Part 14: Parador Alarcon


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The Trip

We spent the night in Tortosa and had a great time.  Next morning, we had breakfast and loaded to go on to our next destination: Alarcron.  It was a significant drive, but the roads were good.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Despite the winds of the previous day, the winds were calm.  The calm conditions provided a mirror-like surface on the Ebro River.

The river was calm enough for us to get nice reflections of the river-side structures.

We loaded our stuff into the car and headed out on Auto Piste 7 to the south toward Valencia.  Along the way, we spotted many interesting things including this cathedral in a road-side town.  This is a crop of a 35mm photo shot from our car "at speed".

As we started paying attention, we noticed that there were plenty of small castles along our route of travel.  Some were in acceptable shape, others were dilapidated and run-down.  This was a pretty large structure.

The old castles turned out to be numerous, and these were only the ones we could see from the road.

This one looks to be more of just a mirador (watchtower) rather than a full-blown castle.

This mirador is round.

We traveled a significant distance and then we came upon Alarcon.  This was the real deal, in every way.  Built by the Moors in the 8th century, it is located on an ox bow of the river and is a very hearty fortification.  But, hearty or not, it was destroyed by Alfonso VIII in the 12th century after the war between the Christians and Arabs.  Later, in the 14th century, it was rebuilt by Don Juan Pacheco, Marquis de Villena.  The current structure is as Don Pacheco left it.   The photo above is from a turn-out on the highway that provided a view from an alternate mirador.

The Alarcon is a daunting structure with high walls and heavily-fortified battlements.

This is the mirador where the previous photo was taken.  Note the style of the lower window versus the upper window.  The upper window clearly shows the Moorish influence.

From the mirador, we could see the access gate to Alarcon.

In the opposite direction, I could see Steve and our rental car parked on the lip of the canyon.

The entrance tower to Alarcon was impressive.  Note the vegetation growing on the face of the walls.

Across the canyon, we could see yet another mirador that guarded the the castle.

Kathleen booked some great rooms in the castle.  There were only 15 rooms, and our room was magnificent.

Great modern fixtures in an ancient structure.

A really nice tub area.  The Parador system does a great job with their hotels.

The view from our room down into the court yard.

The door on the left was the actual entrance to the castle.

We decided to walk around the village and got to see yet another mirador across the canyon.  That said, there are minimal windows for a "mirador".

Further down the river was another mirador.  The wall, while dilapidated, once blocked the path by the river-side

We decided to walk around the village and came upon the town square.  On the north side of the town square was a hand-built cathedral.  Note that the windows have been blocked-in.

We came upon this bar (closed) in the village square.

Close by was another church.

I was engaging some of the locals in some conversation and Steve and Kathleen were waiting impatiently for me.

The fellow on the left was the bar owner, the other fellow just another village citizen.  We talked for about 15 minutes about local business conditions.

Yet another church we encountered on our way back to the Parador.

There was another hotel next to the Parador that had this statue out front next to some huge clay jars.

The entrance to the Parador in the evening light.

Alarcon is quite a place and worth the visit should your travels bring you to the area.

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