Secret and Underrated Adventures in Spainlatest issue of AWAYN magazine
A. David Abramovich Consuegra The windmills of Don Quixote Hiking Trip
Consuegra is an exquisite historic town set alongside a range of low mountains. Twelve windmills can be found on the top of the Cerro Calderico ridge, along with a striking 12th period castle. Fans of the Spanish writer, Cervantes, will instantly recognize these windmills, which were prominently featured as the ‘giants’ in the ‘Don Quixote’ novel. Stand proudly atop the ridge, with their white cylindrical towers and blue, pointed roofs. According to local tradition, the windmills, used primarily to grind grain, were passed from father to son for many generations before being ‘retired’ in the 1980’s. The windmills have since been lovingly restored. One of them houses a gift shop while another is a small museum. There’s even a working mill so visitors can see how it works. Check at the tourist office for Don Quixote themed guided tours.
Consuegra’s windmills became famous in the 16th century, when Don Quixote was first published. The windmills were introduced by “Caballeros Sanjuanistas” to help millers. The mechanism was used with the wind to grind grain, most commonly wheat. The windmills were transmitted from fathers to sons. They stopped being used at the beginning of the 1980s. The Calderico ridge is a rocky bluff which rises above the plain of La Mancha. This is the location of the La Muela or Consuegra castle, which is Muslim in origin but reformed and protracted during the 12th century by the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. It has three defensive enclosures and has been restored in recent decades. However this ridge is known above all because it is home to twelve of the thirteen windmills that originally stood here, all of which have been christened with names taken from the immortal work 'Don Quixote'.
This spot, Asturias that lies in the north of Spain, is perfect for taking visit into the calm of the nature, forgetting about the stressful on goings of life. The scenic beauty of high-altitude terraces is beyond amazing where the cool and clean breeze provides a joyful experience to the soul. This place is surrounded by dense green region of Spain, in the Cantabrian coast whereas three times of its total land area consist of the protected nature areas which are kept in their natural form to prevent from any damage, thereby exhibiting a more beautiful and stunning appearance to all the viewers. Visit to Asturias will certainly leave you with unforgettable memories.
Picos de Europa National Park was Spain's first to obtain this designation. His history dates back to 1918 when the Marquis of Villaviciosa, Don Pedro Pidal, promoted the law to create the Montaña de Covadonga National Park, which was named the Picos de Europa National Park on May 30, 1995. The designation of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve was provided to this natural area in 2002.
There are three main massifs in the Picos de Europa Mountains: Massif East or Andara, Massif Central or Urrieles, and Massif Western or Cornión. The climate is humid and rainy because it is affected by the ocean (only 20 km away). It's winter snowing, but it's not strange to find year-round snowfields. Because of the distinctive park climate, there are often fog banks, much feared by mountain climbers. It stands out owing to its strong relief in terms of its orography, where deep ravines and canyons follow high peaks. The hills in more than 200 locations are more than 2,000 meters above sea level and there are more than 2,300 meter high slopes. The most abrupt of the three is the central massif with the largest peaks: Torrecerredo (2,646 m), the area's largest peak, Naranjo de Bulnes (2,519 m) and Pico Tesorero (2,570 m). The longest is the eastern massif, where high peaks such as Peña Santa de Castilla (2,596 meters) alternate with meadows, mountain forests, beeke forests, oak groves and heathland. In this massif you will find the famous Covadonga Lakes. The eastern massif is shorter and lower, as opposed to the sharp crags of the green pastureland. Four rivers flow through the park along deep ravines: La Hermida Gorge's Deva River; Los Beyos Gorge's Sella River; Garganta Divina Gorge's Cares River; and La India's Duje River Gorges. There are many points of perspective from which we can contemplate its beauty. A good option is to use the cable car from Fuentedé that will take you 1,800 meters above sea level.
Apart from their extreme beauty, the mountains in the province of Ourense, North Spain, hide some pretty unique secrets. Those kinds of secrets which are only known by the locals, and you are most likely not going to find anything about them except in some Portuguese or Spanish tourist guides.
One of those secrets lies in the municipality of Bande. Here in the heart of the mountains, in a place called Os Baños, you will find the Roman camp site of Aquis Querquennis, simply known as A Cidá. The view is breathless: the ancient roman ruins facing the river, the luxurious sea of green trees surrounding the area and the mountains all around you.
You feel almost like you travelled back in time, and you can almost feel the presence of the Roman Centurions and Soldiers, who left the place in the 2nd century. And suddenly, near this camp site, you notice something: the well preserved ancient Roman Baths. The hot water comes out of the rock and fills these old stone pools. The water is amazing, even said to be miraculous for your health. The different pools have different water temperatures, so you can choose the one you’re more comfortable in. It’s a relaxing experience and you would not want get out of there so soon. My advice would be to go there in the summer, since in the winter the river water’s rise and may cover the pools.
Another one of those best kept secrets in Ourense is located 30 minutes away from Bande, in a place called Lóbios. There you will find a thermal water pool outside of a Spa. Contrary to the Roman Baths, this one is more family friendly since you have everything there, like showers and bins, and you’re in the heart of the village, so you have cafés and supermarkets near you.
The scenery is still beautiful: you’re in the middle of the same luxurious green mountains and you have the crystal clear river Caldo just by the pool. The pool’s hot water merges with the river, and you end up with different water temperatures along it. It is always fun to go for a swim and check it out.
Whether you want the more secluded and historic experience of Bande, or the more familiar and comfortable one of Lóbios, the truth is that you will have a great and relaxing moment in these magical mountains. They are completely free to use, so why not check them both?
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Bob Wallace Mediano Reservoir from Samitier Castle
In the southwest of Europe, the Pyrenees mountains originate and form a border between Spain and France. The highest of the peaks of this mountainous range can reach up to 3400 m while a series of green stripes (lines) also arise and move outwards from Pyrenees mountain range through the French region, which are actually hill rows that are around 400 meters at their highest point. Two turquoise colored bright lakes are locates in the border side of Spain and these are the Mediano reservoir having 1714 Ha surface area and also the EI Grado reservoir while both these dams been establishes on Cinca River.
Monsanto Village (Alcains, Portugal) Houses are tucked between, on, and under giant rocks. In 1938, Monsanto's village once dubbed the most "Portuguese city in Portugal." However, at first glance, Monsanto certainly no longer appears as the whole country's consultant. For one thing, among tremendous boulders, most Portuguese houses are not sandwiched. Defined with the help of its landscape, Monsanto hangs up a mountain top overlooking the Portuguese countryside with miles of views. The mountaintop was sincerely the strategic position that was extremely necessary because of the prehistoric times. It is overwhelmed in the 19th century by the stays of a Templar castle, once partially destroyed by an explosion. Within years, the village has hardly changed and enjoys the difference as a dwelling museum in Portugal. Monsanto can not be modified because of this standing and has retained its classic charm of the village. Its tiny streets are winding against mossy boulders at a steep grade of previous red-roofed cottages. Some of the rocks are actually door-shaped, resulting in properly carved structures in the rocky landscape. While the mountain city appears somewhat unorthodox, it is truly a special twist on traditional Portuguese architecture. Walking along the paved streets, it quickly becomes apparent that Monsanto is Portugal's microcosm. In a number of buildings and a church, the architecture even incorporates the Portuguese Manueline style. While it sincerely represents the classic Portuguese village style, the cottages built in boulder chic will undoubtedly impress site visitors more than the medieval Romanesque or Manueline cottages.