This part of the journey was reminder of just how big Spain is as we motored for mile after mile without meeting any other traffic or without passing through towns or villages. The road just kept grinding endlessly on in an easterly direction in a way that reminded me of the tortuous journey through Andalusia in a clapped out Ford Escort in 1986.
Tag Archives: Castilla-La Mancha
It is one of the biggest cathedrals in the world and the interior is not at all austere as some cathedrals can be.
Slightly annoying was the fact that for those who didn’t want to pay the admission charge they could enter by a side door and although they couldn’t walk around freely and see all of the internal rooms and the especially impressive choir area, they could certainly see and appreciate the magnificent structure for free.
While I am on the subject I don’t like it when people get things for free and I don’t like those Alan Titchmarsh garden makeovers or people getting houses decorated by Nick Knowles. Titchmarsh even did a makeover for Nelson Manela who was a millionaire and could surely afford to pay for it himself. Free school meals irritate me because I am paying for them. On the other hand I am comfortable with free prescriptions because I do get them.
The village is built in an obscure valley and it only finally came into view as we turned a sharp corner in the road.
Unusual architecture for a monastery it has to be said with turrets, castellated towers and tiled cupolas that could be mistaken for a fortress or a castle. A towering pot-pourri of grand style in contrast to the rather shabby town below.
I hadn’t realised this but visitors cannot simply wander around the monastery unaccompanied because it has too many precious treasures which are kept behind locked doors so we paid up and tagged onto a tour in meaningless Spanish. It didn’t really matter all that much we just ignored the rat-a-tat-tat of the machine gun commentary and made up our own stories about the exhibits. Visitors are not permitted to take photographs either.
“It gave me vertigo to imagine what it must be like living up there, a permanent aviator above the trees” Ted Walker – ‘In Spain’
“Don Quixote is the national glory of Spain. No one who does not know that has the right to call himself a Spaniard. There is a monument to him in Madrid…he was our first revolutionary.” – Gerald Brenan, ‘South from Granada’
When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.
This one was taken in the Spanish mountain village of Pedro Bernardo in Castilla y Leon…
Hopefully we are on the countdown to overseas travel but until that happy event happens I continue to trawl through the archives. On 11th April 2014 I was in the town of Sigüenza in Spain…
It was raining so we took our time over breakfast and it was mid morning by the time we left the hotel and there was a simple choice – up the hill to the Alcazar or down the hill to the Cathedral. We decided to start at the top of the town and make our way to the bottom.
Lined on each side with caramel coloured houses with terracotta tiled roofs, the Calle de Valencia followed the line of the old medieval town wall and half way to the castle we passed through the Puerto del Porto Mayor which was once the main gateway into the narrow streets of the old town and from here there was a final twisting climb to the Plaza del Castillo and the inevitable Parador Hotel.
While the current travel restrictions are in place I have no new stories to post so what I thought that I would do is to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.
On 13th April 2014 I was in the Spanish town of Siguenza in Castilla-La Mancha.
We had travelled there specifically to see the Holy Week Parade, the Semana Santa which is one of the most important traditional events of the Spanish Catholic year; it is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter and features a procession of Pasos which are floats of lifelike wooden sculptures of individual scenes of the events of the Passion.
Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…
Almagro is an old town that was once much more important than it is today, two hundred and fifty years ago it was for a short time the provincial capital of La Mancha (1750-61) but religious decline set in during the reign of Charles III and it fared badly and suffered damage in the Napoleonic and the Carlist wars.
Eventually it was eclipsed by its neighbour Ciudad Real and it settled down to become the quiet provincial town that it is today on, not being unkind, a secondary, less important, tourist trail. We came upon Almagro quite by chance and chose it for a one night stop-over. We stayed for three!
Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…
From Besalu in Catalonia to Chinchon in Castilla-La Mancha about four hundred and fifty miles to the south.
The Plaza is in a marvellous location with a big irregular shaped square that is used for town festivals and the occasional bullfight; it is surrounded by a hierarchical arrangement of buildings of two and three storeys with two hundred and thirty-four wooden running balconies all painted a uniform shade of green called ‘claros’ and below these shops, bars and restaurants on the ground floor all spilling out onto the pavement.
It was the location for one of the opening scenes, a bullfight as it happens, in the 1966 film, ‘Return of the Magnificent Seven’ and was also used as a location for the film ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’.
Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…