USS Nassau, At Sea (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Nassau (LHA 4) made a port visit to Rota, March 7-10, before transiting the Strait of Gibraltar and entering the Mediterranean Sea while deployed to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.
In addition to the facilities available on base, many Nassau Sailors and Marines signed up for Morale, Welfare and Recreation tours to take a closer look at the culture and history of Spain. One was a guided tour of Ronda, a picturesque town high in the mountains famous for its bullring and scenic vistas.
Ronda also has a tall bridge connecting the new and old town, overlooking a deep gorge between two tall mountain walls. The tour guide mentioned famous artists and writers whose work was inspired while visiting at this same spot.
Old Ronda has the architecture and stone-paved streets of a town full of history. Spanish nobles once owned homes in Ronda and would spend time throughout the year to enjoy the town's mild climate.
The main feature of the tour was the Plaza de toros de Ronda. Built in 1785, it's one of the oldest operational bullrings in Spain.
The Romero family, one of the most famous families of bullfighters, is from Ronda. One member of the family, Pedro Romero, killed more than 5600 bulls in the late 1700s to early 1800s.
The Romeros and others in Ronda pioneered the style of bullfighting we see today, where a matador faces a bull on foot, armed with a cape and a long dagger. Before they developed what is now the standard, bullfighters rode on horseback.
Following the tour of the bullring, participants hit the restaurants and shops in the more modern part of Ronda before heading back to Nassau and making the trip through the Strait of Gibraltar.
For more news from USS Nassau, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha4/.