I was born in Valdepeñas, Castilla-La Mancha. I haven´t always valued La Mancha as many other Spaniards, and it took me time, maturity and distance to see things from a different perspective.
La Mancha is being undervalued and forgotten and many think of it as a dry area in the middle of Spain, with no turism or atractiveness whatsoever. And the fact is that we have numerous things that should make us think about the genuine and special place La Mancha really is.
The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and if we look at La Mancha with an open heart, we won’t miss the unfolding beauty of these dry lands.
These are just some examples of what La Mancha has to offer:
1. The best cinema
Pedro Almodóvar was born in Calzada de Calatrava, only 45km from my hometown. The last production, Glory and pain is being a total success. The strong underlying social compromise and criticism of Spanish church are characteristic of Almodovar’s movies, and a a legacy that should not be ignored. Almodovar fights bigotry with an imppecable style and an unique hallmark.
2. A land of windmills
Don Quijote could be have born in Valdepeñas, in Infantes, or in Calzada… We will never know. What we know is that, in our hearts, this crazy, romantic and funny knight is always fighting against windmills.”In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing”Cervantes created the first model novel. Don Quijote is also the second most translated book after the Bible and one of the most important classics books of all times. Cervantes took us, through madness and sanity, on a journey about life, values and humanity and La Mancha, with its windmills, is the heart of the imaginery and the fantasies of this unforgettable knight.
3. Valdepeñas and its wine
Valdepeñas is being exporting wine through history to far away lands. In the middle ages, Valdepeñas’wine exported to even China, where it was well apreciated. Today, Valdepeñas wine is renowned worldwide and you can get it in numerous places, even from Alko!4. TapasImagine you go to a bar and order a beer that cost you one or one euro fifty and, in addition, you get completely for free something nice to eat, like manchego cheese with some bread… Yummy!
5. History and culture
Cities full of history and art, like Toledo or Cuenca. Toledo is the city of three cultures (arabic, christian and jewish) and there you can contemplate ancient mosques, sinagogues, ruins from Roman times or churches.Moreover, La Mancha has hundred of castles from the Middle age, if you are an enthusiast of castles!Small towns like Almagro, where every year takes place the theater festival in Spain, due to the fact that Almagro preserves the last classic teather from the 17th century in the world.
La Mancha is very diverse and rich in lanscapes. Evidence of this are Ruidera lakes in Ciudad Real, the waterfalls of Río Mundo (Albacete) or the mezmeraring rocks of Ciudad Encantada (Cuenca).
La Mancha is very flat and sometimes you can see the horizon many kilometres away, the blue sky and the immense fields, never going to an end, just towards the infinite…