La Mancha and Windmills

Our drive from the south coast of England to almost the south coast of Spain involves a journey of 2200km. A long way. We’ve made the trip many times now and are familiar with the route, the best places to stop for a coffee, or to sit and eat some of our mammoth picnic. We know where we can stop to stretch our legs and let the pups have a little run around, and we know which hotels are dog friendly. What we’re still learning about are some of the beautiful places we used to drive past at speed, cities, towns and villages which previously were just names on the map.

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Instead of driving the route in 2 long, hard days, we now take 3 or 4 days and pick new places to stop and enjoy. We’ve loved Bordeaux, Biarritz and Burgos. This time we pulled off the motorway south of Madrid, pretty much slap bang in the middle of Spain to explore a little of La Mancha.

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It’s a province which is famed for its cheese,  Manchego, which takes its name from the province in which it is made.

It’s also famous for its Windmills, which became well known through the work of 17th Century Spanish writer, Miguel de Cervantes and his book Don Quixote. Not too long after meeting Big Man I celebrated a birthday in Spain and one of his sisters presented me with this great tome  (great in all senses of the word, it’s a thick old book!) in Spanish. I confess I still have to read it,but am reassured by many Spaniards that they have only read parts of it as part of the school curriculum.

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The tale is of a Spanish nobleman and his adventures with his trusty sidekick (a simple farmer) who sets out to restore the art of chivalry with many mishaps along the way.  One of his adventures involves Don Quixote battling the Windmills,  believing them to be ferocious giants. The province has invested money in restoring many of the old windmills,  which were used to produce flour, and they are a popular tourist attraction, visible from a great distance.

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The town of Consuegra has a marvellous collection of restored mills which are situated on top a hill and give amazing views of the 12th century castle and the town below.

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Despite the heat being in the high 30s, and not being able to go into the palace, as dogs were not allowed to enter, we enjoyed the dramatic views and the beauty of the mills and the vast plains below.

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Temperatures here in Andalucía are high, and just now, sitting in the heat without the slightest hint of a breeze, I find myself smiling at the memory of the gusts of cool air back on that hilltop in La Mancha.

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55 thoughts on “La Mancha and Windmills

  1. Wow, that looks amazing! I saw a fantastic production of Don Quixote in Barcelona’s Plaça Reial, 25 years ago, performed by an Italian theater company. It was so good it really stuck in my brain 🙂

    1. We saw a production on tv a couple of years ago of the ballrt and it was beautiful! The windmills really were very impressive in real life too and very well restored.

      1. I was surprised to see so many and in such good condition – no doubt they are even more impressive in real life.
        Do they grow crocuses for saffron around there?

      2. Yes they do! Didn’t see any though but one of the Windmills is a little visitor centre and shop and they sold it in there (very expensive).

        Sent from Samsung tablet.

  2. Yes, wonderful photos of you and your dogs and of the windmills which inspired the writer of Don Quixote. I must get round to “reading” it one day. What a marvelous trip!

  3. Delightful photos and a ‘filling in of gaps’ in the story of Don Quixote! Don’t usually care for ‘musicals’ but have to admit to having liked our local production on the theme way back when! Even in the huge, wide perimeters of Australia your back-and-forth journey is of quite some length: only way to enjoy it is to have those ‘pit stops’!

    1. I do remember years ago when in Australia how trips of many hours would be considered as almost of no consequence! I do enjoy our road trips, and the pit stops are fun too.

      Sent from Samsung tablet.

  4. Oh, I’m sure there’s so much more to smile about when you think of that trip, Tanya. I’m glad that you two didn’t speed your way through the countryside. That would have been such an awful waste. By the way, it’s not a good idea to look so much better than your pups in photos. Soon they won’t let you take any photos whatsoever. When was the last time you saw a picture of Max and me? Just saying … 🙂

    1. Oh me too….I once had a client that was a big dairy company in the UK and one of my favourite trips was when we had to go to one of the cheese factories near Cornwall I think and it was right next to a massive installation of wind turbines. So impressive when they were all whirring away!

      Sent from Samsung tablet.

  5. Beautiful photos! The very first night we were in Spain, we ordered a trio of Manchego and one contained Rosemary. and they drizzled olive oil over it. Heaven.

      1. That’s right…the one with rosemary inside is pretty special,  especially with that gorgeous drizzle of olive oil! 

        Sent from Samsung tablet.

  6. Somehow I think this is the first time I’ve seen a picture of the actual windmills from the “Don Quixote” region…so beautiful. The light is amazing there. And how nice to see a shot of you and “Big Man” Tanya. You both and pups look great. 🙂

  7. Pure heat shimmery gorgeousness Ms Chica. Lovely shot of you and the dogs and those windmills! If it wasn’t a muddy quagmire around here I would make myself a lance out of one of the spindly trees that fell down in the strong winds the other day and would practice my jousting but for now, I will only attack windmills in my mind. I promise!

    1. Dream jousting is much more fun and infinitely safer! I have decided that I now want to buy an old windmill and restore it but Big Man is not quite so sold on the idea 😕

  8. I could feel the heat, even with the windmills 🙂 What a fabulous location!
    So, how did you and Big Man come to meet? Holiday romance? Ooh, I AM nosy 🙂

    1. Not nosy at all…we were introduced by the lady who owned the house I rented long term when I was in Spain trying to learn Spanish. We went out for the day almost as a joke and found we really hit it off! The rest, as they say, is history 😀Will have to dig out the chapter that I wrote as part of the book way back…!

  9. I read Don Quixote many years ago but I’m sorry to say, I don’t remember too much about it. Love the photo of all the windmills perched high on the hill. It is really nice to see what the windmills look like, it helps to visualize the book.

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