Places in Spain: themes;

June 2nd, 2010

Trekking in the Sierra Nevada in June

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4025/4660213865_9357f49ce4.jpg I enjoyed this post on the iberianatureforum by Maria: Outside the tapas bars of Lanjaron temperatures reached 30 degrees. 2500m above we donned our duvet jackets as an icy wind tore across the white snow filled plateau. Such are the contrasts this year in southern Spain’s Sierra Nevada, a legacy of the worst winter weather in living memory. Read the original story here:

Cabo de Peñas – the northernmost point of Asturias

Al norte del norte por batiskafo.

Cabo de Peñas in Asturias is the second most northern point in Spain. A well marked trail runs along the rugged coast. The photo is by batiskafo on Flickr.

In the heart of the Picos

Peña Maín por batiskafo.

Photo of the imposing Picos de Europa showing Peña Maín in the centre and my favourite (though not to climb) Naranjo de Bulnes to the left. The photo is by batiskafo on Flickr.

Route up Peña Maín here “From the summit of Peña Main there are spectacular views of the whole of the central massif. This is a lovely route taking you over the Peña Main range and through the farming pastures above Tielve. Care is needed as the paths are not well defined in the higher section of this walk.”

The vineyards of Lanzarote

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Vines in soils of volcanic ash (lapilli) protected by semi-circular dry stone walls in La Geria region of Lanzarote. Single vines are planted in pits 4-5m wide and 2-3m deep, with small stone walls around each pit. This agricultural technique is designed to harvest rainfall and overnight dew and to protect the plants from the winds. The vineyards are part of the World Heritage Site of Lanzarote. The La Gería wines area sub-zone of the Lanzarote Denominación de Origen wine region. More from Wikipedia. By Yummifruitbat on Wikipedia

Teruel bat

Sprawled bat / Murciélago espatarrado by . SantiMB .. Detail of modernist forge of the Staircase of the Paseo del Óvalo. The monumental staircase was built in 1921 to link the new railway station with the old part of the city. The work has modernist and neomudejar details. By SantiMB on Flickr

The Ayoluengo petrol field

The Ayoluengo oil field (campo petrolífero de Ayoluengo) is a small petroleum deposit in Burgos. It was discovered in 1963, and for a time many believed the area would become the Spanish Texas, though yields have been small with 17 million barrels produced since its opening in 1963. Some 80 barrels are currently produced on a good day with some 80-100 million barrels left, of difficult access.

Photo from here

Not the most picturesque of sites perhaps, but when you drive past, you have to remind yourself you’re in Spain. A number of the old pumps (known locally as `caballitos´- little horses ) stand to one side, a  cemetery of dinosaurs.
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The Camín Real de la Mesa

paisaje_con_cabaas_425 The Camín Real de la Mesa, is an ancient Roman trail linking Asturias and León, and forms a tributary of the famous Ruta de la Plata. The trail takes you through some of the most spectacular, least-known scenery in Europe. “For centuries the Camín was one of the few points of contact between the provinces of León and Asturias. It is essentially Roman in construction, but the route has been used for trade for 5,000 years, traversing a mountain range with peaks of 2,000m, reaching into some of Spain’s most wildly beautiful and otherwise inaccessible landscapes. More from the Guardian Looks very tempting.

Rioseco Abbey

Rioseco Abbey (Monasterio cisterciense de Santa María de Rioseco) is a former Cistercian abbey in Rioseco, Burgos. The monastery was dispossessed in the 1820s, during the first Spanish Civil War. Most of the community’s goods were sold, but the monastery itself however found no buyer, and was left abandoned. In the 1850s the surviving buildings were stripped and reduced to ruins. There is now a campaign to save what is left of the the abbey and convert the site into a Romantic (with a capital R) botanical garden. Sounds a lovely idea to me. Continue reading

Las Hoces de Rio Piedra


Las Hoces de Rio Piedra is a delighful verdant gorge running through the sparce uplaods of Daroca in south-eastern Zaragoza near the Castilla-La Mancha border. Griffon vultures soar above the canyon. Makes a nice trip from Gallocanta or Daroca. Continue reading

Monument to woman devoured by wolves

On Mt Gorbea in the Basque Country is a monument to a young shepherdess who was allegedly devoured by wolves in 1308. She became lost in the fog. The next day the only all her family could find were some strands of her hair. The only photo I could find is from this nice cycle blog blog.

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Alcubierre: George Orwell in Aragon

Trazado de las trincheras

George Orwell spent the freezing winter of 1937 on the Alcubierre front in Aragon. The Sierra de Alcubierre at heights of 700-800 metres dominates the plains of the Ebro Depression and who controlled the sierra would control the northern access to Zaragoza, and so the Republican spent great efforts trying to break through the front here. The trenches, refuges and other military remains have been now restored and rebuilt as part of the so-called Ruta George Orwell. Panels explain the historical context. See also Spanish Civil War tours Continue reading

Almanzor Peak

The granite peak of Almanzor (2592 m) is the highest mountain in the Sistema Central, the range that cuts the great Meseta of Spain in two. It crowns an immense glacial cirque in the Sierra de Gredos, known as the Circo de Gredos (read about legend below). The mountain is also known as Pico de Almanzor and Moro Almanzor.

