While walking across the bridge in Montanejos yesterday, I talked to a lady from Madrid who told me how beautiful Oropesa is, so this morning, seeing that Oropesa really isn’t that far from us, we took a drive about 40 minutes up the coast from Valencia to explore.
I saw it from the highway as we approached it and I almost didn’t take the exit. This is it?!!?? It’s one tiny little hill with one very ruined old castle on top. The traditional tangle of old sandwiched homes spills down the hill. There are winding streets and narrow passageways. It’s all quite typical.
And surrounding this tiny oasis is just another sprawling town. Sigh.
It’s pretty, don’t get me wrong, but here in Spain, there is so much amazing and spectacular, that this, frankly, is quite average.
In this old town there are plaques hanging from the lanterns with famous quotes from saints and authors. These are unique and fun to find and try to translate. This one is, roughly, “I live without living and in this way I hope that I die because I won’t die.”
We walked up to the top of the hill to the castle ruin from which there are nice views of the town and sea beyond. In fact, from that point, I took more photos of the view that I have only a couple photos of the castle itself, but then, there wasn’t much to photograph but pieces of crumbling rock walls.
They are proud though of this castle of Muslim origins. “Due to its importance, it was conquered by distinguished historical figures like El Cid in 1090, and King James 1 in 1233 (after falling into the Almoravid’s hands).” It was rebuilt in the 14th C and armed in the 16th, but apparently it was “conquered” again because it’s in shambles now.
I think it’s funny to define the importance of something by who tried to conquer it, though, now that I think of it, I suppose that’s how it works in art, in business ideas, in dating, in war… probably a bit in everything. We just don’t think of it that way normally.
Anyway… that was the hill. Short and sweet, cute and quaint, quotable and thought provoking…
And at the bottom was a park where we stopped to placate the kids who were bored with quaint castle topped hills and wanted to swing. They were lucky because there’s one of those amazing German bucket style swings that swing so high the kids are upside down. The park is also displaying the first prize sculpture winner of 2010 by Miguel Escobar called Mara’m, mira’t, mira. Fun to photograph.
The beach is where we had an average lunch and took a walk before the rains came. The kids wanted to sit in the sand and draw. I wanted to walk. We began the game of “Draw a picture, then run to mom, squat, and draw another one. Repeat.” It worked really well and between the three of them they filled the beach with Sponge Bob.
I found out later about this resort supposedly here which looks amazing… but somehow I don’t think three children and today’s weather would have supported it: http://www.comunitatvalenciana.com/propuestas-de-viaje/castellon-costa-azahar-orpesa/oropesa-del-mar-salud-y-bienestar-en-oropesa-del-mar-0?id_pv=5808