Plaza de Toros, Ronda

Ernest Hemingway loved Spain. He fought against the fascists in Spain’s civil war against and wrote about it in novels, news articles, and short stories. In one of his less literary moments, he refers to Ronda in Death in the Afternoon, “There is one town that would be better than Aranjuez to see your first bullfight in if you are only going to see one and that is Ronda. That is where you should go if you ever go to Spain on a honeymoon or if you ever bolt with anyone. The entire town and as far as you can see in any direction is romantic background.”

Ronda certainly is romantic but bolt with anyone?

The photo of Ronda’s Plaza de Toros was taken from my hotel room. If you look carefully, you can see drops of rain on the window pane. There were no bullfights during my visit and this once-beloved Spanish sport appears to be dying out, a political symbol for both the left and the right. I’m on the side of those who would ban the sport, although confused by those who think the ritual murder of a single animal is inhumane, but hamburgers are not.

My identity depended on how much I was paying attention
The world is made to be free in
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that doesn’t bring you alive is too small for you

— David Whyte, Poet


  1. The supreme irony of having a bullfighting ring as the view from YOUR hotel room is not lost on me.

    I remember how shocked I was a child to realize the my hot dogs and hamburgers came from formerly live animals. I think I imagined they were just manufactured like cars or fridges. But that didn’t stop me from eating meat.

    And I admit I’m firmly embedded in the Hypocrite Camp of Meat Eaters Opposed to Bull Fighting.

    To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

  2. I immediately spotted the rain drops and assumed they were on your camera lens. How in the world did you snag a hotel, and a specific room, with such incredible sightline to the ring???? Maybe being there in March helps?

    1. Ronda is very popular with Spanish tourists and I got that room because it was the only one left. The reason it was available was that it was so overpriced! Not just expensive. Not worth it expensive. But the view was great! LOL

  3. In January 2021 I heard about a new documentary on the life of Ernest Hemingway being produced by Ken Burns for PBS. I had a remote connection with Hemingway since in 1970 I was in Ketchum Idaho and had briefly met his granddaughter Margaux. There were discussions with Ken Burns and guest authors and experts on Hemingway’s life every week leading up to the release of the documentary on PBS.

    Inspired by the weekly discussions, I read and thoroughly enjoyed four Hemingway novels within the first few months of 2021 before the documentary was released in April. Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bells Toll, A Farewell to Arms, and A Moveable Feast. Then I also enjoyed some of his famous short stories.

    I’m not in favor of bullfighting, or safaris in Africa, but I still enjoyed Hemingway’s style of storytelling, especially The Old Man and the Sea. The other novels provided some experiences in Spain which I enjoyed also. Of course Spain has its violence in history and not just with bulls. Yet there is a mystique there with the people that intrigues me.

    1. His novels remain among my favorites, and The Old Man and The Sea had a life long impact upon me from when I first read it at age 12. Yes, he was a very flawed man… but what a talent! BTW, I thought the documentary was outstanding. Did it mirror your sense of the man?

      1. I thought the documentary was excellent. I only had a sense when watching the discussions before the documentary and reading his novels. For years I did not understand why he committed suicide….Learning about his life, and his last years was very informative. Now I have a much better sense of him !

  4. My stepdad And I went to Ronda 30 years ago to see that ring. We parked in a “no parking” place for like 30 mins. Figured it would not be a major problem as the town was quiet. When we came back, my stepdad spotted the car on the tow truck!! He paid the driver in cash on the street to get it back!🤣

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