Vilafamés and the Parc Natural de la Sierra d’Espada

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Finally we made a move after 11 days in the same spot, the longest linger yet of the trip. Actually it flew by and I was enjoying the area, there were still things to entertain, but other it was time for something different.

So we set off and first port of call was Vilafamés which has a contemporary art museum. Over 500 pieces by some notable Spanish contemporary artists, but sadly almost complete and utter tosh. I refuse to celebrate people who plainly have no talent other than to put a few daubs of paint on canvas. Ok, it might not be the artist at fault, but the brain dead critics. Anyway, it was a nice building and gave us an excuse to climb up to the castle for the view. The whole town appears to be perched on top of a large lump of rock.

The geology around here is obviously impressive, yet the locals seem to have a desire to live on a plateau, as all around the town of Onda they are dismantling the hills one by one and feeding them into the seemingly endless number of tile factories. Quite scary!

We then enjoyed the afternoon drive through the Sierra d’Espada park, sharp wooded hills and an entertaining valley road through them. Our camp site is sandwiched between that and the Sierra Calderona park, and there seems to be heaps to do, including being at one end of Spain’s longest unbroken cycle route, the Ojos Negros. It’s 160kms long running along a reclaimed narrow gauge mine railway, from the mines of the same name in neighbouring Aragon province all the way to the sea at Segunto. We are at about the 140km mark (nearer Segunto) and will probably cycle to the sea tomorrow, and then I’m thinking of taking a 2-3 day ride up the route to the mines and back, with the tent in tow for accommodation.

Because the route is in the hills that rise to about 1200 metres it’s likely to be a cold one. The forecast for the highest point currently shows nighttime temps as low as -7c, so I’m going to have to take plenty to wear! I can always chicken out and find a hotel, but it should be interesting. Just going to see how the weather forecast plays out before deciding how far to go.

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