Continuing our plan to explore other parts of Spain, we decided to visit the city of Toledo, renowned for its cathedral. Once again, we consulted our “Back Roads of Spain” book and discovered a route that would allow us to explore the region of Castilla La Mancha – Don Quixote country!
We spent 2 nights in Toledo, a wonderful old city, built on a hill surrounded by the river Tagus, and wandered the narrow streets, visiting the 13th century Gothic cathedral with its huge arches and the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes built in the 15th century. Our hotel was a stone’s throw from the imposing Alcazar, a huge stone fortress built in the 15th century at the very highest point in the city and which was held during the Spanish Civil War against overwhelming Republican forces in the Siege of the Alcázar, an incident which became a piece of Spanish Nationalist lore.
We spent another 3 days touring the vast countryside of Castilla La Mancha, one of the most sparsely populated of Spain’s autonomous communities and a symbol of Spanish culture with its huge vineyards, olive plantations, windmills, Manchego cheese and the base for Miguel de Cervante’s novel Don Quixote. We stayed in Consuegra, with its 12 windmills and castle, and visited other towns including Almagro and Villanueva de los Infantes.
We stayed in some wonderful hotels, including a memorable dinner overlooking a lake as the sun set at the Casa Rural La Laguna in Aldea del Rey. You can see more of the photos of our memorable trip in our photo gallery and also click here to watch a slideshow set to music.