This is your Ronda interesting gift guide!
I must confess straight away that I am not a shopper. In fact I go to enormous lengths to avoid buying anything – except food of course! That´s another matter. The idea of “shopping therapy” or “shop till you drop” leaves me puzzled.
But as many of my guests spend at least one day shopping in Ronda buying gifts for family, it behoves me to make it easier for me to advise them on where to go and what to buy that is different. After one shopping trip I came to the conclusion that the world is full of what I call international tat – everybody everywhere selling the same stuff.
But Ronda is different and shopping for gifts can be really productive. So John and I took a trip to town, to the bits that visitors frequent to see what we could find that was worth recommending. We found some great places to recommend.
Ronda´s main pedestrian shopping street frequented by locals as well as tourists is called Carrera Espinel. But it is known as Calle la Bola. The reason, so ´tis said, is that a snowball was started at the top and, as it rolled down the gentle slope, got bigger and bigger till it was enormous and dropped into the gorge at the bottom. But that could be apocryphal. There is another reason which is that a ball game used to played there in the XVII century. Sounds more plausible.
There is an underground car park near the top and another near the bottom, both with easy access. John and I parked at the top and walked down and back up seeking out specialities for your delight. Here’s what we found:
Pork in all its many forms is very popular and important in Spain. This is of course largely a result of the Inquisition days when eating port was an essential way to show you were Christian and thus hang on to your head and your gold. Plus pigs are easy creatures to grow and have lots of babies.
VIANDAS – NUMBER 27
There are several ham shops up and down Calle la Bola but we especially like Viandas as they had these cones that you could buy pretty cheaply that gave you a taste of each ham. If you were thinking of buying a whole one, this would be an excellent shop to try.
CORK SHOP – NUMBER 45
The Serrania de Ronda, the mountainous area that includes many small white villages, is home to the forests of cork oaks. Although many wine bottles are not corks anymore, this shop demonstrates the versatility of this incredible material.
CALZADOS LA BOMBA – NUMBER 8
I am told shoes in Spain are very good and Ronda in particular is known for excellent leather products. We found several shoes shops along the length of La Bola and there are actually two La Bombas. They are one of the few shops I can personally vouch for.
CALZADOS NORA – NUMBER 8
After due consideration, we decided this is the place to head if you need a hat. And you do if the sun is out. Or if you have a bald spot! Calzados Nora have a great selection from cheap to more expensive and some Panamas for those with deep pockets.
ARTESANIAS MEDINA – NUMBER 22
Fans fans and more fans. The variety is incredible and you need one. Not only is a fan incredibly useful to have in your bag for whenver you are in a stuffy environment, but it is quintessentially Andalucian. I have a sheet of “fan language” signs to share with you if you ask.
EL PENSAMIENTO – NUMBER 14
This shop is pure delight – even I love browsing it. Wonderful variety of little bits and pieces of all of sorts – and including a great selection of bouncy toys that would delight anybody including me!! Wooden toys for grown-ups and cartoon cars.
RONDA MUSICAL – NUMBER 116
This would not be Andalucia without a great guitar shop again for all pockets. – electric and acoustic But just guitars, they have all sorts of musical instruments and they offer a repair service should your trombone break while on holiday in Ronda!
MERCADO AGUAS DE RONDA – NUMBER 80
If you didn´t make it to Morocco this trip, you can buy an exotic souvenir from this lovely shop. It is run by the same people who run the modern day Hammam by the ancient Arab baths.