Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Ronda, Spain

Hi Everyone,It is according to my sometimes not so precise calculations the day before Christmas, which would make tonight Christmas Eve.HO HO HO and Merry Christmas or as they say here in Spain Feliz Navidad. I am in a small city in Andalucia, the south of Spain, called Ronda. I arrived here 6 days ago from Granada. Granada was a blast!! A real party city, All the local bars give you free Tapas with every drink you order. A tapa is a little plate of food. Tapa means cover or lid. It was originally served on top of your wine glass to keep the flies out of your drink but now it is just a tradition in Spain. Some cities they charge you for Tapas and some places they give them to you for free. Malaga was about half and half, Madrid almost everyone gives a free snack with each drink and here in Ronda you usually have to pay. A glass of red wine or a beer (the local beer is called Called Cruzcampo)usualluy cost 1.00€ or 1.50€. The Spaniards love to eat and drink all night. Seriously, the bars and restaurants are empty until 9 or 10 at night and then they fill up. People frequently stay out till 2 or 3 and most stores dont open until 10am and they all close at about 2:30 and re-open at 5 or 6 so everyone can take a siesta (nap). Many of the restaurants dont re-open until 8 or 9 because no one goes out early here in Spain. The tapas are usually simple little plates, since a few of you have asked about them I will tell about some that I have had. Paella is a nice little rice dish sometimes with short grain rice so it is like a risotto and sometimes with long grain rice so it is like a jambalaya always with saffron and all kinds of veggies, meat or seafood and chicken, may be added it is yummy.Frequently the tapa is just a canape ie. a piece of bread with like a roasted red pepper and an anchovie fillet or tuna slice or spanish salame or cheese, somethimes they give you a little fried octopus or squid, or fried whitebait or fried fish chunks. Sometimes albondigas (meatballs) with a red-brown sauce with sweet green peas,sometimes sausages and one of my favorites is called Tortilla which is a potato omelet baked in the oven( A fritata I guess) served on a little bread.They are also very famous for their hams around here. The ham is like Prosciutto, served raw and sliced super thin.So sometimes you will be given a few paper thin slices of this ham. I have also discovered a delicious drink called Tinto de Verano which is nothing more than cheap red wine and 7-Up served with a little ice and a slice of lemon. It is like Sangria but less sweet and fruity. And I of course being who I am have been tasting a wee bit of Sherry. Jazzza I like Sherry!!So before I left Granada I caught a bit of a cold and so I have been holed up here in Ronda for about 6 days now. Not been doing much but resting relaxing and trying to take care of my cold.I have been using the traditional Spanish cure of Sherry and double Zero along with codein cough tablets and Aspirin. These unbelievably sweet little clementinas are in all the markets now for about 60€cents per kilo. They are excellent little seedless (sensimilla)tangerines. I have been eating a lot of these for my health as well. I had been pretty sick for about the last week but today I feel much better which is a good thing since I am outta the Zero Zero.Ronda is one of these famous yet un heard of cities. It has about 20,000 people and it is physically gorgeous. It is perched on top of a big mountain with a huge gorge about 200 meters deep in between the 2 halves of the city. There is a beautiful old arch bridge between the two halves and it is 3 or 4 hundred years old. A miracle of Civil Engineering that must be seen to be appreciated. Many people come here to see the bridge and stroll the quaint cobblestone calles of this fairy tale like city. In summer it is a mecca for bull fight affecionados. The first Bull ring in Spain was built here. Bull fighting is still muy popular here in Spain and Ronda is famous for it. They serve Rabo de torro in all ther restaurants (bulls tail or ox tail). I will stay here for this weekend, it is muy dificile to travel over the hollidays, and so I will go to Jerez de la Frontera (where Sherry comes from)on Monday for about 3 days and then to Seville for New Years Eve. After that I dont know yet, probably Cordoba for a few days and then to Barcelona and then back to Madrid. Anyone with suggestions e-mail them to me.Spain is cheaper than a lot of countries in Europe...still it is hard to stick to any kind of reasonable budget. Here in Ronda I got a nice little room with a single bed, and a shared shower for €11.00 per night. That is really cheap for Europe. And the cheapest I have found in Spain. Pretty nice room. They change the sheets everyday and give me a fresh towel. There is a big window door that opens onto a little private balcony and it is right in the centro of the town.I am practicing my spanish and doing pretty well. I always seem to get by anyway.So I am fine good and happy. I am writing all of you to say Merry Christmas and happy new year. I hope all of you are well and having as much fun as I am. Write back if you have the time.

Nothing but Love to all of you!!

Rambling Robert the Traveling Man.


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