Alcoy: The City of Bridges.

It´s funny how things work out sometimes. We all make plans and, some of us, even go as far as making bucket lists. I´m most certainly one of those people. I make lists for everything. Lists of work goals, lists of life goals, lists of things I want to do and places I want to see. Some of these lists being easy to accomplish while others, hmm, let´s just say: debatable.

So; you may be wondering; what´s this got to do with Alcoy? Well; simple. When I first moved to mainland Spain, four years ago now, I was bright eyed, bushy tailed and eager to get to know my new country. I sat down with a pen, my much loved notebook and a map. I started making a list of places I wanted to visit within a two hour radius of where I was living. A realistic bucket list, or at least, that´s what I thought at the time.

Made the connection yet? Yes, I knew you would. One of the lovely places that was lucky enough to make it into my trusty notebook, and onto that glorious list, was Alcoy. Sadly though, I didn´t get to see it before I moved to Córdoba.

That said; once I moved back here, to Murcia, I dragged out that little list, which, by then, had started to gather a thick layer of dust. I vowed to myself there and then to start ticking these places off my list. So; I thought – why not share my experience with all of you?

Enough rambling, onto Alcoy.
Alcoy

When I first heard of Alcoy I was immediately intrigued by it. First of all, because the guidebooks I had read had referred to it as “The real Spain”, quite a bold statement if you ask me. And, secondly, because of its nickname: the City of Bridges. Having been there I can see what the guidebooks meant.

The minute you enter Alcoy you are faced with a mass of Bridges. Alcoy, being a town with many furrowed cliffs and steep drops, needs these bridges due to the natural lie of the land. Some of the bridges date back to the 17th century. Apart from their functional uses, such as providing access to both the industries which border the River Riquer and the more modern parts of the town, they are structurally stunning.

So; apart from the bridges, what has Alcoy got to offer? And, more importantly, why has it been referred to as “The real Spain”? That, I believe, is due to the evident remains of the cultures that once occupied this town. The Moors occupied Alcoy from the tenth to the thirteenth century. Their imprint has remained throughout the centuries and, quite strangely, the Moorish ruins lie beneath the modern day town. It seems that from the fifteenth century, when Alcoy came to prominence and its military might was invaluable to the Alicante region, that Alcoy began to construct a new town. I would imagine, as I haven´t read much on this, that the purpose for this was to accommodate the growth of the town. However, nowadays the town that lies below is not functional and all that remains are ruins. While it is a shame to see a mass of ruins lying below the town, it does add a touch of quirkiness.

Today, Alcoy is a lovely town. As you walk through the streets you get a sense of pride from its inhabitants. One thing that struck me as I walked around was the people. They were all dressed so well and each and every one of them was so friendly. I particularly loved Plaza España as not only was it surrounded by classic architecture but it seemed to be a meeting spot for some of its locals. It was filled with a buzz between the people congregated in the central square and the little shops which had brought their products out onto the street to make shopping a much more inviting experience.


I also loved the little parks that were dotted around this quaint town. They were filled with people and animals and, overall, were pleasant places to visit.

So; the only question that remains is: Is Alcoy worth a visit? Most certainly. Alcoy is a unique town with lots to see. It makes a refreshing change to the busier international holiday resorts in the area. This inland little hub is surrounded by mountains which serve as a backdrop to every street. The natural lie of the land itself is visually pleasing and the numerous bridges and viaduct are spectacular. Alcoy offers something a little different and its people are so welcoming and traditional that it´s a delight to spend time there. While Alcoy may not be everyone´s cup of tea, it´s most certainly a place that can be appreciated by all: especially if you´re keen on history!

I hope that you enjoyed reading about my little  trip and that you´ve all had a fantastic weekend.
Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Castillo de Almodóvar del Río- Córdoba.

This astonishing castle, built on a hill of stone that is roughly 820ft high, was built by the Arabs in 720. The castle provides an authentic insight into the history and culture that is key to the region of Córdoba. In it´s history it has been in the possession of Iberians, Romans, Muslims and Christians, each of them having left their own individual stamp on this extravagant castle. Castillo de Almodóvar, to me, serves as a reminder of this regions unique culture and highlights how it has been heavily influenced by other cultures throughout the centuries.

The journey up to the castle is most certainly a breathtaking one. It took me over half an hour to get from the foot of the hill up to the castle, not due to the distance but rather the sheer beauty there is to behold on the way up. The setting truly is picturesque. With the tone of the upward trek being set by the charming whitewashed houses of Almodóvar del Río contrasted against the spectacularly rich spring colours of the mountainous countryside and the ruggedness of the various pathways meandering their way up the hillside; it´s hard not to be blown away by what the area has to offer.

 

By the time I reached the castle I felt exhilarated and quiet excited to see what awaited me behind the enticing castle walls. I am delighted to say that I wasn´t disappointed in the slightest! Once at the entrance I happily paid the €5 entrance fee and followed the well laid out arrows around the castle. I must say I was impressed at how well maintained this ancient building was and also how true to it´s history it had remained.  It´s authenticisity added to it´s character and made it amazing to watch it´s story unfold before my eyes with such beauty and charm. While walking up to the castle I honestly thought that the views that unfolded before me couldn´t be topped. However, once I reached the highest point in the castle, the towers, I was proven wrong and completely blown away by what lay before me. The colours that spread out across the landscape were so rich and glorious that I couldn´t take my gaze away from them.

As we ventured through the castle we discovered an area with a sword in a stone, for me, this was one of the best parts of the trip. While we were there a beautiful yellow and black butterfly fluttered around us and then kindly, as if it knew all about my obsession with butterflies, rested by my foot for a good five minutes allowing me to take some beautiful pictures of it.

I found myself completely lost in the splendour that surrounded me, and the hours that we spent up there only felt like minutes. We had so much fun between taking in all the history and the beauty, and finding our own fun with wooden swords, fake spiders and bones ( at least I hope they were fake!) we didn’t have a single dull moment on our spontaneous journey through the castle walls!

If you haven´t ventured to Castillo de Almodóvar yet, then I really recommend a visit. With history, views, dramatisations ( I didn´t get to see any) restaurants and taverns it definitely has something to offer everyone! Just remember to check the bus timetables throughly before you embark on your journey!

Would you like to visit Castillo de Almodóvar?

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!

To find out more about Almodóvar del Río and the Zoco that took place there read my other post here!

While all the photos above are my own, the last three, obviously enough, weren´t taken by me! Their credit goes to my dear friend, and talented blogger Carly! Just click on her name to check out her amazing blog filled with breathtaking photos!

Giana xoxo