Spain
Castille-La Mancha

Here you’ll find travel reports about Castille-La Mancha. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

87 travelers at this place:

  • Day188

    Toledo

    November 28, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    We spent a day looking around this city, which used to be the capital city of Spain until Madrid took over in the 1500s.
    It is quite a place, with a rich roman history. We parked overnight just outside the northern walls of the old city. The old city is built high on a hill dominating the surrounding plain on one side and protected by a gorge on the other. It is crammed full of churches, all massive, and they seem to be on every corner.
    The Alcazar is now home to a modern military museum and the city library. It is massive and dominates the sky line along with the cathedral.
    I was hoping for a good look at the roman aquaduct, but it has long perished with just a trace of it left one the side of the gorge, however there are some interesting remains of the old roman circus near to where we parked up.
    The old city was quiet quiet and seemed to be full of walking tours and Japanese visitors. If you want to buy a sword this is the place to come.
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  • Day591

    A2 layby, Parador Torremocha del Campo

    February 7, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    The ground had frozen overninght but the roads were dry and clear. There was a free stopover in a nice little hill town not too far away, so after a while we left the motorway and made our way up the winding rural road, climbing above 1km and the snowline. As we ascended, the snow became deeper and deeper, but the road was still uncovered so we continued. Arriving into the town, we spotted the blue 'P' sign clearly marking our intended stopover. Unfortunately it was under about 20cm of snow; there was no way we were going to risk getting stuck so we carried on past the mini snowplough (busy widening the path along the main road) and did a 3 point turn at a T-junction to follow the same route back down the hill.

    Carrying on, Plan B was to camp beside the A2, on a slightly downhill stretch. There was supposed to be a pull off, seperated from the road by a semicircle of grass, trees and picnic tables, but this too was covered in snow, so we parked at its entrance. It was quite beautiful to see the whitened landscape all around but because of the altitude, the air pressure was only 900hPa and as the sun set the temperature dropped fast! We battoned down the hatches; closed all blinds, put the mats on the front windows, drew curtains and opened the floor heating vents. We watched the outside thermometer reading fall to below 0°C, then continue decreasing to -5°C, -9°C until when Vicky took Poppy out just after 3am it was -12.1°C. The recorded minimum reached was -12.3°C!!! We spent Christmas in Austria last year and the lowest it got was -8°C!

    Luckily there was no wind and the air was dry, but Vicky still had rather a resteless night worrying about whether the van systems would hold up; the fridge had already given up trying to light. When morning came our living area was still warm and there was nothing obviously wrong with the van. There was ice on the inside of the cab windows and the waste water had frozen, meaning the sinks backed up when we tried to drain them.

    It was beautiful watching the sun's rays creep over the bright white snow, making the crystals sparkle as they did. Even though the temperature was rising we thought it best not to tempt fate with the van systems any longer, but to get the engine running and hopefully escape to a warmer area pronto. The engine made a funny noise for a few seconds after starting but functioned perfectly after that. The water tank would defrost eventually...
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  • Day22

    Walking around the walls of Toledo

    July 19, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Toledo is entirely encircled by massive medieval and Roman walls, just like the old city of Jerusalem. It is a citadel of considerable size. It sits on a steep hill with a river bend sweeping around it much lower in the valley. The fortress would have been impregnable. The gates and towers can be climbed and the views are spectacular.

    I went for a walk right around the city. It took about one and a half hours to get right around but it was worth it for the amazing views of this magnificent city.
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  • Day22

    Alcazar of Toledo

    July 19, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    The Royal Palace (Alcazar) of Toledo sits prominently on top of the hill which is completely encircled by medieval walls and gates which enclose the old city. Our hotel is right in the centre of the old city. The walls and gates around us remind me distinctly of those in Jerusalem.

    It is only a short walk from our hotel to the Alcazar. We set off for what we thought was going to be a visit for 1-2 hours. It took four hours. The Alcazar has, since 2010, housed the main museum of the Spanish Army. It is a War Museum of the whole of Spain's military history from ancient times until the present. There are about seven floors of exhibits moving more recent in time as one climbs higher in the Palace. It is similar in size and scope to the French military museum in Paris.

    It was a revelation to Sam to see that a country could have a military history spanning not just a few centuries but more than two millenia. The complex military history of Spain was somewhat clearer after spending over four hours moving from ancient Roman Spain to the present, but it is a complicated history. One thing is clear, the history of Spain, like so many other European nations, is a history of war, bloodshed, power struggles, empire-building, victories and defeats.

