Castle of Loarre

We left Javea in the evening, the day we had sold our house. We could have stayed one more night with the camper, but instead of bathing in our sorrow about leaving this beautiful place, we decided to head straight into new adventures.

We drove until Gilet near Sagunt where we stopped at a monastery in a nice valley. After a quiet night, we hiked up the nearest mountain which had a cross on top, which we could already see from our parking.
From the top, we had a great view over the monastery and to the coast of Sagunt and Valencia.

We drove on past Teruel and through the vast maseta at around 1.000 masl. We turned off the highway, to go to Daroca, which we had passed before and wanted to visit now. But first we stopped at an incredible picnic place at the rio Jiloca. (40.970299,-1.313710) It had a medieval bridge, an old train bridge, a river with cold water, trees, tables and especially a ford to cross the river!

After our lunch break, we drove to Daroca, which is famous for its 4 km long wall around town. The church has alabaster windows but was under renovation.  We walked through one of the old gates and strolled through town.

Afterwards we continued further north, past Saragossa, which would have been tempting, as you can see the impressive cathedral with its tower already from far away. But still we didn’t have enough time – this has to change soon 😉

Our goal for the night was a dam north of Saragossa, the Embalse de la Sotonera. The dam was more than full, so that there was no nice shore. Trees were under water and it seamed impossible to go for a swim.

Therefore, we continued to our next destination, the castle of Loarre. We spent a peaceful night with the view over the planes south of this mountains while flashes lightened the sky when a thunderstorm passed.

The next morning, we visited the castle, which is the best preserved roman castle of Europe and got even more famous with the movie Kingdom of Heaven. It was also a monastery and the church with its dome is the most impressive part.

When driving on, we took the road to Riglos to have a look at the rock formations called Mallos de Riglos. There is a 2,5 hours hike around this rocks which is highly recommendable. You can watch vultures and other big birds doing their circles around these rocks.

After our hike, we drove further north along rio Gallego and crossed the Embalse de la Peña over a nice bridge. Also this dam had a very high water level, but we saw a place where the locals went for a dip: 42.401436, -0.763105 -Barranco de Paternoy. A river comes down the hills and forms beautiful basins of water. I regret we didn’t stop as it looked beautiful.

There was one more highlight that day: the old monastery San Juan de la Peña. Already the drive up to a cliff in the mountains was impressive and the old building under the rocks was fascinating.

For the night, we stopped at Jaca, an historic town and former capital of Aragón. We walked through the center which was full of live and stopped near the cathedral at Bodegas Langa, where we enjoyed a very good wine before we went home again.

The next morning, we drove into the Pyrenees and up until Canfranc-Estacion to have a look at its huge abandoned train station. We walked around a little, but sadly couldn’t do a guided tour, which we would have had to book in advance. Nevertheless we were impressed by this beautiful train station, where you easily can imagine the bustle of the heydays. Nowadays it is very much abandoned.

Afterwards we drove up to the pass of Somport and into France.

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