Ronda GBU

May. 1st, 2011 09:48 pm
cat_cetera: (Don't Panic)
Exceeded Expectations
- the town as a whole - beautiful views out over the landscape below the town, and pretty unique geography with the town sitting literally right on top of the gorge

Afraid of Heights?

- just when I thought I had seen everything Ronda had to offer (it is pretty small) we discovered a craft fair with local artisans showing their wares or offering demonstrations of how they made their products (like the geometric patterned tiles), where I got a CD by a local baroque/flamenco trio and an incense burner made of local tiles.

Good
- nice if rainy walk around the old town to see the gorge and the bridges from various angles
- great meals with fantastic views over the gorge and the landscape below

Bad
- rainy
- left my new water bottle behind on the bus

Ugly
- was not able to escape the hype of the royal wedding

Interesting
- the church of Santa Maria Mayor was not just ABC - it had some modern frescoes (painted in 1983) and a modern bronze choir screen along with the usual gold-encrusted baroque altarpieces; there was also an unusually high concentration of the life-sized Marys, many shown with a crescent moon (a symbol of many pagan goddesses like Isis, Artemis etc.)

The Cult of Mary

- the duelling museum at the Plaza de Toros had an exhibit showing a duel between two ladies over the love of a certain captain
- at dinner on the last night, I had a chair with my back to the gorge. As I was eating, I felt a thing like someone putting their hand on my shoulder - there was no-one there, but I looked around just in time to see a huge flock of crows wheeling around below us in the gorge.

Amusing
- one of the exhibits at the local trade fair was a sort of promotion of Andalucian/North African cross-cultural connections. There were a whole bunch of musical instruments, including a sort of drum with a stick in it that you played by wetting your hand and then rubbing it rapidly up and down the stick (hur hur). After I played that, I saw there was also a doumbek which the lady encouraged me to play. I sat down with it, listened to the music a bit, and started to drum along (no, not the Standard Avacal Rhythm) and the next thing I knew, the lady from the exhibit was playing some other drum, a little girl was playing the castanets, and we had attracted a crowd of picture-taking tourists, who will no doubt go home and show all their friends their pictures of local musicians from Ronda.
cat_cetera: (Don't Panic)
Exceeded Expectations
- the Mezquita. It looks exactly the pictures make it look, but they don't do it justice.

Mezquita - Interior

- the gardens of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos.

Gardens of Spain

Good
- touring through the old Jewish quarter and getting my picture taken with Averroes and Maimonides
- lots of great street views of twisted old pre-automobile-era roads (that cars drive on anyway) with semi-dilapidated buildings, yet way less crowded with tourists than comparable cities in Italy
- people watching on Easter Sunday - everybody out dressed in their Sunday best and strolling around the streets. They put the little tiny kidlets in the parish confraternities at an early age so they might have a chance to carry the floats later in life, but as small children they seem to get drums which their parents let them carry around afterwards. Most of them have pretty good rhythm.
- all of the food places the Three Ravens chose on our own were pretty tasty.

Bad
- most of the first day for the walking tour was rainy :(
- did not get to see the Semana Santa processions

Ugly
- N/A

Interesting
- the reconstructed pillars of a Roman temple stood near our hotel, and, predictably enough there were a bunch of feral cats living in the temple area. This group of cats included five really cute fuzzy little kittens, and we have a cat lover in our group who collected all of our scraps from dinner and took them out to feed the kitties.

Feral Kittens

- the Semana Santa processions (which we did not get to see) feature these immense and elaborate floats that beggar description. Mary is life sized and she weeps tears of jewels. She is covered in silver ornaments and heavily embroidered clothing and surrounded by gigantic candles. The Jesus floats are even more elaborate and feature life sized scenes from the stations of the cross. The ones we saw were displayed in a crowded little area where everyone was jamming in to see them, and somebody's nonna was singing a traditional Andalucian lament. We were told that some people go to see them out of authentic religious feeling, and others just to see the spectacle.

Weeping Mary

- the main agricultural industry in this part of Spain is olives, and the countryside was completely covered with patchwork olive groves from Granada to Cordoba.

- our local tour guide in Cordoba was from Liverpool, which I'm sure will appeal to [livejournal.com profile] philomenaobence

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May 2011

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