Spain
Cuenca

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    • Day 30

      Campo de Criptana

      May 13 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

      Nach Alcázar de San Juan folgt als letzte Windmühlen-Station, Campo de Criptana. Wer hier oben steht merkt auch gleich, warum hier Windmühlen stehen. Unaufhörlich weht der Wind hier und manchmal kommt so eine Windböe, dass ich doch lieber mein Dachfenster wiedee zu mache. Besser is das…

      Ihre Königlichen Hoheiten die Prinzen von Asturien besuchten die Sierra de los Molinos von Campo de Criptana am 10. September 2009.

      Und jetzt noch die letzten Windmühlen-Bilder 😬
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    • Day 142

      Albarracín, ein Dorf im südlichen Aragón

      May 8 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

      Von Cuenca aus machten wir uns weiter ostwärts auf Richtung Saragossa. Als Zwischenstopp, ca. 120 km weiter, haben wir uns das Städtchen Albarracin ausgesucht.

      Schon alleine der Weg dorthin war die Reise wert! Nahezu 100 Kilometer Naturgewalt der unterschiedlichsten Art präsentierten sich uns…
      Zunächst noch durch den Naturpark der Gebirgskette von Cuenca, der uns mit seinen tiefen Wäldern und der Stille und Ruhe seiner unberührten Natur verzauberte erreichten wir später dann die Sierra de Albarracin. Hier, im Süden von Aragón, das landschaftlich geprägt wird durch das Iberische Gebirge (Sistema Ibérico), erleben wir so gewaltig beeindruckende Felsformationen und Hochplateaus mit grünen Wiesen, das uns beinahe der Atem verschlägt. Bis auf mehr als 1.600 Metern geht es hoch hinaus - und entsprechend tun sich tiefe Schluchten auf, die uns eindrucksvolle Weitblicke bieten.
      Auch hier finden wir Gelegenheit, mit der Drohne die Umgebung einzufangen.
      Hätten wir mehr Zeit, würden wir hier gerne einige Tage mehr verbringen und mit dem Rad oder zu Fuß die Umgebung näher zu ergründen….

      Das historische Zentrum von Albarracín umfasst mit gewaltigen Stadtmauern einen ganzen Bergrücken. Über der steilen Schlucht des Flusses Guadalaviar, der den Ort in einer Schleife umfließt, kleben die mittelalterlichen Gebäude mit ihrer rötlichen Verputzung fest am Hang. Über der Altstadt thront auf einem Felsen der „Alcázar de Albarracín“, dessen gut erhaltene Mauern wir erwandern bzw. erklettern.

      Am Ende der Wanderung erstehen wir in zwei kleinen Supermärkten Olivenöl aus der Region und Kartoffeln für eine sehr leckere Tortilla, die wir uns zubereiten.
      Wieder erleben wir einen wunderbaren Tag mit einer Fülle von Eindrücken🍀🍀🍀
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    • Day 20

      Kayaking on the Rio Cabriel

      May 18 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      No sooner had I written yesterday that we were going to chillax today, than I had booked us onto a white-water kayaking trip on the Rio Cabriel. It meant a 10am start from the village.

      We were both expecting something easy, a bit like the River Wye, but it actually turned out to have quite decent rapids. We had to wear wetsuits and helmets which were weren’t expecting.

      The trip included a section where we both had to swim down one of the longer rapids to practice our safety position - on our backs, feet first, knees bent and arms across our chests. It didn’t quite work out like that for one of us!

      We both had to be dragged out of the river at the end of this because we missed the rock in the middle of the river that we were supposed to climb onto 😀. It didn’t really matter because we then had to jump straight back off the rock anyway.

      Really tiring swimming across the river against the current. But also, really good fun.

      Now back at the campsite having a well-deserved beer and sandwich.

      (More photos coming we hope - but we couldn’t take our own phones with us because it was too rough, so relying on the photos taken by the organisers).
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    • Day 215

      La Mancha - pintoresco

      April 3, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

      Nach dem Übernachtungs-, Service- und Einkaufshalt in Alcazar de San Juan steuerten wir auf den Nachbarort Campo de Criptana zu, ist dieser doch auf unserer Landkarte als besonders sehenswert markiert.

      Gross dann die Überraschung, dass wir plötzlich in einer Kalenderbild-Szenerie stehen. Die erhabene Rundsicht auf diesem Hügel über dem Ort lässt uns staunen. Nicht nur, dass diese Windmühlen von einer langen und alten landwirtschaftlichen Tradition erzählen. Sie stehen auch da, als handelte es sich um ehrwürdige Persönlichkeiten, jede mit ihrem je eigenen Gesicht, ihrer eigenen würdevollen Ausstrahlung.

      Eigentlich nicht erstaunlich, dass Don Quichotte - der Ritter von der traurigen Gestalt - vor einer Gruppe von Riesen zu stehen glaubte, als er auf diesen Hügel zu ritt.😉

      Der gepflegte Ort in dieser markanten endlos weiten Landschaft mag zwar ein touristischer Hotspot sein. Wir sind zum Glück an einem Montagmorgen da und können die Magie dieser Landschaft genießen.