Almanzor takes its name from Al-Mansur (the victorious), the de facto Moorish ruler of Al-Andalus during the late 10th-early 11th centuries. His rule marked what was probably the peak of Islamic power in Spain. Legend has it that Al-Mansur passed by here after a terrible battle with the Christians. He was taken by the beauty of the mountains which at the time functioned as a frontier between Islamic Spain and the Christian lands, and so he decided to set up camp for the night. Under the stars, he was captivated by the stories of shepherds from the area. They told him than in the heart of these mountains, terrible noises could be heard that would echo along the gullies and ravines, and which would shake the very hearts of the people of these parts. The next day, the Moorish king bade the shepherds to lead him to the place they spoke of: a magnificent cirque in centre of the Gredos mountains. When the company reached the place, they were greeted by a deafening silence. Fearful of the Kings reaction, they began to shout his name, which the mountain duly returned amplified as an echo.

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The village of Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente

The great Spanish naturalist Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente was born in the village of Poza de la Sal. He described the village of his birth as a “human community” in “harmonious coexistence with the landscapes” which formed a “zoomorphic universe”. As a child he began to explore the natural area, watching and learning about the wildlife of area, which would later greatly influence his vision of the world. One day he saw a peregrine catch a duck here which led him to the world of falconry and then into natural history film making.

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Cable car in the Picos de Europa

The cable car at Fuente Dé takes you up a dizzying 750 metres past the sheet rock faces in four terrifying or exhilarating minutes, depending on your head for heights, to the wonderful alpine meadows at height of 1850m. The cable car (teleferico in Spanish) is said to be the longest unsupported span of cable car in the world. There isn’t much to Fuente Dé itself save for a campsite and a few bars, but its situation at the foot of the cliffs which tower around forming an incredible glacial cirque is very impressive indeed. Once at the top there is great hiking all around including up to Peña Vieja or Pico Tesorero (2570 m). Alternatively, from here you can walk 2.5 miles to the Refugio de Aliva, which serves snacks and drinks. From here you can take the path down to Espinama below, a few kilometres down the road from Fuente Dé.

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The birthplace of Goya

Hidden away in deepest Aragon is the small village of Fuentedetodos, birthplace of none other than Francisco de Goya. You can visit his modest abode with its spartan furnishings. The house is a typical example of the late 18th century farmhouse. The Museum of Etchings here contains works by Francisco de Goya including some from the series of  the Disasters of War, Los Caprichos, Los Disparates, and La Tauromaquia. Fuentedetodos is set in the stark sheep-rearing highlands of Zaragoza. Continue reading

Aitxuri, the most prominent in the Basque Country

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Aitxuri (1551m) meaning white stone in Basque is the most prominent peak (943 m) in the Basque Country, and the highest in the Montes Vascos. It is located in the limestone massif of Aitzkorri. Photo: wikipedia

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The Arenas de Rey earthquake

The earthquake in Arenas de Rey, Granada in 1884 was the most deadly in modern Spanish history. The earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 6.5-7 (Richter) and an intensity of 10 (MSK). Almost 800 people were killed and 1,500 were injured. 14,000 homes were destroyed. Most of the town was destroyed and so today’s centre dates back to the end of the 19th century, which was rebuilt with money raised throughout Spain.

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Site of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa

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The site of the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, one of the most important in Spanish history. The battle took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain. The forces of King Alfonso VIII of Castile were joined by the armies of his Christian rivals, in battle against the Berber Muslim Almohad rulers of the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula. The crushing defeat of the Almohads significantly hastened their decline both in the Iberian Peninsula and in the Maghreb a decade later. It enabled the Christians to take over almost all of southern Spain in the ensuing forty years. The above painting is a somewhat fanciful portrayal.

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Unspoilt fishing village in Asturias

Lastres is an unpretentious and unspoilt fishing village in Asturias. This is an authentic working fishing village bursting with salty charm.Wonderful fresh fish is to be had at a restaurant at the harbour called El Puerto.

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Arab baths in Jaén

The Baños Arabes in Jaén are considered one of the best examples Moorish hammams in Spain. They were built between the 11th and the 12th centuries, and cover an area of 450m2 making them probably the largest in Europe. The horseshoe arches and brickwork ceilings with their famous star-shaped windows give a nice, airy feel to the place. Most of the baths have been well restored.

The baths are in the Palacio de Villardompardo which also worth a visit. They are free to visit and are open from 9am-8pm between Tuesdays and Fridays and from 9.30am-2.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

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