Archive for August 10th, 2021

August 10, 2021

Mountain roads of the Serrania de Cuenca!

Another inspiration from looking and updating older posts in my blog. What a thrill it has been for me and hope for you, and thanks for reading me since November 2010!!! I have come here in numerous times and several posts in my blog with brief mentions but really need to do a post with more in detail of the mountain roads of the Serrania de Cuenca! The text is new using older trips pictures, bear with me please.

As you have read my previous posts, you know that the Serrania de Cuenca is a mountain range north of the city of Cuenca in the province of Cuenca and Castilla La Mancha autonomous community of the kingdom of Spain!  Inside the territory there are several town, just mentioning the ones I have visited (not just passed by): Huélamo, Las Majadas, Portilla, Villalba de la Sierra, Valdemoro, Uña, Vega del Codorno, Arcos de la Sierra, and Tragacete.

We had finally arrive in our home base of Las Majadas ,in the Serrania de Cuenca mountains on a house 1400 meters or 6600 feet high in the mountain, name Casa Pitu located at Calle Anastasio Lasso.  It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship!!  Just to say it has been our best vacation ever to this point, but came back again and again! Not only because the location was great, the house fanstastic with all the trimming ,and the price right, but the host Luis and Ma Isabel were fantastic beyond the call of duty to make our stay a wonderful one full of great memories and even friendship. You will do well to rent from them in the future as we will definitively look forward to another opportunity. Casa Pitu

There were super vacations with the family always to be remembered and now as my dear late wife Martine, the memories will run forever! We were thinking of coming back again in 2018, unfortunately, never came to be as my dear late wife Martine passed away from pancreatic cancer on April 30 2018.RIP I had to put this info here again, always with me, on the road warrior trips of Spain!!

The town of Las Majadas is very friendly and easy to walk, with great pathways into the mountains for the courageous runner/walker/hiker is a paradise. We   tucked in the city and the great bars and restos in it. Coming south passing by nice Molina de Aragon  (gas/petrol  station here) to connect with the CM210 that becomes the CM 2106 into the Serrania de Cuenca mountains and our home at Las Majadas! Glorious mountains of the Serrania de Cuenca that can go to almost 1900 meters high, and the panel signaling Las Majadas 24 kms or about 12 miles!!

You can see/visit here the following as my favorites (many with posts in my blog):

El Ventano del Diablo, this is near the municipality of Villalba de la Sierra, in La Ciudad Encantada (enchanted city) consists of a set of limestone rocks formed over thousands of years in which water and over time they have been eroding, giving them fanciful shapes. The Mirador del Tío Cogote (lookout of uncle cogote) is located very close to the Callejones of Las Majadas,(passage ways)  in an area full of pine and juniper groves. The views offered to us from this viewpoint are truly spectacular, encompassing the Júcar river valley and the Molinillo ravine. They are about 3 km from the latter. It consists of a set of limestone rocks with curious shapes due to erosion. The El Hosquillo Game Park is located in the Serranía Alta region, near the town of Las Majadas (my house). It is located in the valley of the Escabas river, which forms a spectacular waterfall within the park, in the area known as El Rincón del Buitre (vulture corner). The Cuervo river is born in the middle of the Serranía Alta, in the municipality of Vega del Codorno, forming a setting of spectacular beauty. Las Torcas de los Palancares is a natural area located near Cuenca, and more specifically in the Montes de los Palancares. The place consists of a set of torques, also known as sinkholes, which are nothing more than holes or sinks in the earth produced naturally, which can have a circular or oval shape, some of them reaching more than 90 meters deep. The Lagunas de Cañada del Hoyo are a lagoon complex, formed by seven lagoons, which are located 3 km from the town of Cañada del Hoyo, in the heart of the Montes de Cuenca. The Laguna de Uña is a lagoon located next to the town that gives it its name, Uña, belonging to the Serranía Media region, and is fed by the waters of the Arroyo del Rincón, a tributary of the Júcar river.  The La Balsa de Valdemoro-Sierra (pool of ) located at 1109 meters above sea level, in the middle of the Serranía Media. In this bucolic setting, with various points where you can see the water sprouting from the ground, we can enjoy a beautiful waterfall, which freezes in winter, forming attractive icicles. The Laguna del Tobar is located in the Alto Tajo region, between El Tobar, a district of the town of Beteta, and the town of Masegosa. The lagoon is made up of two buckets, 12 and 19 meters deep. The deepest has the peculiarity that its waters are three times as salty as those of the sea, without knowing the reason for this phenomenon.  The El Molino de la Chorrera is one of the most beautiful waterfalls that we can see in the Serranía de Cuenca, and, at the same time, one of the least known. The place in question is located near the town of Tragacete, belonging to the Serranía Alta region, and the source of the Júcar river takes place there. One of the most attractive elements that we can admire is, without any doubt, the one known as Cascada del Molino.( or windmill waterfalls).

