Archive for March 17th, 2021

March 17, 2021

Monasterio de Uclés, Uclés, Province of Cuenca!!!

This is one of the gem you need a car to see the world better. In what can be an off the beaten path trip deep into Castilla La Mancha region this a must to see. I like to bring back this older post with a nice anecdote to you. Hope you enjoy the Monastery of Uclés!!!

And again in my beloved Spain, and favorite region of Castilla La Mancha, of Don Quijote dreams and stories! One can never have enough in my Spain, everything under the Sun! I have written bits on Uclés before but needs a special attention and this is it. I will tell you a bit on the Monastery,castle of Uclés in the province of Cuenca. In our tours as road warriors in Castilla La Mancha region we stopped at a wonderful in country off the beaten path hilly and countryside Monastery of Uclés. This is located on the cutoff almost of the A3 highway to Madrid-Valencia.

We did the trip by car of course, and did it across sunflower fields of dirt/stone terrain to reach it by the south side where it can be seen in its entire splendor. A wonderful decision we will cherish forever in the family; my dear late wife Martine was a bit scare on the dusty road but I got all there safe. However, for the less daring….you can come here on the A3 autovia Madrid-Valencia if coming from Madrid exit/salida 90,and from Valencia exit/ salida 91,  You can do so easier by the road from the A40 taking exit or salida 244. Follow the first two traffic circles direction Carrascosa del Campo. On the third traffic circle take the first exit towards Uclés, continue for about 12 km, crossing the town of Rozalén del Monte. Once you reach Uclés, take a right road bordering the town until you see the access road to the monastery.



A bit of its great history I like

Founded in pre Roman times, was part of an important Arab/moors enclave with castle, mosque, and spas. It went several times changing hands between Arabs/Moors and Christians until 1057, and finally in 1174 under King Alfonso VIII the city is given to the Order of Santiago (as in St James the way a military order to protect Christian lands) that made it their principal house.  In 1493 the Catholic Kings (Fernando y Isabel I) asked the Pope to declare them administrator of the Order and which Fernando the Catholic held from 1494 to 1516 at which time king Carlos I unified the military Christian orders as there were no further needs to fight the Arab/Moors after the conquest of Granada in 1492. In 1528 the works begins on the Monastery and by 1548 the refectory is already built. In 1577 king Felipe II spent Holy Week here as well.



That is a bit of history on the city. Many battles were held the most important and with a nice plaque in the patios of the Monastery today was the one held in January 13 1809 known as the Battle of Uclés between the invading Napoleonic troops and those of the Spaniards in what is known as the war of Independence; the French after winning the battle committed many atrocities to the city and monastery and the homes were sacked and many burned in the Church. But we won the war::)

On the site of the Monastery, there was a castle from the 11C of Arab/Moors design. The Monastery of Uclés was built from 1529 under the reign of king Carlos I and finished in 1735 under the reign of king Felipe V. Due to the long period of construction, the monastery is dotted with three periods of Spanish architecture known as Plateresque, Herrerian, and Churrigueresque; the Church is done in the Herrerian style in 1602 is  similar to that of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. After the end of the Reconquest, the monastery underwent a radical remodeling, which ended with much of the defensive elements of the castle and gave it the current aspect. Not so with the walls, which are still preserved: A first wall protected the old orchard, irrigated with the waters of the Bedija river; a second, currently in a very bad state, still reveals its disposition in the form of serrated teeth. From the old fortress of the order of Santiago are three towers remaining. The three towers, in north-south direction  are: The tower of the Pontido, joined by a bridge with the tower of the Palomar, then a moat dug in rock, which was conquered by means of a drawbridge and that with elevated with a wall leading to the Tower Albarrana.



During the Spanish Civil War it was used as a Republican hospital and later prison (until 1943) where recently on a well were found the remains of more than 300 persons (as both sides killed). In 1949, the seminary menor of the bishops of Cuenca under the name of  «Santiago Apóstol» was established. The bishopric of Cuenca now uses it for several functions such as encounters, camping, group meetings, educational activities amongst some.


