Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘mountain villages

A favourite place to visit near us is the historic village of Guadalest located on a pinnacle of rock with spectacular views all around. It requires driving a twisty, narrow road that winds up into the mountains. At one time Guadalest was only accessible by donkeys. I think it is the same path. But it is so worth it when you get there! I wrote about the Museum of Torture we discovered on one visit, but there is much more to see and do.

There are many shops selling souvenirs, crafts and local produce such as honey, wine, and handbags. There are also a number of unique small museums and great restaurants offering Spanish tapas and full meals. The cobblestone streets and whitewashed houses are straight out of a storybook.

A highlight is Guadalest Castle (Castell de Guadalest), built in the 11th Century by the Moors, which is accessed by walking through a 15-foot long tunnel carved out of the rock, known as the Portal de San Jose.

Portal de San Jose

Once through the tunnel, it’s like you have entered another time. The old village houses surround a square with a statue of a famous bishop in the centre. The restored house of the Orduna family, an important family of Guadalest, is a museum that gives an idea of what it used to be like living in the village many years ago. It also houses an art gallery. From this house, a path leads to the bell tower.

Bell tower of Penon de la Alcala

The most famous attraction is the picturesque white bell tower of Penon de la Alcala, precariously perched on the mountainside and found on most postcards. If you don’t mind a bit of a hike, a well-maintained path takes you up to the bell tower. The twelve stations of the cross dot the side of the path, and near the top is an old graveyard. The hike is worth it as at the very top, you are treated to fabulous views of the valley and reservoir.

A view of the castle from the path.
An easy path leading up to the bell tower with stations of the cross along the way
The stations of the cross are painted on ceramic tiles
A lovely sign as you near the cemetery in four languages
The gate to the cemetery, with a view
The bell tower and the castle in a gorgeous setting
A fabulous view of the valley and reservoir
I love Guadalest as you can tell. (Picture taken by Donna Cluff)

© Darlene Foster

When we tired of the busy beach towns, we drove into the mountains. Following narrow, twisting roads we never knew what we would find around each hairpin turn. When we were about to give up thinking we had to be on the wrong road, we would round one more bend, and there before us appeared a delightful white mountain village with traditional red clayroofs. The unbelievable scenery and discovering the villages always made the trip worth our while.

Here are a couple of our finds:

Casares

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Istan

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A monastery in the middle of nowhere

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It´s amazing what you can find when you leave the beaten path!

And on the only real cloudy day we drove to Gibraltar because we were so close. We did not go across due to bad boarder line-ups that day. We will leave that for another time. But I finally got to see the famous Rock of Gibraltar I have read and heard about since I was a child.

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It was quite impressive and begs to be explored.

We need to stop exploring for a time and find a place to live. It was fun being vagabonds for a while and I have many story ideas rattling around in my head. I hope everyone is keeping warm in spite of cold weather reports we are hearing.


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