      Da der Wetterbericht heute keinen Sonnenuntergang verspricht, verzichten wir darauf, hier oben zu übernachten. Statt dessen fahren wir weiter südwärts ins Quellgebiet des Rio Guadiana, vorbei am Castillo de Peñarroya und am gleichnamigen Stausee.
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    • Day 12

      El Herrumblar to Posada del Campillo

      May 20, 2023 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

      This is now payback time for having taken a day to see Alcala del Jucar. Since I told Clare I’d be in Monteagudo to meet her on Sunday, I’ve got to do some pretty long days to get there. Luckily they are fairly flat, with no stage having more than 300 m of ascent.

      Last night the clouds got really dark and some of the townspeople were hoping for a little bit of rain. Even though the wheat crop has totally failed, if the rain doesn’t come, the almonds, the grapes, and the olives will all die. There has been no rain since last November. It’s the first thing people talk about and the thing that’s on everyone’s mind. The small towns out here all depend on agriculture. The Moroccan guy who helped me get my phone on wifi talked about the lack of rain. The cafe/bar attached to the hostal is seeing the effects. He usually has a bustling breakfast business starting at 6:30. If there’s no one working in the fields, they won’t be coming in for breakfast.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t think I should wait until 630 to contribute to his morning breakfast trade. I wanted to start out and give myself plenty of time to deal with my back. So at about six, I left, having done multiple stretching exercises I found compliments of Ms. Google. As I left, I heard the alarm. The owner had told me yesterday that he would dismantle the alarm so that I could leave without tripping it. But I guess he forgot. I don’t think the three other pilgrims sleeping up there we’re very happy.

      After going through Villaharta, the terrain became much more interesting. Still endless vineyards, but the rolling hills make a difference.

      Since I had been walking through about 20 km of nothing but vineyards, I began to notice features that I had missed before. When the vines are very young, they are enclosed in a green plastic tube, presumably to keep out animals, or maybe to enhance water retention. As they grow, they burst out of those plastic tubes. And then what? Based on what I see, the tubes are left to disintegrate in the soil that nourishes the vines. This reminded me of a recent article I read that estimated that we all consume a credit card’s worth of plastics every day. Are these green tubes just another way we are poisoning ourselves?

      Leaving those profound thoughts aside, I started to focus on my back. During the last 15 km, I stopped two or three times to takeoff my pack, stretch my back and hope that the little pulling would not turn into pain. And I was lucky! Though I arrived in Campillo later than I thought I would, given my early departure, I was very happy that it was a much less painful arrival than yesterday!

      I was happy that some other pilgrims had gone ahead to see if the restaurant would wait to give food to us stragglers. I had a wonderful meal of salad, sea bass, and lemon mousse. And took a walk up to the convent, which, unfortunately, was closed. I had a nice chat with a Dominican caregiver who is connected to the man she’s caring for, but really hoping to get out of this small town.

      It was a great walk, 37 km, with some very wonderful scenery.
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    • Day 12

      Mushrooms and Almonds!

      May 20, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      This morning, as I was leaving Graja De Iniesta, disappointed that I hadn’t found a Café to stop and rest in, I saw a group of women, all dressed in purple and with hair nets on. They were crossing the road in front of me. I asked them what they were doing, and the yexplained that they had just finished their Almuerzo and were heading back to work in the mushroom barns. I asked if I could possibly take a peek inside, I had passed so many of these big industrial buildings with a name indicating that mushrooms were somehow involved with the enterprise, and I was curious.

      One of the shift leaders came over and told me she would love to give me a tour. So in I went. No hairnet needed because of my hat.

      It was really fascinating. The women doing the picking were in little cages that went up and down and back-and-forth to the different rows of mushrooms, which were growing in long tubs about 4’ wide, 4 or 5 on top of each other. Each one of these tubs was full of bright white mushrooms of different sizes The women had their instructions for the day about which size to pick. They all have a set of measuring circles to make sure they pick the right size. They work until the order is filled, but usually ends around one or 2 PM.

      The mushrooms take about three months from seedling to final product, so they are always cycling the growing schedules to make sure there are always mushrooms ready to harvest. In this factory, they sell to fruterías in the region, and to Mercadona and Lidl nationwide. Mushrooms that don’t quite meet up to their standards get sent down the road to a place that cans and bottles them. All picking and stem slicing is done by hand. The rest of the process is automated, filling a plastic container with a green or red indicator to show whether there are too many or too few mushrooms in the container.

      I met one of the owners of this huge business. He was about 40, and he told me that his father started the business 50 years ago, growing mushrooms in caves nearby. And now this has evolved so that their barns replicate cave conditions. Most important is the temperature control. He told me that they are probably the only agricultural endeavor in this part of Spain that remains totally unaffected by the drought. I told him he should consider opening up the place for tours, and he said he would be glad to show any Peregrino around if the time was right.