There are rooms dedicated to the local founding on Roman and pre Romans artifacts and remains of the old Arabic castle as well as the history of the Order of Santiago.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The official Monastery of Uclés:

The city of Uclés on the Monastery:

The Castilla La Mancha region on the Monastery:

It is a wonderful countryside in the Manchego of Castilla La Mancha and a historical place. There are findings of pre historic excavations here too and many Roman artifacts found. In all it is fun for a day of sightseeing and driving on country road, the real travel ! Enjoy the Monastery of Uclés as we did! It’s a must to visit me think.

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

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March 17, 2021

Vega del Codorno, Serrania de Cuenca!!!

Taken you back and me to a memorable spot in my life with plenty of good times and cheers. This is nature lover’s delight in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains where we rented home for several years at 1400 meters or about 4620 feet. Road warrior passing and visiting many wonderful towns; one memorable experience was at Vega del Codorno. Let me tell you a bit about it.

And here we go again to my beloved Spain and our favorite region Castilla La Mancha of Don Quijote fame! We have come here the last few years with the family and end up renting a full house up in the mountains at 1400 meters ! And we love it. From the house we zig zag the area looking for gems to see, and enjoy as a family.  This is way up in the mountains in beautiful Castilian country we can’t say enough we love it!!! Winding ourselves thru these huge peaks we come to enjoy its food but not as memorable as this one. We were going all over the mountains with the car and passed by the place; we were headed to a final destination in Cuenca so passed  by it. Later on the way back, we remembered it.

Needless to say, we made sure we stop here for lunch before continuing our journey back to France. It was a great stop and wonderful meal with very friendly folks and laughters away!! We will not forget the welcome and will sure be back. We stop at  Restaurante El Nacimiento   Castilla La Mancha road or CM-2106 ,Paraje Nacimieno Del Rio Cuervo, Vega del Codorno, Province of Cuenca.

In addition to the a la carte menu, they have menus of  12€ and 15€. They all carry two plates, drink, bread and dessert. The dishes are traditional food. Eat well and leave satisfied with the amount of food. We have eaten very well here in a natural environment with excellent food such as the local Morteruelo . We were driving around and walking in the slopes of the mountains and when hungry spotted this restaurant on a curve of the road so we stop by to our grand pleasure. The handling of the waiter, very attentive, friendly and with a close and pleasant conversation. Restaurant highly recommended, we will return!

This is their personal webpage on the Nacimiento resto or birthplace (as in cuervo river) :



Here is the birthplace of the Cueva del Nacimiento (birth cave) in one of my favorite mountain villages, Vega del Codorno. It is located at 1450 meters of altitude, in the Serrania de Cuenca, on the banks of the Cuervo River, making it the highest altitude town in the province.  The town of Vega del Codorno is a small town in the Serrania de Cuenca, very close to the well-known birth of the Cuervo River. The Cuervo River was born next to the town of Vega del Codorno, specifically on the western slope of the Muela (molar) de San Felipe, at an altitude of 1490 meters. In this place, water flows from a travertine spring and drains through huge stalactites of calcareous tufa rock  covered with moss, forming long and beautiful jets that freeze in winter, offering a beautiful picture photographed thousands of times each winter ( we come in Summer!). A very beautiful natural environment to be as close to nature as you can be.

The Castilla La Mancha tourist board on Vega del Codorno

Enjoy the post and sure try to be there at Restaurante El Nacimiento in picturesque Vega del Codorno in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains. We can’t wait to be back when possible.

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

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March 17, 2021

Universidad de Alcalà de Henares!

I like to update this older post from a wonderful town and a great historical university of Spain! We love the history and architecture of it in great Alcalà de Henares! Hope you enjoy the tour!

Coming back at your with another historical gem of my beloved Spain. This one can be arranged to be visit , a higher learning institution way back but of great historical, cultural and architectural value for any lover of it and travels. I have just touch base on it but need to tell you more.  I will tell you a bit more on the Universidad de Alcalà de Henares university in the city of Alcalà de Hénares, Comunidad de Madrid region.


