The story of El Rincón in Ronda – the “City of Dreams”

The story of El Rincón in Ronda – the “City of Dreams”

Paul Whitelock looks back fondly to a period of his life in the mid-2000s which was dominated by his relationship with El Rincón.

When I took my then girlfriend Maud to Ronda for a long weekend in September 2005 she loved the “City of Dreams” so much that she bought a house there on the spur of the moment! Located in the Las Peñas district, it was small and in urgent need of a makeover, but it was very quaint, had a big garden considering it was in the centre of Ronda and, more importantly, it was dirt cheap.

We called it El Rincón because it was sort of tucked away in a corner. The Spanish word means internal corner or nook and the name seemed appropriate.

The house and garden needed a lot of work, which I happily took on. Maud was still working full time in the UK, but I was retired, so I was able to spend months in Ronda re-wiring, building a new bathroom, tiling floors and creating a rather lovely terraced garden with shady pérgola at the rear of the house. We invested in lots of plants and acquired a large quantity of ornamental stones and pebbles free of charge (see Getting Stuff for Free in the Serranía de Ronda). A good lick of paint and after many months El Rincón was finished.

Maud bought expensive solid wooden furniture in a traditional rustic style for the house. The furniture shop Hermanos Rojas in Ronda made a lot of money from us that summer!

Maud’s three daughters, their boyfriends, her brother and a few friends all came to stay in El Rincón, or “Rinc”, as we called it. Her youngest daughter, Welsh-born Becky, and her fiancé, Scotsman Graham, were the most frequent visitors and they helped a lot with the building work and gardening. They loved Ronda so much that they decided they would like to get married in the town and asked me if I could organise the wedding for them. “No problem!” I said. That was my first mistake! Read what happened next in A Celtic Wedding in Ronda.

A couple of years went by and Maud and I broke up, although we remained good friends and kept in touch. After a while Maud put “Rinc” on the market, but it was post-2008 and the worldwide economic crash, so the housing market was dead.

By this time I was living full-time in Montejaque, near Ronda, with the Meter Maid, whom I’d met in Ronda in September 2008 at the Feria de Pedro Romero.

In Spring 2010 an English shopkeeper friend, “Soapy” Sara (she sold handmaid soaps from a shop on Calle Sevilla, Ronda) asked if I knew of any houses for sale in Ronda. “No, not really,” I replied.

“Hang on a minute! Maybe I do…”. I rang Maud straightaway to see if “Rinc” was still for sale, and, to cut a long story short, Sara viewed “Rinc”, loved it and negotiated by phone and email with Maud, and agreed a price.

It was 27 June 2010. Mary flew out, we all went to the notary in the morning and in the afternoon Jojo, the Meter Maid’s youngest son, who was staying with us, went to the terrace of Bar La Farola in Plaza Carmen Abela and watched the World Cup match in South Africa when England lost 1-4 to Germany in the Quarter Finals. This was the infamous match where Frank Lampard’s “goal” was disallowed, even though everyone but the referee could see that the ball was clearly over the line! We wuz robbed!

In the evening, Maud, Rita, Jojo and I enjoyed a delicious meal together in one of our (Maud’s, Rita’s and my) favourite restaurants, Restaurante El Almocábar in the Barrio San Francisco. As always, Manolo, the owner, did us proud, as we celebrated the sale of El Rincón and drowned our sorrows over England’s defeat that afternoon.

So, that was the end of an era. With El Rincón sold, Maud’s relationship with Ronda came to a final and poignant end.

Later that summer, Paul and Rita “jumped the broom” at Maulbronn Abbey in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, and the rest is history.

They recently “celebrated” their 10th wedding anniversary – not! Spain was still in lockdown, so they couldn’t go away anywhere. They couldn’t even go out for a meal, as the restaurants were all closed. “Bloody Covid-19!” said Paul at the time. “Only good thing is, look at the money I’ve saved!” The couple made up for their disappointment later in the summer when things got back to the “new normal”, and they were able to dine at their current favourite restaurant, La Cascada at Hotel Molino del Puente.

Paul Whitelock

About Paul Whitelock

Paul Whitelock is a retired former languages teacher, school inspector and translator, who emigrated to the Serranía de Ronda in 2008, where he lives with his second wife, Rita, and his dog, Berti. He spends his time between Montejaque and Ronda doing DIY, gardening and writing.