    The Spanish military history includes: Roman invasion an empire, Visigoth invasion and empire, Christians, Moors and muslims of various kinds and their empire, the Catholic invasion and their empire, the Spanish expansion beginning with Columbus into the new world in South America, but also later into other areas like the Philippines who were a Spanish colony, the Napoleanic Invasion, Austrian Hapsburg invasion and empire, the Spanish civil war of the early 20th century, the Franco dictatorship which lasted from 1940 till 1975, then a parliamentary democracy with a monarchy restored. All that and more. And everything explained and exhibited in this amazing museum.

    The weapons, military paraphernalia, uniforms and tactics were all displayed from each period. It began with Roman weapons and armour, right through medieval, moorish, renaissance, to more modern weapons and uniform. An incredible collection. It is hard to fathom how many suits of armour, swords, spears, pikes, pistols, muskets, rifles, cannons, artillery of all kinds were in this collection. Amazing. Very educational. I can only imagine how interesting it would be to teach history in this country and be able to bring the students to such a place to see the artefacts.

    The building in which this museum is housed is a sight in itself. It is a palace with four huge towers on each corner. It stands out on the city skyline. The foundations were laid by the Romans in the first and second century. Since then there have been many iterations of this fortress in that very place, and many of the walls have been excavated and these also are on display deep below the current floor level of the palace, three-four levels below ground.

    It was a fantastic experience going through the museum. Sam and I got mentally fatigued trying to take it all in. But it was a revelation.

    Toledo is the location where the weapons factory for Spain was located. It is famous for its knives, swords, armour and weapons made from metal. Toledo steel is famous and all the tourist shops sell swords, armour, pistols, rifles, muskets as souvenirs. There are more swords in this town than people. It is extraordinary. There are enough weapons in the tourist shops here to arm and entire regiment. Sam is quite keen to buy some swords and pistols but I am not sure how customs woulr view them in Sydney airport.
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  • Day592

    Guadalajara shopping centre

    February 8, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 3 °C

    A night at temperatures as low as -12.3°C had taken its toll on our batteries and LPG supplies, so we wanted to get some kilometres under our belts (to charge the van) and some gas in our tanks. Our first stop was a petrol station with van services. Unfortunately they were up a slope that hadn't been cleared of snow. We were sensible and didn't attempt to reach them in the van. Will emptyied the toilet but their fresh water tap was frozen and so was our waste water, so that was all we could do.

    We breathed a sigh of relief when we managed to fill up with LPG at the next stop. We weren't too low, but we always feel more secure with at least one full tank.

    By the time we reached Guadalajara, we'd dropped below the snowline and the ground was clear. A shopping centre with a large supermarket stood on the outskirts of the town and it was in one of its car parks that we stayed, next to caravans belonging to 'Cirkus Kaos'. It wasn't scenic and it was occasionally noisy with the circus lorries passing by, but it was above freezing, dry, free and we managed to park over a drain so we could leave our waste water tank open to drain when it defrosted. Will popped out for some bread and pastries and after lunch we hit the shops! We managed to get some loose camomile for tea at a little health food shop (the first time we'd seen it in Spain) and the supermarket contained a lot of organic produce, so we stocked up. We also managed to tick several things off our long term shopping list, something that isn't that easy when we don't know the local shops and can't order online!

    The following day Will took a walk in to town and again brought Vicky back something sweet (pastries yesterday, cream slice today). Anyone would think he's attempting to apply some positive reinforcement behaviour therapy! Vicky doesn't mind, she gets to eat cake! Guadalajara was quiet and sprawling with a number of organic shops. It was a shame we'd stocked up at the supermarket!

    A few days ago we'd applied through WWOOF España (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) to volunteer at a small farm growing olives, almonds and figs. While we were at Guadalajara we recieved confirmation of a 2 week placement beginning on 22nd Febraury! We were pretty excited as the farm is in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains SE of Granada, so should be an intersting place to work. There are WWOOF organisations in many different countries. We've previously been WWOOFing in Sweden and Belgium. These were both fun and rewarding experiences and a great way to learn more about the countries.

    Here's a link to the main WWOOF website if you are interested in finding out more: http://wwoof.net/
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  • Day596

    Castillo de Garcimuñoz

    February 12, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    We needed to make headway down south to where our WWOOF placement is due to begin in 10 days time. We therefore allowed motorways on the sat nav and took a direct route to the aire at Castillo de Garcimuñoz, next to its grey stone brick castle wall. At over 900m above sea level there were still patches of snow on the ground. It was quiet and overlooked a few garages and the terracotta tiled roofs of small outhouses, to rolling hills dotted with low trees, in the middle distance.

