Catalunya - Castilla-La Mancha (E)


10/09/2011: Montserrat - Tarragona - Delta de l’Ebre (0 m): 238 km

Drive to Tarragona where we visited various of the many Roman remains in and around town. Although the attractions outside of town were very poorly marked, so it was not easy to visit neither the Quarry of Mèdol nor the awesome aqueduct of Ferreres. Lunch in Tarragona at the Bar Tòful (nothing special). Shopping at Carrefour and then drive to the Delta de l’Ebre. We settled at La Casa de Fusta Restaurant -there is a special place for motor caravans with fresh water and sewage. After a short bicycle ride along the lake, during which the mosquitoes were trying to bite us all the time, we finished our day with a sider from the Basque Country. (N 40º 39.521’ E 0º 40.483’). NB: We found out on the next day that it would have been better to overnight at the sand flats at N 40º 37.736’ E 0.44.492’ at Trabucador on the way to the Salines de la Trinitat on Punta de la Banya

11/09/2011: Delta de l’Ebre - Peñascola - Alcalá de Júcar (550 m) : 354 km

This morning we started with observing birds on two sites that were occupied by “professional birdwatchers” belonging to the association SEO with young volunteers who helped find out which birds were there. At about 12h30 we drove to Peñascola, but everything was so crowded and it was a typical beach resort like we know it from Isla Canela that we didn’t stay there, only had a light lunch. Today it was again a very hot day but the sun was always covered by a thin layer of clowds, so we decided to drive a little more as it was more bearable. We then drove straight to Alcalá de Júcar in Castilla-La Mancha, a stunning village on the flank of a canyon. There are several houses built one on top of the other and burrowed into the caves in the cliff! And they are full in use! And down the village there is a nice park with lots of space, big old trees, water coming from all sides, all arranged in a pleasant way, with lots of parking spaces. We had a short stroll and then had dinner with delicious tapas (pescaito, pinchos de carne) and 2 l sangria (or better tinto de verano) at the Bar El Callejón on the main square for 30€. We settled for the night at a pleasant parking area along the river, pretty close to the central square (N 39º 11.660’ W 1º 25.657’)

12/09/2011: Alcalá de Júcar - Tolosa and back

Hike (5 hs, 16 km, 170 m elevation) up to the high plateau above Alcalá de Júcar, to the Mesón del Mirador which was, unfortunately closed today Monday, but we enjoyed the awesome views onto the village of Alcalá de Júcar there and then further on walking on top of the canyon walls until Tortosa. On the way back there were so many fig trees full of ripe figs that we ate a lot and even brought some home! Then we went to the “local beach” at the river and then we went up to the Cuevas del Diablo (3€).

13/09/2011: Alcalá de Júcar - Parque Natural de las Serras Cazorla, Segura y Las Vilas (770 m): 248 km

Drive to Torre del Vinagre in the Parque Natural Cazorla and hike to the (2,5 hs), a canyon a bit similar to the Kakouetta Gorge. Overnight on the parking lot next to the trout farm “pis factoria” (N 38º 00.879’ W 2º 51.942’)

14/09/2011: Parque Natural Cazorla - Córdoba

Drive to Córdoba through La Iruela where today there was a fiesta going with ladies in their flamenco gowns and horse riders dressed in fiesta-costumes. In Córdoba we drove straight to the Municipal Camping which is pretty close to town on the Avenida del Brillante and took a taxi to the historic centre (6 €) In the evening we had to wait until 20h30 to start with tapas. We loved the Rabo de toro (bull’s tail) at the Taberna Salinas  just a few steps away from the Roman Temple! Back with taxi (5€) and overnight at the Municipal Camping (N 37º 54.027’ W 4º 47.166’)

15/09/2011: Córdoba - Loulé

Drive back home!

El Mèdol Roman quary

This is where the Romans got the stones from to build the monuments of Tarragona!

The awesome amphitheatre in Tarragona.

Look how modern buildings have just been built on top of the ruins: look at the the road going down to the beach in the back and on the right picture the house that lays directly on top of a tunnel of the amphitheatre!

Still uncovering Roman remains under the streets of Tarragona:

Aqueduct of Ferreres that carried the water to Tarragona.

Delta de l’Ebre: now is the time when the rice fields are being harvested. A magnified look at the rice grain on the bottom right corner:

Two crayfishes fighting in the rice field.

Typical marsh landscapes of the Delta de l’Ebre

Alcalá de Júcar

Sitting at the (closed) Mesón del Mirador

Hike up to the Mirador and then all the way on the fringe of the cliffs down to Tolosa and back.

Old cave dwellings, Tolosa

Relaxing at the river beach in Alcalá de Júcar

Cooling off during our hot hike from Alcalá de Júcar  to Tolosa and back.

The Cueva del Diablo (Devil’s Cave) which goes through from one side of the cliff to the other

Houses built in the rocks, Alcalá de Júcar

Not exactly built in the rock but it looks very scarry to live there and to be underneath of this building!

Cerrada de Elías in the Parque Natural Cazorla

Seen at the trout farm (piscifactoria in Spanisch)

At the mirador de las Palomas overlooking the Valley with the village of Arroyo Frio. Every morning at about 10h big birds overfly the valley, using the thermic up winds!

This is the landscape of olive trees that covers all the area up to Córdoba


The Judería (Jewish Quarter) with its tiny 13th century old Synagoge

Along the city walls on Calle de Cairuán

The awesome Mezquita of Córdoba with the “built-in” Cathedral

Chapel built using the mesquite elements

The original Mezquita arches and columns

Tapas at the Taberna Salinas

The chorus of the cathedral with each seat in carved teak with images of the old and new testament

Wonderful marble colours adorn the cathedral.