Day 7: Close Encounters of the Vehicular Kind

Today’s adventures through Andalusia began with a two and a half hour bus ride from Granada to the small city of Ronda. Thanks to the long bus ride, most of us were able to catch up some sleep before we arrived in the city. Normally a quiet town, today Ronda was as busy as Madrid, due to a bicycle race going through town. When we arrived, our group immediately headed over to La Plaza de Toros, the birthplace of the Spanish bullfight. And thus, our relationship with los toros began.

Entering the bullring, we were instantly struck first by the large size of the ring—until we imagined ourselves in it with a charging bull. After taking bull and matador-esque group photos, we all sat down and started sketching the ring. Finally, we took a quick tour of the museum, filled with the uniforms of many small matadors and even the skull of a bull!!

We were then free to explore Ronda on our own (while avoiding the professional bicyclers). Some took a hike down a very deep, spectacular gorge; others walked across the bridge to visit the older part of the city; and everyone sketched two more views that they felt worth capturing.

Next it was time to get back on the bus to drive to Grazalema, this time a shorter drive made exciting by a close encounter between our bus, another tour bus, and the sides of a very narrow cliff. If making it through without a scratch was not miraculous enough, we next had to lug our luggage up a cobble-stoned hill to our next hotel, the charming Casa de Las Piedras. Despite having poor internet connection, no elevator (requiring more feats of incredible strength) and small rooms, we are still able to appreciate the quaint beauty La Casa has to offer, and the interesting foot sinks in the bathrooms! After an hour of relaxing, we had our class discussion on, appropriately enough, the meaning of the bullfight. We are all looking forward to our first free day tomorrow!

Justine Belinsky – Behavioral Neuroscience