Archive for December 27th, 2019

December 27, 2019

Serrania de Cuenca, the mountains!

And now I take you and me back into memory lane to our wonderful home for several years traveling in the area. I know I sound nostalgic and I am, always looking forward to be back. The family came here together and we love it! We rented house at 1400 meters in the mountains or Serrania de Cuenca. See my previous posts on the Cuenca province in my blog.

However, this post is about the little towns in the mountains of beautiful natural beauty that even us not trekkers feels is worth the visit. Hope you enjoy the post as we did the visit and take you there one day. We headed back to our base up in the mountain, but having done so early we took an extra ride up 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 (Enchanted city).

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 village of Uña a bit further downhill.  From the water organism in Spanish you have info on the embalses (dam) in the region of Castilla la Mancha and of course Toba. Tourist office province of Cuenca on Toba dam

The Embalse de la Toba , a dam that starts from the  Júcar river ,between mountains. It is a big swamp of 150 hectares where you can see the muela de La Madera a place of many voltures and other rapace birds. The dam or embalse is created from the Júcar river together with others such as the Valdemeca, and other small streams . The Embalse de la Toba was built in 1925 as a project to conditioned the hydroelectric plant using the river for a traject of 20 km inside the Serranía de Cuenca that would help control the Júcar river as well as channeled the waters to the hydroelectric plant at Villalba de la Sierra. In Summer, it is one of the best areas for swimming and the most popular beach area in the province of Cuenca.

Toba

Toba

This is a nice youtube video on the Toba embalse or dam:

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. Our visit was in dry season but its usually full ok. This site in Spanish for a rural house ad tells nicely about the laguna de Uña: Escapada Rural on the Laguna de Uña lagoon

Going up and around in this mountaneous area we reach the nice Uña (nails), there is a big lagoon/lake here part of the Parque Natural de la Serranía de Cuenca. You need to go by car up the mountain on the local road  CM-2105. It is a lake of 200 meters in diameter with clear emerald waters of no more than 15 meters deep. Wild life is big here with ducks, seagalls, etc as well as deers, wild pigs etc. Around the lake you come into the Balcony of Uña, from here we can see the rocky coastal shelf, known as the castle of Uña, which shields the town from the wind. This is the landscape known as Gorge Los Cortados. The sierras of Las Majadas (where we had been renting rural houses) and Valdecabras, among which the Jucar river runs, are the backdrop of the town’s entrance.

Una

Una

A nice video from youtube show this natural beauty at its best, enjoy it as I do

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 the summer can be high into the 30’sC would make a trip like this not useful me think.   And we just came down for a few minutes drive to our house in the mountains near here a wonderful experience high above the clouds and forest woods of old!!

One more webpage in Spanish on things to do in the Natural Park of the Serrania de Cuenca, any questions ask me ok: Castilla La Mancha protected areas on Serrania de Cuenca

And the tourist office of Castilla La Mancha autonomous region of Spain, in English: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on the Serrania de Cuenca

This is real country an area of Spain still untouched by tourism in mass, and a wonderful spot to enjoy with the family. I know it brings lots of wonderful souvenirs for ours .

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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December 27, 2019

Fortified Alarcon!

Driving our way thru Castilla La Mancha was awesome, we spent several summers here and always in our minds to come back. Memories flashing in my mind hard to come up with words but we still remember those gone from our lives but not our minds. Alarcon is one memorable town. Of course, I have written more in my blog.

It is about 87 km from Cuenca the province capital city.

And we move on to the fortified town of Alarcon with its towers and castle. We moved up from 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.

alarcon

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:  Parador Castillo de Alarcon

Alarcon

Alarcon

The Torre del Canavete  belongs to the defensive set of Alarcón, forming part of the most advanced defenses. It protected a wall that closes the isthmus to prevent the attacker from reaching Alarconcillo and from there to Alarcón.

The Torre de los Alarconcillos was built in the first part of the 14C, when it was decided to cede the lands of Alarcón to the infante Juan Manuel. At this time, we know today as Torre de los Alarconcillos. Some time later, it passed into the hands of the Marquises of Villena, with whom the Catholic Monarchs had several disputes. Therefore, numerous battles took place in this place, being a clear center of resistance of this marquisate against the kings.

The Torre del Campo was built in the 14C by the Infante Don Juan Manuel, hence the Infante’s coat of arms is on its south façade. The tower was built next to one of the meanders that the river Júcar, to defend its homonymous Puerta del Campo, which was, according to its location, the access to the first of the 3 walled enclosures that Alarcón had. It is known as Torre del Campo, because it is oriented towards the countryside or towards the outskirts of the town. Access to this tower, almost 20 meters high, was and is made, through its west façade, through a door located some 6 meters from the ground and a factory staircase that is currently missing its second section.

There is another interesting church that of Church of Santo Domingo in late Romane style from the 12C which we had no time to see on this trip.

The tourist office  in Spanish from the province of Cuenca on Alarcon is here: http://turismo.cuenca.es/portal/lang__es/rowid__126754,22329/dTabID__1/tabid__9384/Default.aspx

You have the tourist office of the region or autonomous region of Castilla La Mancha here in English: Tourist office of Castilla La Mancha on castle of Alarcon

It is one town to visit as it is conveniently in the direction of Valencia and the beaches from Madrid along the A3 expressway worthy of a stop. Enjoy the fortified town of Alarcon.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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