    Despite Vicky's prescription working to build up her Vitamin D levels, she was once again too weak to go out. She was however happy for Will to make his way in to the little town and buy a coffee and olives at a local bar. The castle looked interesting but was closed for renovation so we weren't able to explore inside. As darkness fell we heard a strange wailing outside. A flock of sheep that were close but hidden from us were bleating. We looked once the morning came but still couldn't see them. As well as being almost barren of vegetation, much of the countryside in this area has been devoid of farm animals as far as we've been able to see.
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  • Day597

    Chinchilla de Montearagón

    February 13, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 4 °C

    On today's journey we passed a wind farm of a couple of hundred turbines. Considering the lack of fertility in the earth around here it was a great way to transform the productivity of the area.

    Much of the motorwayside landscape remained the same red or yellow ochre rolling hills and flat plains that are coming to represent Spain in our minds. The distinctively named Chinchilla de Montearagón was mounted on one such hill, but provided a large flat gravel car park from which the town rose on 3 sides. Will went exploring up the steep narrow lanes and the elevation provided far ranging views of the surrounding countryside. After all his exertion be found a bar for a refreshing beer that came with salted nuts and a huge pork scratching.Read more

  • Day21

    Arriving in Toledo

    July 18, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Toledo is a spectacular town. Driving towards the city on the hill is a memorable experience due to the impressive fort and cathedral on the hill, along with all the other old buildings. The whole old part of the city is declared at World Heritage Site by Unesco. This town goes back to Roman times, but the medieval buildings are most impressive. It is one of the nicest places we have visited.

    Our hotel room is very spacious. It has three rooms and has a fridge, stove, dishwasher and clothes washer. It is really an apartment on the top storey of a Medival style building. There is also a terrace from which I can see the palace and the cathedral. Great spot!

    I went for a wander around the old city, which is on a hill so it is quite steep in parts. Once again there is a Jewish Quarter (Juderia) in this city. All these old Spanish towns have had a Jewish Quarter, where the Jews lived and thrived before the tragic expulsion and persecution of the 14th and 15th centuries.

    There are three synagogues in Spain which date from the period before the expulsion in 1492. One was in Cordoba, which was closes but I was able to see from the outside, and the other two are here in Toledo. It is amazing to see two synagogues which date from the early medieval period in one town in Spain.

    The first synagogue has been converted into a church. It is known and the Synagogue de Santa Maria de Blanca. The second synagogue is now a Sephardic Museum and which looks really interesting. Both were closed this evening so I was only able to view them from outside, but I hope to return to them tomorrow to see them inside.

    The Jewish Quarter has been marked by the Jews with all these little tiles on the streets with little Jewish symbols - little menorahs, little snippets of Hebrew, little Sephardic symbols and also signs that tell you that you are in the Jewish Quarter. There are hardly any Jews living in Toledo today, but the Jews have let everyone know that they were here and they don't want people to forget how badly they were treated.

    There is a little shop next to one of the synagogues that has a reminder message of the dry bones of Ezekiel 37 to highlight that despite the persecutions and expulsions, the Jews are still here and not going away.

    The sunset over the valley in Toledo this evening was spectacular. We had Maccas for dinner, just to be classy, and to keep Sam happy.
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  • Day22

    Two medieval synagogues

    July 19, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    Two out of the three synagogues that remain intact in Spain from the Medieval period are here in Toledo. The third is in Cordoba where were yesterday. At about 5 pm I walked to the Jewish Quarter to investigate both.

    The first synagogue I went into is called the Synagogue of El Transito. Originally it was built by Samuel ha-Levi Abulafia and it was joined to his palatial home as his personal place of worship. He was from a very prominent family of Jews who had been served the Castillian kings for many generations and had grown rich and powerful. The founder eventually lost favour of the royal family and he was executed when things went sour for the Jews. It was first built in 1356, just prior to the persecution of the Jews commencing in Spain.

    The synagogue was very large and built in a unique style which incorporated Muslim elements. In fact, the stucco wall decorations are in the Mudejar style similar to the ornate Al Hambra in Granada. The wooden ceiling is ornate and clearly influenced by Moorish style. It is possible that the Muslims actually did much of the work as they were the most skilled tradesmen in Spain in that period.

    This synagogue is now a Museum of Sephardic Jewish culture. The rooms to the side of the synagogue are filled with interesting Jewish exhibits and the garden has large Jewish tombstones that have been recovered from around Spain from the pre-expulsion period.