And moving around here the car is king, wonderful, just perfect for my road warrior travel thrills. I took many roads around here, all steep mountain roads and if time beautiful spots as above to stop see do enjoy the nature as its best. Let me give you some of mine ok

First a bit of definitions: The CM roads are Castilla La Mancha regional roads, while the CUV roads are Cuenca provincial roads all free. You notice N roads these are National and also free. You then have elsewhere the A autovias roads that can be tolls most not, and then the R radials roads which have tolls.

The CM-2106 road is in the section between the intersection with the N-420 in Cañete to Huerta del Marquesado. This road goes from Cañete to Baños de Tajo.  From Cuenca, take the CM-2105 road to Tragacete, (36 km), passing by the Ventana del Diablo viewpoint (see above) , where you can enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the Júcar river. This road goes from Cuenca to Huélamo. The CM 2104 road leaves the CM 2105 in Valdelpino de Cuenca and joins again at Uña. Passing through Valdecabras towards the Ciudad Encantada (see above).  The CM-210 runs between Villar de Domingo García , Cuenca,  and the border of the province of Guadalajara with that of Zaragoza through Milmarcos, where it connects with the A-202.  The CM-2201 leaves Beteta towards Masegosa.



The CUV 9114 road leaves from the Avenida de la Constitución in Villalba de la Sierra, and connects with the Carretera de las Majadas CUV-9113 my usual route and so many times taken up the mountains to 1400 meters! If we continue on CUV 9114 from Villalba de la Sierra we pass through Portilla towards Arcos de la Sierra.


Of course, these roads are mostly closed in hard winters as you can imagine driving up and down the mountain, omg not me!!! There is ,also, several animals to be aware of from cows to goats, to wild boars, and deers. Especially ,be aware of the mishaps by wild boar on the roads CM-2104, CM-2105 and CM-2106.


A webpage on the mountain ranges of the Serrania de Cuenca

The Province of Cuenca tourist board on its roads in Spanish:

The provincial government webpage on its roads with a nice pdf file map in Spanish:

There you go folks, a memorable post for me with lots of good cheers to remember forever. Looking forward to travel to open up so we can come back here, Serrania de Cuenca and especially Las Majadas and Cuenca always in our hearts. Hope you enjoy the post on the mountain roads of the Serrania de Cuenca!

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

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August 10, 2021

The monolith church in St Emilion!

Well to be honest I came here with the family from the beach side of Lacanau just to taste the famous wines! However, once in town you cannot missed this church. This is my contribution to its fame on the monolith church of Saint Emilion! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

I have criss cross this area numerous times but sadly admit only passed by this wonderful monument as was more looking for the wines of the area.  Nevertheless, I like to record it in my blog and future visits should include more of the monument. I will tell you briefly about the Monolith Church of Saint Emilion.

The monolithic Church of Saint-Emilion is an old 11C church entirely dug into the rock, located in the town of Saint-Emilion dept 33 Gironde in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region.. It is the largest underground church in Europe, located under Place des Créneaux and Place du Clocher.

The Monolith Church of Saint Emilion is made up of a nave and two collaterals of roughly equal dimensions with the central nave rising eleven meters. It has six spans separated by large monolithic pillars. The choir presents bas-reliefs under the vault, on the internal face of the pillars and on the western wall. Altars are located near the main entrance, on the window side. Medieval catacombs adjoin the western part of the access gallery in the church. The church has a bell tower 53 meters high.

According to tradition, in the 8C, the Breton monk Émilion (native of my capital city of Vannes dept 56 Morbihan, see post) , after having taken his vows in Saujon, established himself as a hermit near what later became the city of Saint-Emilion. He built an oratory, the hermitage of Saint Emilion and at his death in 767, his disciples dug a modest underground passage in stone.


The date of construction of the Monolith Church of Saint Emilion is not known with precision. An inscription on the 3rd south pillar of the nave indicates that the church was dedicated to Saint Emilion on the seventh day of the Ides of December. This inscription can be dated to the end of the 11C or the beginning of the 12C. It may correspond to the consecration of the place as a place of worship.

