Archive for August 27th, 2016

August 27, 2016

Fortified Alarcon, and the Serrania de Cuenca

 Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon  Alarcon Ciudad Encantada  Toba  Toba  Toba  Toba  Uña  Uña  Uña  Uña  Uña

This has been a wonderful trip with the family that will stay with us for a long time. I do travel quite a bit either on business or my football/soccer fanatic friends, but going with the family to areas new and old has been fantastic.

And we move on to the fortified town of Alarcon with its towers and castle. We moved up from our previous post on Belmonte to Alarcon on the road N420 and then the old N III. You come on a mountaineous area throught the gate of the bridge or Puerta del Puente.

The tourist office  in Spanish from the province of Cuenca is here:,22329/dTabID__1/tabid__9384/Default.aspx

You have the tourist office of the region or autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha here with a gorgeous photo:

You see immediately the castle like a spiral on a hill as you come around by car up the hilly road into the main square of town. The town takes its name from king  Alarico,a visigoth that conquest the fortress from the Romans; today you can still the ramparts wall of this fortress. By  784AD it took refuge here the Moorish invaders and the siege on it took about nine months , that the Moors call the Spanish conqueror Fernán Martínez de Ceballos in 1184AD the year of Alarcon. The castle today is a small parador or tourist residence you can rent out!. More here in English:

The Church of Santa Maria sits here smallist fortified alike but very richly ornate on the tympan doors. Built between 1520 and 1565  More on the Church here;

You,also, get to see the 13C Church of Santa Trinidad as you entered the town after the castle. More here in Spanish as well :

The center for contemporary Arts on mural paintings sits right in the main plaza or square on a former Church( St John the Baptist). More in English here:

From here not far, we headed back to our base but having done so early we took an extra ride up the mountains of the Serrania de Cuenca to as much as 1900 meters ( about 6270 feet) seeking lovely villages of Toba and its Dam and Uña and the lagoon as well as Ciudad Encantada.

The Embalse de Toba or water reservoir you can fish and swim as long as the waters are not full and with careful précautions. It is beautiful country that I hope the pictures will tell. It is part of the town of Uña a bit further downhill.  From the water organism in Spanish you have info on the embalses in the region of Castilla la Mancha and of course Toba here:

The Laguna de Uña was created way back by king Alfonso XIII that was done as soon as the embalse de Toba was done early in the last century . Now it has a water current into and out by canalisation from the Salto de  Villalba de la Sierra, to generate electricity in the hydroelectric plant. This site in Spanish for a rural house ad tells nicely about the laguna de Uña:

Finally, one of the most popular tourist sites in the area for those who like mountaineering, walks:trekking, and nature in general. However, best to do this in better weather as the heat of these days in the 30’sC would make a trip like this not useful. Anyway ,Ciudad Encantada or enchanted city is wonderful; and recommended by all locals.  Here you see stone mountains turn into statues, objects, monuments to look at marvelously done by nature. It has guided tours to explain all for five euros admission, and check ahead as weather is important here. More in English here:

And we just came down for a few minutes drive to our house in the mountains near here. I must say that we are not nature aficionados per se, and prefers the city life, but having come to these places makes you aware of their inhered beauty and pleasant surrounding that makes a trip worthwhile after all. Enjoy nature ! and the photos.



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August 27, 2016

CLM and Comu. de Madrid:Torrejon de Ardoz,Huete,Ségobriga,and Belmonte.

