Monday, December 29, 2003

December 27, 2003
Drove up through the farmland of La Mancha two days ago. Had the usual freeway fight with the girls. They want to cruise, get to the next destination. Me, I want to take the two-lane back roads and see the out of the way places. I got outvoted, so T. Bell cruised along at 120km in our tiny Ford Focus while the girls sat in the backseat and read books. This drives me crazy. When you are in new country, you need to look! We blew past numerous little villages tucked along the rivers, just off the freeway. We were on our way from Granada to Toledo (It's so sad when a country can't come up with names of their own. . .) and the terrain was a cross between eastern Colorado and northern California. Lots of olive tree fields which gave the land a kind of tattooed look, as the fields went right up mountainsides and looked to be thousands of years old (and probably are). We then topped out in a wide plain, full of vineyards and long fields and, believe it or not, John Deere tractors and a John Deere tractor dealership. This is not tourist country and it had an authentic, farmer kind of feel. I really enjoyed it.

When the girls went to sleep, I told T. to pull off and I took the wheel and took a two-lane blacktop towards Consquengo, and the back way into Toledo. This is Cervantes country and the inspiration for the Don Quixote story were everywhere. Castles on almost every ridge. And these aren't some dinky, rock piles. These are full on fortresses that still could be defended successfully. Flanking the castle at Consquengo were a half dozen rebuilt windmills riding a rocky ridge that looked like Casa Grandes (it´s so sad when. . .)Arizona.

Almost every mile there were grand haciendas in ruin, crumbling back into the earth. Big, ambitious, successful compounds, with corrals and barns and cool looking walls.

Found a great little cafe, Restaurant Castilla in a small town and had a great lunch and the girls thanked me and told me I was right.

Got into Toledo at dusk. Bought a beret. Can't believe I did it. Kathy showed it to me and I just up and bought it (6 Eruos). Deena calls it the Gay Beret. More on this tomorrow.

"All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it-walk." -Ayn Rand

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