber where there was an interesting exhibition in what was once the guard house describing the history of the bridge and it’s construction. Just behind the guard house was the prison, which both sides used for imprisonment and torture during the civil war.

Although it remained cloudy it was warming up now so we walked around and through the attractive streets of the old town detouring now and then to viewing platforms built between grand houses and palaces all with stunning views from the top of the gorge. When we had seen most of what we wanted to see on this side of the river we crossed back over the Puento Nuevo and made our way to the bullring museum.

The Plaza de Toros in Ronda is one of the oldest operational bullrings in Spain. The arena has a diameter of sixty-six metres, surrounded by a passage formed by two rings of stone. There are two layers of seating, each with five raised rows and one hundred and thirty-six pillars that make up sixty-eight arches. It is only used once a year for fighting but is important as a Matador training school because Ronda is well-known as the spiritual home of the modern corrida or bullfight. The founder of this style was Francisco Romero, the patriarch of the famous Romero family of Ronda. Before Francisco, bullfighting was an activity normally fought from the back of a horse in what was known as the ‘Jerez style’ but Romero introduced the style that we are most familiar with today when the Matador stands and fights on foot.

We visited the museum and took a backstage tour and then wandered around the arena itself and as we imagined ourselves to be famous heroic bullfighters the sun began to leak through the clouds and everywhere was magically transformed.

Finished now, we returned to the car and I was glad the weather had improved because this meant a better return journey on the Carreta De Ronda, the tricky twisting A397 and without the miserable rain we were better able to appreciate the scenery and the beauty of the Sierra Bermeja mountains as we followed the road back towards the concrete coast of the Costa Del Sol.

Bullring at Seville

Bullring at Chinchón

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R is for Ronda but it could well have been:

Ciudad Rodrigo

Talavera de La Reina

Rum and Coke in Benidorm

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Ronda, The Spanish Civil War, Ernest Hemingway and Bullfighting

“Ronda is the place where to go, if you are planning to travel to Spain for a honeymoon or for being with a girlfriend. The whole city and its surroundings are a romantic set.
… Nice promenades, good wine, excellent food, nothing to do…” – Ernest Hemingway

I went to Spain in October 2003 to play golf and stayed near Marbella on the Costa del Sol.  I have to say that I didn’t really care for Marbella or Puerto Banus next door, it seemed to be just one long ribbon of inappropriate concrete resorts and a busy motorway rushing by.  It didn’t help that it seemed to rain continuously and the weather was so poor that when it was impossible to play golf or go to the beach it was necessary to find alternative things to do.

Read the full story…