Archive for the Mercadillo Category

Ronda – Mercadillo – Puente Nueva and around

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Puente Nueva, Ronda, Spain with tags on March 16, 2017 by gannet39

The barrio of Mercadillo is separated from the old town, La Ciudad, by El Tajo, a deep canyon formed by the Guadalevín River. The famous Puente Nuevo was built in 1751 (completed in 1793) to better connect the two districts.


The bridge is ‘new’ in that it’s more recent than the Puente Viejo further down the gorge.


The 120 m (390 ft) drop is vertigo-inducing…


…but does provide stunning views in many directions.


In Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, a scene in Chapter Ten describes the execution of Fascist sympathisers during the Spanish Civil War. The Republicans kill them by throwing them off the cliffs of a fictional village in Andalusia. It’s said that Hemingway modelled it on real events that took place in Ronda.


If you walk along the street with your back to the bridge, through Plaza Espana, and along Calle Virgen de la Paz, you will come to the famous bullring which is the oldest in Spain.


At the end of Calle Virgen de la Paz is the church of Nuestra Señora de la Merced.


Back over the bridge next!


Ronda – Mercadillo – some places to eat

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Ronda, Spain with tags , on March 15, 2017 by gannet39

There are heaps of good restaurants and bars in Mercadillo but I only had time to try a couple, both recommendations from Toko the hotel receptionist. There are lots more places I wanted to try on my Google map, but I didn’t have the time for them all.

This is the second half of a tapeo I started in Barrio San Francisco. Please see my separate post for there.

La Lechugita (Intermediate B), 35 Calle Virgen de los Remedios

The Little Lettuce is a classic Spanish tapas bar, tiny, crowded and a lot of fun. You order by ticking items on a menu pad, tearing off the page and handing it to a barman.


I had a selection of Masitas, the small bread buns that are a local speciality, with various fillings. I wasn’t that impressed unfortunately (especially because I’d eaten a better one at Bodega San Francisco earlier) as it was quite hard to tell what was what due to them being very salty. I had fillings of Pringa (a meat stew, B-), Salchichon (sausage, B-) and Morcilla de Ronda (local black pudding), which was my favourite (B).


Morcilla de Ronda differs from other varieties due to the inclusion of pancetta and bacon it seems.

I ordered some of the famous lettuce to put in the buns to try and override the salt. It tasted really nice by itself (A), maybe because it had been lightly vinegared .

A glass of unimpressive local red called Chinchilla scored B-.

So not the best food and wine but an A for Atmosphere and I’d love to come again to explore their menu more.


El Almacén (Intermediate B+), 7 Calle Virgen de los Remedios,

A modern tapas bar with friendly enthusiastic staff. The young proprietress told me they’d only been open for three weeks when I went.
The food is really good. I had tapas of Croquetas Boletus (B+)…


… and the wonderful Cochinillo (A).


They specialise in local wines so I tried glasses of red called Morillas, a crianza from Bodega Los Villalones (B+)…


… and Lunares by Bodega Lunares de Ronda (B+).


At €2.50 a glass the wine was a bit more expensive than elsewhere but the quality was better. Definitely somewhere I’d go again.

Ronda – Mercadillo – Architecture around Plaza del Socorro

Posted in Andalusia, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Plaza Del Socorro, Ronda, Spain with tags , on March 13, 2017 by gannet39

Plaza Del Socorro is the central square in Mercadillo. Google map here.

There are lots of nice buildings around the square including the church of Nuestra Señora del Socorro on the east side.


The northern end is dominated by the El Casino restaurant.


There are several other nice buildings around the square.


In the middle is this rather bizarre statue with a waving lion which is in fact a potent symbol of Andalusian nationalism. You can find out why here.


Some off the streets around the square are very atmospheric.


I love the Spanish style of enclosed balcony windows; ‘balcónes cerrados’. The double windows help regulate temperature and noise from the street.

This is one of the most beautiful examples I’ve ever seen. I love the wrought iron railings.


It obviously paid to be security conscious in 1793. The bars are called a ‘reja’ (grille) and allowed the windows to be open while keeping intruders out.


You’ll find lots of other nice details if you look carefully.

But sadly not all buildings are loved.


Ronda – Mercadillo – Calle Real

Posted in Andalusia, Calle Real, Malaga Province, Mercadillo, Ronda, Spain with tags , on March 13, 2017 by gannet39

This was my second time in Ronda. My first visit was on a brief day trip during a holiday nearly twenty years before, in September 1997. The late-summer heat stopped us walking around too much on that first trip but on this visit in April 2016 I had the opposite problem as the spring rain prevented me getting out and about as much as I’d have liked to.

Ronda is divided into three neighbourhoods: the relatively modern Mercadillo (with the bullring, train and bus stations) which is separated by a steep gorge from La Ciudad, the old Moorish quarter. This in turn extends down to the old city wall at Puerta de Almocábar beyond which is Barrio de San Francisco, lying outside the walls. Google map here.

Looking at the map I could see my hotel on Calle Real was walkable from the station but I wasn’t counting on having to drag my spinner across cobbles for the last section. I arrived without too much hassle though.

What a hotel! I think perhaps my favourite ever! The Hotel EnFrente Arte (€80 a night for a single room in April 2016) is located in an old townhouse at 40 Calle Real but its attitude is entirely modern with much of the interior Pop Art décor made from upcycled materials.

The reception desk is the front half of an old Seat 600 whereas the back half is used for plate storage in the breakfast lounge. Similar quirky ideas (tyres and surfboards for tables, colanders for lampshades, basketballs for plant pots) can be found throughout the building. Funky isn’t a word I use lightly but I think it can be correctly applied here.

The hotel permanently resides at the #1 spot on TripAdvisor for good reason. Even Madonna stayed here (in room 10) when she was in town. Please click on a photo for a full screen slideshow.

My receptionist was the wonderful Toko from Hokkaido in Japan who speaks fluent English and Spanish. She was super helpful and very efficient, as were all the staff I met. The breakfasts are great; I loved the chorizo and quail’s egg fry up every morning. You’re taught how to use the coffee machine when you arrive and it’s all very self-service. Free drinks are included in the price. My only quibble was that there’s no 24 hour reception service but that’s a new trend in Spanish hotels it seems. Just don’t forget the door code.

The hotel is the creation of a collective based around a Belgian band called dEUS and this is their creative bolthole. It’s a fabulous place, and very popular, so it’s best to book it as soon as you can.

There are lots of other nice old buildings along Calle Real, and you’ll also find the Fuente de los Ocho Caños (Fountain of the Eight Spouts) on the corner with Calle Santa Cecilia. Again, click to go full screen.

At the end of the Calle Real is the Puente Viejo, the older and smaller of the two main bridges that cross the gorge, the Tajo, into the old town, La Ciudad. Alternatively you can turn right before the bridge and walk up Calle Escolleras to the upper part of Mercadillo. Please see the coming posts for these places.

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