Friday, 5 March 2010

Where is Ronda?

My Internet spooks inform me that "Where is Ronda?" is a question frequently asked of Google.  I can answer this question definitively and extensively, thus crowning myself with fame and glory.

Ronda is located on latitude: 36° 43' 60 N and longitude: 5° 10' 0 W. How´s that! No GPS to hand? Here's another way of finding this scenic and splendid Spanish town, just 17 km from Los Castanos.

Yet another answer to this vexing question is that Ronda, as I discovered last week, is surprisingly close to Marrakech!

Many of my guests, seeing the Rif mountains of Morocco towering into the horizon from the vantage point of our Andalucian mountains, yearn to go there. Africa appears close and yet unattainable. With the new flight from Sevilla, however, Marrakech is very attainable.

A two-continent vacation is easy to do. We drove to Sevilla airport (1 hr 30 mins), caught a flight to Marrakech (1 hr 20 mins), were met by a driver sent by the hotel and were ensconced on their delightful patio with a breakfast of mint tea and beghirs. We stayed two nights at Dar Tasmine and another two at Dar Ouaata  They were both delightful in their different ways: clean, hospitable, charming.

Ahh. But supposing these truthseekers search a metaphysical rather than a physical explanation of the whereabouts of Ronda. Are they wondering about the soul of the place - is it of Africa, as many have posited, or is it of Europe.

My recent trip to Marrakech left no doubt in my mind. Spain in general, and Andalucia in particular, is now of Europe, not Africa. It is modern, orderly after a European mindset, and without poverty. The same cannot be said of Morocco. And in that divide lies the fascination for the traveller entering another century, another philosophy with other priorities.

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