TRAVEL: SPAIN ON MOTORCYCLE

The route of El Cid

 

Last year I dared to travel alone on a motorcycle for the first time, I decided to ride the so called route of El Cid (hero from the reclaimed catholic Iberian peninsula recuperated from Arab invasion), from Old Castile to Valencia, the same path that this mythical legend took when he was expelled from the Castilian kingdom. In total, almost 1300 kilometers (over 800 miles) for 7 days of wind, sun, motorcycle, spectacular scenery, family reunions, emotions, peace, and reflection.

Before taking off with the bike ready . . . travel light, you’ll get further.

You can see the complete route and a map of the route at the end of the post.

 

Ayllón’s charm

Undertaking the road heading east, I could not find enough sun at first to get me warmed up until I arrived at the bell towers of Ayllón. A stork seeking food for her chicks greets me and flies away, look carefully, you will find it in the sky.

They fly through the skies of Spain and nest on ancient bell towers.

 

Castles and Mills of Aragón

Starting my way towards the south of the peninsula, I can attest how the wall of Molina de Aragon no longer resist the Saracens attacks, it only resists time and oblivion, almost abandoned at the top of the village. I have to keep covering ground, tired after a long day on the road, I look for a smaller way that takes me to a flour mill converted into a guest house, remote and quiet, can be reached by following the creek that activates the old mill. To my surprise, the mill continues to run and the hotel does demonstrations frequently during which children and anyone who wants to reconnect with traditional ways of life of the Castilian plateau, can enjoy the explanation and interactive tour.

Ancient wall at Molina de Aragón

 

Albarracín, the Fortress Village over a Cliff

The next morning, the anxiety almost paralyzed me, I know that  I will soon get to Albarracín, a village built on a cliff on the mountain that leverages the topography of the range and a valley over a winding road that has historically protected the enclave. The magical and narrow streets of Albarracín let you get lost slowly as you climb stairs, go through cobbled ramps and cross small plazas unnamed; the times in which Christians and Arabs coexisted materialize before my eyes at every step.

You could die here, down in the valley, on the wall or in any of the nooks and crannies of the town.

 

Teruel does exist, and Valencia as well

But I have to keep rolling to find the Arab heritage of Teruel and its friendly character of a small place where I observe how people meet and mingle. This stop anticipates and contrasts the modernity of the City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia which offers a brutal contrast between the long architectural tradition of mixing medieval civilizations in Spain, with the latest trends of postmodern style and Mediterranean maritime inspiration I find in Valencia.

The melting pot of cultures, crossing traditions to arrive at Valencia, where modernity contrast with Arab influenced buildings in Teruel.

 

Cuenca, the Fairytale Town

On the way back, a must is a stop in Cuenca, just like a postcard wherever you look, the eye simply has to make a nod to find thousands of wonderful views and record them in memory for times to come. I walk restlessly around the city and I leave with the feeling of having discovered a unique place that I must come back. But my next stop, just outside Cuenca leads me to the Enchanted City, a place carved by nature in the rock formations simulating animals and situations that evoke prehistorical times and the ages before biblical wanderings. The connection to the medium is perfect.

Postcards wherever you look in Cuenca . . .

 

My path leads me to Guadalajara to finish my trip in Madrid, a city that deserves a post later, hold on my friends, coming soon.

 

Itinerary:

Valladolid

Aranda de Duero

Ayllón

Sigüenza

Molina de Aragón

Monreal del Campo

Albarracín

Teruel

Valencia

Tavernes

Alzira

Buñol (yes, where they celebrate La Tomatina)

Requena

Basin

Enchanted city

Guadalajara

Madrid

Valladolid

 

Maps, one way . . .

. . . and come back

Costs:

Gasoline: 6E / 100km, 1300km = 78E

Accommodation: 2 nights hotel, 30E x night = 60E (rest of nights stayed with family and friends in Madrid and Valencia)

Foods:

Covered in hotels breakfast

Lunch and dinner on tour, sandwich, and fruit: 3E / day, 6days = 18E

Miscellaneous: 40E Total: 20E (ice cream for everyone after a family dinner), 15E (games for my nephews and nieces), 5E (entrance to the Enchanted City).

TOTAL: 196E

 

A legendary journey, enjoying the bike, discovering fantastic places and recapturing relations, and all under 200E. A TRUE LUXURY FOR THAT KIND OF MONEY!

The unique landscape of the Enchanted City. We will never forget these places . . .

Have you visited Spain? Which region/cities? This trip is a lesser known, less touristy Spain . . . What do you think, are you interested? TELL ME EVERYTHING.