When I think of Spain the first city that comes to mind is Rhonda. I love this mountaintop place and its vistas. The food, the weather, the town itself and the scrappy hills beyond. Everything about it is amazing and it holds fond yet distinct memories.
Julius Caesar kindly designated Rhonda a city in late 4 A.D. The village of about 35,000 sits atop a gorge so high that when you cross the Puente Nuevo bridge you hold your breath for fear that the weight of that one breath could send it tumbling down into the ravine. The bridge, begun in 1793, is one of the most dramatic byways I have ever seen with a 352 foot drop. Stunning and spectacular it is something that must be seen to believed if not tiptoed across.
We stayed at the historic Parador de Rhonda a clifftop hotel which overlooks the town. Housed in the old former town hall our two-level room was magnificent with parents upstairs and children sleeping below. Both the views and the building took my breath away. The pool was pretty great too.
While it has been a while since I have been to the Parador, I remember being pampered, my wish list honored, the warm sun on my face and great food. Food that took hours to consume with whispers of “other” languages filling the air as people took the time to chat, sip and let the hours slip by. That is one of the things I love about Europe…how people take the time with their food …to savor and really enjoy it. To make eating an art instead of a necessary chore and by doing so honor those who so lovingly take the time to prepare it perfectly.
I remember tapas cooked to perfection…not soggy…but with the perfect bit of moistness that hit your tongue before the steamy, rich food itself. Morcilla sausage with texture and body and a smooth taste (yes, sausage!) Sangria that sucked the parch straight out of you with its first breath upon yours. Food that was regional, good for you and left you wanting to try everything on the local menus so you would’t feel like you had missed out on a thing.
And unlike many European cities the square was beautiful and so clean you could almost lick that spilled Rojas off the ground.
Next Time: The Bullfighting Ring and Pileta Caves