Monday, December 12, 2011

Oliva: Day 1, Uclés

[This post is part one in the Oliva series.]

On Thursday morning Gregorio and I left Madrid around 8:30am, destination: Oliva.  His parents live in Oliva, which is on the east coast, south of Valencia.

Oliva, Spain
It was a bit foggy on the way out of Madrid through the mountains, but then minutes later there would be clear skies.  Then fog, then clear.

It would normally take about four hours to get to Oliva from Madrid, so I thought we would get to Oliva somewhere around lunch time and eat with Gregorio's parents.  I could not have been more wrong.

Little did I know, Gregorio had a whole day of stops planned.  Our first stop was about 40 minutes outside of Madrid, in Uclés.  The air out here was so fresh and quiet; it was a nice change of scenery from the city.

The castle in Uclés
There was a plaque at this look-out point that read: "In this spot on May 29, 1108 Christian and Arab forces met in a bloody battle. Nine hundred years later we commemorate in peace, this day."

After seeing the castle from a distance, we drove up to the top of the hill to explore the area on foot.

Entrance to the castle we did not enter.
We didn't go inside the castle because it cost 4 euro/person.  This is a typical admission price for some cathedrals and other castles, but we had seen plenty outside the castle and didn't feel it was worth the money.  Here's what we saw outside of the castle:

Creepy faces on the molding all along the castle walls

The faces, staring at you
Pretty, rustic windows

Right across from the castle entrance, we saw these doors opening up to some old ruins.

Gregorio had quite a laugh when we walked in and saw that the ruins had been converted into a basketball court.  "Only in Spain," he said between chuckles, "would they have historical ruins, yet instead of preserving them, they turn it into a basketball court!"

On our way out of the town, we were turning around on a road right next to a lovely fountain.  I really wanted to take a drink from the fountain, so I jumped out of the car and headed straight towards the water, eyes on the prize.  BOOM, next thing I know I've face planted onto the ground right in front of the fountain.  I hear Gregorio laughing as I push myself off the cement to see how the heck this happened.

My left foot was in a two-foot deep trench that encircled the fountain.  There was a small bridge to walk across, but since I was staring at the fountain and not the ground, I completely missed it.

Beware of trench
No hard feelings, lovely fountain,  you were worth the tumble
After capturing the photos I wanted of the lovely yet sneaky fountain, we headed back to the highway and continued towards Oliva.

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