Amid tight security, US first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Sasha were today seen in Ronda as she spends 5 days vacationing in Southern Spain, which has also included a visit to the Alhmabra in Granada and a day at the beach in Estepona .
Arriving a little after 10am, the Obama party first visited the Casa Don Bosco and enjoyed a leisurely walk around the old town including past the Mondragon Palace, before spending some time admiring Ronda’s Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor with the resident priest Salvador Guerrero.
Her cavalcade of vehicles also stopped for 30 minutes to enjoy the gardens and mines of the Casa del Rey Moro, where Mrs Obama was overheard telling family members Ronda “is magnificent”. She enjoyed views of the tajo, and was given a brief history of the city by local guide Jesus Naranjo and Gema Carrasco of the Ronda tourism office.
Lunch was a 90 minute affair at Ronda’s exclusive Del Escudero Restaurant directly behind the Plaza de Toros, before resuming her tour of Ronda with a visit to the iconic bullring.
Despite minor complaints in her home country about her vacation, Ronda was all smiles welcoming the first lady, with thousands of well wishers lining the streets to catch a glimpse of Mrs Obama, and 9 year old Sasha Obama.
Asked by Ronda Today what people thought of her visit, most responded warmly, Maria del Mar saying “her visit will surely encourage more tourists”. A common complaint however was that few had the chance to see her as secret service agents blocked her from view.
Though we must remember Mrs Obama’s visit to Ronda was a personal choice whilst she vacations, and not an official state visit, which in fact makes her visit even more special, after all if the US first lady chooses to visit Ronda in her free time, well, that is a positive message for tourism in our little city.
Here is ITN in the UK’s take on Michelle Obama in Spain, the video covers her visit to Spain, and a little about her visit to Granada to see the Alhambra prior to that. All in all, the five days Mrs Obama and daughter Sasha spent in Spain were expected to generate around 800 million Euros in tourist spending over the next 12 months as American and international fans of the Obama family come to see why Spain is so beautiful.
In Ronda, many hotels and restaurants are excited by her visit and hope a lot of visitors will be tempted to stay for a night and enjoy the sites without having to rush as the Obama’s did. Their stay in Ronda was only a few hours, and Michelle has promised to visit again, so that she can take her time experiencing the beauty of Ronda.