On May 20, 1293, King Sancho IV of Castilla  granted a licence to Archbishop of Toledo, García Gudiel  to create a Studium Generale (General Survey, as they were then called University studies) in Alcalá de Henares. On July 17, 1459 Pope Pius II granted a bull, requested by Archbishop Alonso Carrillo de Acuña, “for the erection of three chairs of arts and grammar in this Alcalá study.” These last chairs, survived of that general study of the 13C, were integrated by Cardinal Cisneros in the new University. Cardinal Cisneros , who had been a student of the general survey, created from this the Complutensis Universitas  or Complutense University or Alcalá or Cisneriana  through three pontifical papal bulls granted by Pope Alexander VI on April 13th,1499.

The University of Alcalá, Universidad Complutense or Universidad Cisneriana was the university that existed in  Alcalá de Henares. Founded in 1499 by Cardinal Cisneros, during the 16-17C, it became the great center of academic excellence. In 1777 it was separated physically and organically from its Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso (college), and was renamed Royal University of Alcalá, with headquarters in the old building of the Colegio Maximo of the Jesuits of Alcalá de Henares.

The junior colleges created by Cardinal Cisneros were: the College of St. Peter and St. Paul, uniquely linked to a religious order, the Franciscan, who was the founder; The College of the Mother of God (known as the College of Theologians) to study theology, although medical studies also stood out in it; The College of Santa Catalina (known as the Artists;Bachelors in Arts or physicists) to study Aristotle’s physics; The College of Santa Balbina (known as of the logical ones) because in it were studied this and other philosophical and theological disciplines, corresponding to the first courses of arts;  The schools of San Eugenio and San Isidoro (from the Latin and Greek grammars) that merged into a single call from St. Ambrose in the 17C.

After the death of Cardinal Cisneros, from the second quarter of the 16C, the lower schools of the religious orders began to proliferate (Augustinians, the Convent of San Basilio de los Basilios, the Carmelites, Barefoot, Cistercian, Clerics Minor regulars, Dominicans, Franciscans, Jesuits, Mercedarios footwear and barefoot, and Trinitarian footwear and barefoot), of the military orders, of dioceses (like the minor College of Saint Clement martyr or of the Manchegos), of Royal Foundation (by Felipe II, like that of San Felipe and Santiago, called “of the King”), and private foundation (like that of Santiago or of the Knights Manriques, that of Saint Catherine Martyr or of the Greens, that of Saint Ciriaco and Santa Paula or of Malaga, the minor School of Saint George or of the Irish) , expanding the university city with about thirty smaller schools.

In 1777 the government  power of the University and of the Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso was separated, by means of new statutes and the grouping in 1779 of several minor schools in the new Junior College of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. In 1836, under the reign of queen Isabel II, the university was transferred to Madrid, where it took the name of Central University. In 1836 the university was integrated together with the teachings of the Royal Studies of San Isidro and the Royal Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid in a single institution, thus creating the Central University of Madrid, which over time became the current Complutense University of Madrid.


The buildings that had previously hosted the University of Cardinal Cisneros were auctioned and passed to private hands in 1845. Today, the heirs of these neighbors of Alcalá remain the owners of an important part of the buildings that formerly formed the university, the so-called University square or manzana, which are rented to the current University of Alcalá.  In their classrooms, they taught and/or  studied great masters,and illustrious men, such as Antonio de Nebrija, Santo Tomás de Villanueva, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, Ignacio de Loyola, Domingo de Soto, Ambrosio de Morales, Benito Arias Montano, Francisco Suárez, Juan de Mariana, Francisco Vallés de Covarrubias, Antonio Pérez, San Juan de la Cruz, Mateo Alemán, Lope de Vega, Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Melchor Gaspar de Jovellanos, Andrés Manuel del Rio, Fray Diego Morcillo, Blas Ortiz, etc.


There are several buildings of it and will take a good whole day to see them all but all are worth it. In addition, the city center around Plaza de Cervantes is very nice and plenty to shop and eat. Enjoy the Universidad de Alcalà de Henares for its history, architecture, and social values of over the centuries.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The University of Alcalà de Henares on its history:

The Alcalà de Henares tourist office on the university

The Community of Madrid region tourist office on the university:

And there you go another gem of my beloved Spain to dwell on in your visits to the lovely historical city of Alcalà de Henares, and its wonderful University. Enjoy it

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

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