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Right next to the Buendía
dam in the Cuenca province of Castilla la Mancha a fascinating hiking route
can be found, completely unlike any other in Spain.
carved faces and bas-reliefs have been sculted into the natural façade
of the rocks and dotted among the beautiful landscape in the area. This
has been dubbed the "Ruta de las Caras," or in English, the Route of the
Close to the city of Madrid,
the surrounding scenery is thick with dense pine forests and spectacular
outcrops of sandstone rock, all of this overlooking the cool and beautiful
Buendía dam. Strolling the hiking paths through this landscape,
an onlooker is taken on both a cultural and artistic journey of spiritual
discovery. Perfect for both nature and art lovers alike, the pathway takes
one out of the traditional museum setting into a more natural and serene
landscape, allowing the onlooker to see the relationship between the art
and nature itself.
The artistic route is the
result of a collaboration between several artists over the years, creating
an impressive and striking collection of sculptures, ranging in size from
1 to 8 feet in height. Each face has a mystical or religious meaning
behind it and, carved into the natural sandstone, reminds one of Pharaonic
Egypt, and the artists themselves say they were inspired by pre-Columbian
Besides the Route of the
Faces, Buendía itself is worth a visit for many reasons. There are
several hiking trails available in the area, including some shorter and
easier ones for children. A one-hour scenic route takes you through the
area, including the sculptures.
A slightly more grueling
route takes one past the Buendía swamps and alongside the Sierra
de Altamira, with beautiful views across the landscape.
The dam and waterways close
by offer many water sports, including jet skiing, boating, sailing, fishing
and bathing in some areas.
Eating is a pleasure, too,
as the gastronomy of Buendía is varied and can be enjoyed in several
restaurants in the town itself. Typical dishes include Cuenca roast lamb,
chicken with garlic, pickled partridge, crawfish, migas (a traditional
breadcrumb dish) and gazpacho (a cold soup made from vegetables), along
with some very tempting local desserts.
The ideal accommodation
Rural La Casa de las Médicas, Charming hotel in Buendía,
free WiFi and a restaurant, Hotel Rural La Casa de las Médicas offers
artistic accommodation in Buendía. The hotel has a terrace and views
of the garden, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. There is a shared
lounge at the property. Two restaurants are available for guests including
the Cave Restaurant. Bike hire is available at this hotel and the area
is popular for cycling. Close by, at the Buendía Reservoir, it is
possible to enjoy hiking the "Rutas
de las Caras" or Route of the Faces, an artistic hiking route. Each
room at this hotel is individually decorated, air conditioned and features
a flat-screen TV. Some units feature a seating area for your convenience....
1. CC screen grab from YouTube
2. CC-by-SA Asoka
to Travel Guide / Castilla-la
Saffron Harvest Tour
This culinary trip takes you to
the annual harvesting of the saffron flower in La Mancha. Discover the
roots of Spanish Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world ... read