    The second synagogue I visited is called the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca and it was even more surprising than the first. It is made of columns and arches clearly in the Muslim style. It was converted into a church after the expulsion of 1492 but the essential nature of the building was unchanged. It has now become a museum for its history as a rare 14th-century synagogue.

    It was fascinating to tour these two Jewish places of worship, knowing what we know now about what happened to the Jews in Spain and their Sephardic culture. There are a couple of really fascinating Jewish shops near the synagogues in which I also spent some time browsing the books, manuscripts and maps they had for sale. There was an old scroll of the book of Esther for sale. They even had Asterix books for sale in Hebrew. I was tempted but resisted.
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  • Day21

    Driving from Cordoba to Toledo

    July 18, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    It takes about 3 and a half hours to drive from Cordoba to Toledo on the excellent Spanish roads. We left Cordoba at about 12:30pm and expected to arrive in Toledo at about 4:00pm. However, we were dirving along the motorway and two things coincided - we had to stop for petrol and we did so in sight of a very spectacular old fortress on a hill with old windmills surrounding it.

    After filling the car with unleaded fuel, we could not resist finding the way up the hill towards the fort. In doing so we passed through a beautiful little Spanish town called Consuegra. The fortress dates back to Roman and Muslim times.

    The fortress and the windmills are actually famous. The fort is the home of the Order of Knights of St John of Jerusalem (Hospitallers) from 1197. Before that, in 1097, Diego, son of Mia Cid, lost his life defending the fort against the invading Muslims.

    This town is also the territory of the fictional figure Don Quixote, as described by author Miguel de Cervantes in 1615 in what is considered to be the world's first novel. It was entitled Don Quixote of La Mancha. La Mancha is the Spanish area we drove through today, and it literally means 'the dry land' in Arabic, because it is so dry in the summer months.

    The fort was amazing - a real medieval fortress with towers, long rooms, prisons, cisterns for water, 5m thick walls, a drawbridge, and much more. There was even a chest containing swords and a shield, which Sam immediately picked up and wielded dangerously. There was also an area within the walls into which villagers could flee and bring their cattle, sheep and horses and keep them safe in the event of an attacking army. The main cistern was huge and could have supplied water to the fort for months.

    The windmills date from the 16th century and they are amazing examples of how medieval people milled grain when water was not able to be reliably used to turn wheels and millstones. The huge windmills have huge millstones within them which are ingeniously designed for milling grain. We could climb up inside one of them and see the extraordinary oak wooden mechanisms inside for milling the grain.

    The stop at Consuegra was well worth it, even though we didn't end up pulling into Toledo until about 6 pm.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Castilla-La Mancha, Südkastilien, Castille-La Mancha, Castiella-La Mancha, كاستيا-لا مانتشا, كاستيا لا مانتشا, Kastiliya-La Mança, Кастылія — Ла-Манча, Кастилия - Ла Манча, Kastilha-La Mancha, Castella i la Manxa, Kastilie-La Mancha, Καστίλλη-Λα Μάντσα, Kastilio-Manĉo, Castilla–La Mancha, Gaztela-Mantxa, کاستیا-لامانچا, Kastilia- La Mancha, Castille-La Manche, Castilye-La Mange, Kastylje-La Mancha, Castela-A Mancha, קסטיליה-לה מנצה, कास्तिया-ला मांचा, Kastilja-La Mancha, Kasztília-La Mancha, Կաստիլիա-Լա Մանչա, Castilia-La Mancha, Kastilia-La Mancha, Kastilía-La Mancha, Castiglia-La Mancia, カスティーリャ・ラ・マンチャ州, Castile-La Mancha, კასტილია-ლა მანჩა, Кастилия — Ла-Манча, 카스티야라만차 지방, Kastil-La Mancha, Castella-Manica, Kastilien-La Mancha, Kastilija ir La Manča, Kastīlija-Lamanča, Кастилја-Ла Манча, Castillān-La Mancha, Castilië-La Mancha, Castilla La Mancha, Castelha-La Mancha, Кастили — Ла-Манчæ, Kastylia-La Mancha, Castija-La Mancha, کیستلا لامانچا, Castela-Mancha, Kastilla Manchapas, Castigghia-La Mancia, Кастиља-Ла Манча, แคว้นคาสตีล-ลามันชา, Kastilya-La Mancha, Кастілія-Ла-Манча, 卡斯蒂利亚-拉曼恰

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