      The shift leader took me outside and told me that the three brothers who are now the owners are there working in the assembly line every day. In fact, the one I met had been driving a forklift filled with pallets of mushrooms. All workers are dressed in purple fleeces, pants, shirts, etc. Courtesy of the company. She says she really likes her job.

      Shortly after this tour, the Camino took me through almond groves. There was a man working in the fields, so I asked him how things were going. He said that the main problems he’s having is not so much the lack of rain now, but the damage done by a hard freeze on April 5, And now the damage being done by the pulgon, which is some kind of bug that sucks all the liquid out of the leaves in the branches. He ended our conversation by echoing a very common complaint from the people I’ve talked to, which is that the price the farmer gets is pitiful and he’s not sure how much longer he can continue. But then he said with a shrug, but I’ve been here all my life, what else would I do?

      So, with my agricultural lessons concluded, I walked a little further to find a good resting place, so that I could begin my remaining 20 km feeling rested and refreshed. But what a great way to break up the day.
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    • Day 18

      Castillo de Garcimunoz

      July 4, 2020 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      Nach der Besichtigung von Ávila ging es weiter. Hier, in Castillo de Garcimunoz, haben wir einen ganz netten und kostenfreien Stellplatz, direkt an der Burgmauer gefunden. Es gibt hier sogar eine Entsorgungsstation. In der Nacht war es sehr ruhig - ideal für die Weiterfahrt am nächsten Tag.Read more

    • Day 14

      Monteagudo de Salinas to Fuentes

      May 22, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 7 °C

      Wow, only 24 Km! Only 500 m ascent! Everyone left at more or less the same time, around the ungodly late hour of 7:30! Felt like a rest day actually.

      The walk today was virtually all off road. Lots of logging areas (pine, not eucalyptus), through an estate with dire warnings we had been told to ignore. And luckily no one shot at us.

      It was undulating hills and beautiful vistas. In normal times, these fields would be a brilliant, emerald green, with wildflowers lining the path. That’s not at all what it is today, though some of the fields look like they’re trying to make it with a tepid, green color, and a few tenacious wildflowers are dotting the path.

      About 4 km outside of our destination, the clouds darkened, and it started to spit a little rain. But it was just a tease, no rain came, no relief for the farmers.

      We are in a nice little Hotel Rural, the Palancares. We had a decent menu del dia and then afterwards I walked out to see what the signs for the Titanosaurio were. Turns out it’s a model of a dinosaur, to remind everyone of all the bones they have found in the area. There is apparently an excellent paleontology, museum, in Cuenca. So many things to do in Cuenca, and I am very glad that I’ll have a rest day there. But I was disappointed to learn that the longest zip line in Europe is closed during the week.
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    • Day 13

      Campillo de Altobuey to Monteagudo de ln

      May 21, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

      Today, I was expecting a 34 km walk. 3 km more may not seem like a lot, but those last three I was really dragging. I had to stop about once an hour to stretch my back. I saw not one person on the entire walk, no one in the fields, no one in the one town I went through. It was a very solitary day. The high point was definitely the castle and Paracuellos. It is really gorgeous. I didn’t climb around it, mainly because I couldn’t find how to get up to it, but it was beautiful to look at from below.

      I think there has been more water here than in the places further south, where we’ve been, but even so, the crops look terrible. Mainly wheat and lentils. I believe they are all total failures. But the reason I think there has been more water here is because there are a few smattering of wildflowers, and at one point I even had to walk through a bit of mud.

      I am in the town of Monteagudo de las Salinas. Two days from Cuenca, where I will take a rest day. In the one restaurant in town, three Peregrinos converged. Me on the long off-road route from Campillo, Alun on the shorter road route, and Clare, who had come in from Valencia. For the next two days, there will be three of us, and then Alun is probably going to leave, while Clare and I continue on to Burgos.

      I think my days over 35 Km are done now.
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    • Day 16

      Rest day in Cuenca

      May 24, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Like most rest days, I wound up spending most of the time walking. It was fun. A quick synopsis would include a visit to the Cuenca archaeological museum, the Cuenca abstract, art museum, a walk up to the castle, a goodbye lunch in Clare’s pension, and a visit to the Camino association. Just as Lee had told me, Luis said he would have happily let us stay in the albergue for two nights. Oh well, next time.

      Tomorrow begins the second half of this Camino. Alun is going down to Alicante for a few days and then home, so it’s just Clare and I. We were lucky to meet someone at the Association office who has just walked from Cuenca to Burgos. I will write more about the news on the Forum, but the piece of information that stood out most in my mind is that we can no longer climb the Tetas de Viana because the metal staircase at the top has collapsed. And we also learned that the son of the bar owner in Caracena is in the process of opening a Casa Rural in town, and pilgrims can stay there. But we will have plenty of time to figure out whatever adjustments need to be made. For now it’s time for me to go to bed so that I can be sure to make it to the Roman villa in Noheda for an 11:00 tour.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Provincia de Cuenca, Cuenca, Província de Conca, クエンカ

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