Almansa, Spain in Castilla-La Mancha

Once upon a time there was a castle  on a little hill in Spain pretty much out in the middle of nowhere which is quite typical for many of these castle-on-a-hill types in Spain…  You’ll find this one in Almansa about 90 minutes south of Valencia on the way to Albacete in the province of Castilla La Mancha.  I suppose there is probably more to see in this little town than the castle, but the castle is quite nice, unique, and open to tour with a small fee.
There is a nice open ring of parking at the northern base of this old hill, so that you can drive directly to it and park without stress.  In this land of medieval towns, hills, and bicycle width roads, easy parking is a rarity and a luxury because as pathetic as it is, the task of finding a parking spot and actually parking the car can be the most stressful part of any trip.

A little pedestrian only road spirals up the hill from there past short homes all stuck together with a variety of painted doors and shutters being the only decoration.  The entrance to the castle is through another small building where you enter, buy tickets, then climb the stairs inside the building to come out on the second floor where there is access out the back to the stone steps up to the castle.

The swallows are going crazy this time of year.  Flocks swarm around Almansa’s castle like daytime bats tucking into small holes in the outside castle walls.  They are pretty and fun to watch, but hundreds of birds means babies and a few fatalities.  We saw several dead baby birds here including one cradled on the back of the stone swan below.

The castle was built by the Moors in the 12th century, then taken by the Christians in the 13th.  It grew, changed, and passed hands a lot through the years as Almansa stands at the crux of several regions, but even now almost 900 years from its beginning, large portions of the castle still stand.

Part of its success and may be the most interesting thing for me is that the Moors didn’t just haul endless stones up the hill, but minimized the materials used by utilizing the existing stone on the hill itself.  Entire walls standing now are solid natural rock.  It’s really beautiful.  The keyhole windows are unique to this castle as well and very pretty.

You can climb the spiral stone staircase to the very top of the tower for a view of the surrounding area, hills lined with windmills almost faded completely in the distance, brownish green fields, then more hills.  The Almansa castle is an oasis in a land of windmills.  It’s another Spanish bargain at 3 euros/adult and only 2/child.

From the castle you can see the church below and the square around it where there are several cafes to choose from and a beautiful Ayuntamiento.  The best views are from a distance, so do stop outside of the town for a photo op before getting on the motorway and zooming to your next destination.

My Experience:  http://estrogenpalace.blogspot.com/2010/06/almansa.html

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About Tiffany

I'm eclectic. Sometimes that's a good thing because I can do bits of everything. Sometimes it's aggravating because I get distracted by so many amazing things. Mostly, I love photography and family, travel and writing, cooking, reading, art, and coffee. Sundays are church days to regroup and refocus. God's in charge here.

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