I am driving through one of the most beautiful roads in the world among the “white hill towns” of Andalusia, Spain when I crest a ridge at around 4000 feet elevation and park my Jeep to get a better view. After a short hike, I’m afforded a spectacular vista that spans what seems like the entire province, which rolls out before me in undulating waves punctuated by some taller peaks on the horizon. A lone falcon soars above the road. I don’t spend long here, because I am destined for the pueblo of Zahara and want to get there in time to climb atop the Moorish castle that once was a stronghold against the infidel Christian invaders.
The area’s been inhabited for over 30,000 years, which makes it among the oldest known settled areas in Europe. I am going to let the pictures tell the story here, because these little cities are gems spread out like a white necklace broken on the rocks of ancient limestone formations. Although each has its charms, from the historic bullfighting ring in Ronda to the beautiful St. Peter’s Church in Arcos, the real draw here is the eye candy, and there’s plenty of that. So, let me introduce you to Ronda:
I will end on this note. These small towns are lively, and the people all seem to know each other. They gather in the pubs to enjoy a football (soccer) game, a late meal, or just the company of friends, and entire extended families think nothing of staying out until midnight or later…in the morning they are ghost towns. But wherever you go, you’ll see icons of Christ or saints adorning the walls of pubs, cafe’s, hotels, and even the outer walls of homes. Curiously, I saw mask on the rooftop of one house that was said to ward off evil spirits. Like Seville, I think that these cities will survive in the New World Order because they aren’t being inundated with foreigners and they have held fast to their traditions….God, family, and friends first. Blend with locally grown food, dance and music native to the region, and manly sporting traditions like bullfights, and you have a society that works.