We had a false start this year. In February everything looked normal and we already had received many bookings for our house for the coming year 2020. And then everything changed. Not only for us, of course, the entire world is suffering from this pandemic.

Spain went into lock down. The consequences for us were abrupt, all bookings up to June were understandably cancelled. Everyone got their money back, not only from us, but also all costs paid to the larger booking sites, such as Home Away and Airbnb, were refunded. 

Although we are still uncertain when the state of emergency will be lifted here in Spain, we have opened our booking calendar again from the beginning of June. The number of bookings that were already accepted from then on will stand for the time being. And we will also start to accept new bookings. For this exceptional situation, we will not ask for a first deposit to finalize a reservation, until more clarity arises and free and safe travel is possible again. Our standard rules regarding cancellations will also lapse this year, which means that all (down) payments that are made directly to us will be fully refunded upon cancellation. There is no time limit, but we do ask that this will be done within reason.

We hope that in the early summer tourism will slowly pick up again. These are exceptional times, but who knows, maybe for a change you could walk quietly through the Alhambra, and not be surrounded by millions of other tourists? Or you can see Ronda in a different way.

To be on the safe side, we would advise you to travel with the necessary protective equipment, such as mouth masks and gloves. You will get used to it and only time will tell how and when we will get back to (a sort of) normal again! 

We also offer the option of ‘contactless’ accommodation. If you appreciate that, we will make sure that the key is in the door when you arrive and we will not greet you personally. Communication will then be entirely via WhatsApp / telephone or email.

Stay safe!

Francis, Lies and Santiago

Historic Ronda

Ronda, just 8 km away, is one of the most beautiful cities of Andalusia, steeped in history. It stands on a towering plateau in the mountains of the province of Malaga. This mighty promontory ensured that Ronda was an impregnable fortress for the Christian armies until the end of the Reconquista. The plateau is split in two by the gap, ‘El Tajo’, caused by the river Guadelevín, and is the natural separation between the old and the new Ronda. This gap is spanned by a stone bridge, Puente Nuevo, and once housed a prison underneath. All visitors to Ronda are staring with disbelief down into the deep gorge, and then often, unconsciously shivering, step back a little! The shopping area of Ronda, where some of the traditional shops still maintain, is located in the new part of town. Read more here. However, the most enchanting walks can be found in the old town where the Moorish and Roman atmosphere can be inhaled in every street corner. Click here for a street map and the monuments of Ronda Nearby village of Arriate provides with banks, small supermarkets and other stores that you need on a daily basis. This charming village is also known for its cheap & cheerful tapas bars. Since 2012 we now also have a very good and affordable restaurant located in the old depot house from the train station. Ronda lies very central to all the cities which are worth visiting and can easily be travelled in one day, such as Cordoba (Mezquita), Granada (Alhambra-book well in advance!), Seville (Giralda and Reales Alcazares), Málaga (Picasso Museum) and Gibraltar and Marbella/Costa del Sol..

A brief history of Ronda

The history of Ronda in a nutshell

The old town of Ronda ‘la ciudad “is the perfect place to walk around and get lost in the Roman and Moorish history. A clear legacy of the Arab time is the “Muralla”, the city wall, still very well preserved in many places. The first Roman settlement is much older.  ‘Acinipo’ also called ‘Ronda la Vieja (Old Ronda). This more than 2000 year old Roman amphitheater is 20 km away from the present town of Ronda and can be visited. But the oldest signs of human life can be found in the “Pileta Caves”, close to Benaoján. It has been discovered in 1905 and declared a national monument in 1924. In these caves murals were found of horses, goats and fish, dating from the Paleolithic Age. The caves are maintained by a private family (whose grandfather discovered them) and visits are almost all year round. Read more about Ronda’s history here)

Where eat and drink?

In Andalusia there is no lack of bars and restaurants. I know of no other people who love to eat outdoors more than the Andalusian. So there are plenty of places, also in Ronda to help yourself to food, tapas, sweets or wines . In the tourist center there are many bars and restaurants to be found. Note however that not all places, even though they are well attended by one-day tourists, provide quality while they tend to use hefty prices. Here are some tips for finding restaurants and tapas bars that offer a fairly constant good quality:

Bar Restaurant Almocabar in the ‘Barrio de San Francisco’, just outside the city walls . Restaurant Carmen la de Ronda at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Restaurant Los Cazadores, famous for its fresh fish and fried eggplants . Restaurant Las Caballerías is at the bar (for tapas) somewhat pricy, but upstairs in the restaurant they offer you good and affordable local dishes . Good tapas bars include: La Taberna, Tragatapas or the somewhat newer Camelot near the new outgoing area  known popularly as ‘La Playita‘ (The beach), even though it only looks out on a public parking lot! Another acclaimed tapas bar is De Locos Tapas in the Barrio de San Francisco, where much attention goes to the specially presented and tasty tapas (and slightly less to the customer..). And if it’s too busy there, or you want something slightly more ‘normal’, than there are several other good places to eat in the ‘Barrio‘, such as Bar San Francisco, or the cheap Bar Benito .

Just outside Ronda in the old house from the train depot Arriate ( the village where also many ” cheap & cheerful ” find tapas bars ) is the El Muelle restaurant Arriate the sympathetic Dutch host Frank . The nice thing about this restaurant is , apart from the huge hospitable welcome, it is open from 13:00 to 01:00. Useful for anyone who can not take the late Spanish eating habits or a change .

There are also some very pleasant ‘pastelerías‘ or breakfast and lunch establishments like Daver Polo and Chocolat where a wide selection of tea, coffee and fresh juices is offered with breakfast, lunch or delicious sweets. Also handy is that both places have free Wifi.

The local wine production has pickes up a lot in recent years. And although the price-quality ratio has not (yet?) been in balance everywhere, you can see and taste for yourself at the wine routes in the Ronda area, where there are as much as sixteen Bodegas. Read more

The light of Ronda and other inspiring characteristics

Once you approach Ronda, coming from the coast, you notice two things. The temperature is slightly cooler and light is different. The sun casts shadows in this mountainous region, making the landscape a constantly changing one. This can be so exciting that it seems as if the sun shines differently here. Along with its exceptional location on the high plateau, the surrounding overwhelming nature and the historic buildings in the old town, it enables you to fall in love with this city. It is therefore that throughout the centuries many artists, temporarily or not, have established themselves in Ronda. Poets, painters, filmmakers, musicians and writers.

One of the best known writers is Rainer Maria Rilke, whose traces can still be found in the streetnames, museums and archives of Ronda, or even in company names. He wrote the much quoted phrase ‘He buscado por todas partes la ciudad Soñada, y al fin la he encontrado en Ronda’ (I have looked everywhere for the dream city, and finally found it in Ronda). Another well known writer is Ernest Hemingway. His book ‘the dangerous summer‘ is based on the rivalry between two of the greatest bullfighters of all time: the ‘RondeñoAntonio Ordoñez and his brother-in-law Luis Miguel Dominguín. Along with celebrities like Orson Welles or Ava Gardner, Hemingway was, due to his friendship with bullfighter Ordoñez, a frequent visitor to Ronda. Orson Welles was so deeply touched by Ronda and his friendship with Antonio, that his ashes have been scattered in the finca of Ordoñez.

Of foreign 20th century painters who felt attracted to Ronda, David Bomberg has probably been the most important. In his footprints followed a number of his students from the ‘Borough Group’, including Miles Richmond and Cliff Holden , permanently located in Ronda . Unfortunately Bomberg, as has been the fate of many artists, lived in extreme poverty . He has fallen somewhat into oblivion, but soon the BBC will show a documentary dedicated to his work and life.

Read more