To continue our story with our beloved Spain , we went by our own car on the road of Castile=Castilla. We went to Torrejon de Ardoz to revisit some shopping center and then down to Huete to visit a cheese factory and further down to Ségobriga archeological site (Roman times)  and onwards to Belmonte to visit a castle. I am a road warrior, I tell you ::)

We went straight to Torrejon de Ardoz on the A40/A3/M50/CM420 right into our old ave de la constitucion to see the old town where I used to come as a Young teen ,and took my boys when very Young to shop at the Toys ‘R Us store in the shopping center parque Corredor. Well we came back with them much older and it was a nice memorable trip. Of course,this time we did not stop at Toys’R Us but it was a chance for them to now pay their own and buy us some drinks lol!!! The shopping center is loaded with stores (about 180 of them) and restaurants and a good stopping point out of Madrid as well to shop better prices. Here is the link:

And you don’t need a car if coming from Madrid, as from Avenida  America bus depot you can take bus 224A  to Torrejon de Ardoz and there take the bus to the shopping center  Parque Corredor on No 252 or bus 4.

site on the manchego cheese from the tourist office here:

The lacto ganadera Rio Mayor in Huete or OPTA produces very good manchego cheese from the brebis Young goat, we had the El Ermita brand from the supermarket before and we went to Opta on site, very good black label=etiqueta negra more here:

There was a pepino de Huete festival on August 9th, and we had a blast with the peppers tasting and local white wines, on a market ambiance festivity. More here in Spanish:

We had time to wandered the Streets of Huete and see its arquitecture richness for a small town, very good. The Antiguo monasterio de Santo Domingo de Guzmán founded in 1620.|0&id=enlace11

The Casa Palacio de los Condes de Garcinarro; built mid 15C, here stayed the King Felipe III in 1604; more here:|0&id=enlace14

The Church Monastery of Antiguo monasterio de Santa María de la Merced build between 1668-1684 more here:|0&id=enlace3

Torre del reloj build on the old city hall and done in 1795.right alongside the wall encircling the old town. More views here after restoration in the city page:

In Ségobriga , (Salieces) they have found practically a city of Roman times fully excavated that is quite large, the information desk told us about 1H30 so in the scorching sun of about 35C we decided it was too much to do, we will come back in better walking weather but the site is a must.  It is known as the Parque Archeologico de Segobriga. We just stopped by to see the détails and gather information; you have more info here in Spanish:

And in English from Spain tourist office here :

We finally set route for Belmonte one of the best preserve castles in the region of Castilla La Mancha South of Madrid.  There is always something going on here even of medieval looks, and it is wonderful a must to visit. We did not have time to see it all but is on our agenda to come back for more here.  The castle page in English is here:

The Castle of Belmonte, built in the later part of the 15C by the Marquis of Villena who did a lot building around the region and has inprints in some of the town we visited in Castilla La Mancha region. The castle was abandoned and in ruins for many centuries and later served as a monastery ,the a prison, and finally restored again and open to the public in 2010. Interesting for me and maybe many here is that this castle came by heritage to a member of the house of Villena, Eugenia de Guzman, better known as the Empress  Eugenia de Montijo (imperatrice Eugénie of the French wife of emperor Napoleon III) she spent money restoring it until her end from power in 1870. The castle passed to her descendants the Casa Ducal de Peñaranda – Montijo, consisting of the Duque de Peñaranda (and Conde de Montijo), and his  3 brothers in direct line who are still the owners. History here some facts recall the many battles to conquer the Castilian crown, Royal Lodge to the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella,(Fernando y Isabel I) or the birth of the renaissance poet Fray Luis de Leon.  It has also been the setting of the film “El Cid“ with Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren as main characters. Wonderful indeed the photos of from the exterior and you can see the windmills written and spoken in so many works from the time of Don Quijote de la Mancha.!!!

More from the tourist office of the region in Spanish:

After a long hot day on the road we headed back to our home base in the Serrania de Cuenca at 1400 meters cool mountain air. Ready to plan our next traiblazing outing in Spain. Enjoy your weekend, Cheers.

 Belmonte  Belmonte  Belmonte  Belmonte  Belmonte  Belmonte  Belmonte  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete  Huete Segobriga Segobriga  Torrejon de Ardoz  Torrejon de Ardoz  Torrejon de Ardoz  Torrejon de Ardoz

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