There are places you´re supposed to visit: Tokyo. Paris. New York City. In Spain, those places are Madrid and Barcelona. Long-term travelers like to get away from big cities most of the time; we yearn for strollable streets, places that don´t have hordes of radioactive T-shirt-clad tourists holding selfie sticks, and natural beauty.
I chose to visit Ronda because Hemingway spent many summers there; it has the oldest bullring in Spain, which now houses a museum dedicated to bullfighting (and for some reason, dressage). Although the ring is no longer active and I´m not a fan of bull fighting by any means – especially never having seen a bullfight, except where the bulls are fighting each other – there´s a lot of history there.
The focal point of Ronda is a beautiful canyon that´s presided over by a gorgeous (see what I did there?) bridge called the Puente Nuevo. Off to the side of the bridge is a trail leading down; the trail splits at one point into three separate trails – one leading all the way to the bottom, one leading into a magical fairy land of abandoned buildings that are now full of trees and shrubbery, and one that ends in a waterfall and blue-green pool – the kind that´s perfect to swim in on a hot summer day after walking down a canyon trail.
What I didn´t expect was that this small mountain town would have the most amazing tapas – not only mouth-watering, but also crazy cheap – around a euro per tapa! Basically, my face was full of goat cheese for two days straight is what I´m saying.
Small towns end up being on a backpacker´s radar via word of mouth, so I´m wording about Ronda. If you´re a backpacker, what are your favorite small cities, towns, or villages? I´m quite fond of Kalaw, Myanmar, Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, and Gisenyi, Rwanda, among lots of others!