The Monolith Church of Saint Emilion suffered from the sale of it during the French revolution in 1793. Its was reuse as a saltpeter factory to make gunpowder, made all wall decoration disappear completely. The sculptures which once must have been numerous have practically all disappeared ,the consequences of revolutions.

The St Emilion tourist office on the monolith church

The city of St Emilion on its heritage

There you go folks, another dandy of my belle France, and well need the detour to see it more ,in the  meantime there I found my single picture on it above. Hope you enjoy it to come in and will this post remind me to do so in the future. After all, Saint Emilion was Breton from Vannes, my now capital city!!

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

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August 10, 2021

Basilica Church Notre Dame de la Joie of Pontivy!

This is a nice town up the road from us and we have visited plenty of course, even one my sons worked ! So many interesting things to see and one that is a must is the Basilica Notre Dame de la Joie of Pontivy! I like to update the post for you and me; hope you enjoy the post as I.

And I bring you to the Basilica Church Notre Dame de la Joie of Pontivy. We only live about 40 minutes from here by car.  The church is at Place Bourdonnay-du-Clézio . Built in the style neo gothic flamboyant,the statues of  Notre-Dame de la Joie, sculpture in a trunk of oak wood and of  Notre-Dame de la Délivrance, revered by the pregnant women are two wonderful sights to see inside.

The Notre-Dame-de-la-Joie Basilica (b. Church 1534), is located in the center of the medieval town of Pontivy. It is the old Saint-Ivy church, started in 1534 and dedicated to Notre-Dame in 1696. The church was consecrated basilica in 1959.  This building, rebuilt in the 16C in the shape of a Latin cross, with a nave with three vessels and flanked by aisles in the nave, measures 45 meters by 18 approximately.


Before the 19C restorations, the church included a nave of four spans, with aisles, a transept and a choir with a flat chevet. The square of the transept alone was arched with warheads. In the 19C, the whole church was vaulted and the choir flanked by collaterals extending the aisles. It has a large square tower, bordered by a flamboyant gallery, and surmounted by a polygonal stone turret, amortized in slate, and probably unfinished.

The exterior decoration is flamboyant, and the western portal, divided by a trumeau into two bays, flanked by decorated pilasters, is decorated with foliage of vine leaves finely carved: one sees there the shield with nine twins of Rohan. The windows, whose mullions were redone in the 19C, are surmounted, outside, by gables with crawlers decorated with sticks and cabbages. The stained glass windows date from the 19C. The stained glass window which represents the Assumption of the Virgin dates from 1902. The spire of the church, the aisles of the choir and the vaults of the nave date from 1886.

The altarpiece and the high altar, in carved stone and marble, are from 1782: the front bears the name of Jehovah in Hebrew characters and a marble tabernacle with an ornate door surmounts the high altar. It is on this altar that the federates signed their act of union (bretons and angevins swearing alliageance to the French revolution) January 19, 1790. The altarpiece of the main altar represents Saint Ivy as a bishop, surrounded by Saint Peter, Saint Paul and characters such as the Duke and the Duchess of Rohan who contributed with their donation to rebuild part of the church. The altarpiece of Calvary in the south arm, in carved wood, dates from the 16-17C. The large bronze desk from the 17C is a gift from the Duke of Rohan, the bird’s talons cling to a large bronze sphere which symbolizes the globe. The organs date from 1836: the case, built by Dominique and Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, was redesigned by Debierre in 1878 and by Gobin in 1960.



The painting entitled “Descent from the Cross” dates from 1635 and was restored in 1974. The figures of Our Lady of Joy, carved from an oak trunk, and of Our Lady of Deliverance venerated by pregnant women are part of the many statues of the church. It also houses the polychrome wooden statues of Saint Catherine and Saint Barbe. The silver lamp dates from the 17C. It was offered to the community in 1696 in recognition of the intervention of Our Lady of Joy to stop the plague epidemic which raged in the country.  Today a marble plaque, to the right of the high altar, marks the place where the heart of General de Lourmel rests. The large bronze desk, which can still be seen in the choir, is a gift from the Duke of Rohan.


The Morbihan dept 56 Tourist Board on the Basilica Church Notre Dame de la Joie in French :

The Bretagne region Tourist Board on Pontivy in English:

There you go folks, a dandy in my beautiful Morbihan and lovely Bretagne. Hope you enjoy the post and do come to see the wonderful Basilica Church of Our Lady of Joy in city center Pontivy.

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

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