Rushing through the bare Aragonese countryside, our train desperately trying to outrun a summer storm chasing us across the plateau, we have time to reflect on our 8 months in Logroño and time to plan for our final week in Spain a trip from Logroño to Teruel to Valencia then Madrid and finally home.
After 4 and a half hours of travelling, we finally pull into the station, end of the line. The people travelling to Valencia swap over to a bus to take them a few stops down to avoid engineering works and we sit on a bench catching our bearings in the evening sun, looking at the Teruel skyline protruding from above the trees, in the park opposite. The first thing we notice is the design of the staircase that leads from the train station park up into the old fortress town. Elegant Mudejar architecture has turned an otherwise simple staircase into a masterpiece of its own. Built with very distinctive red brick, found throughout the Aragonese towns and villages, and adorned with distinctive Muslim symbols and colours it is a delight to see it and we couldn’t wait to see more of these interesting and symbolic time capsules.
On our way into the town, as we decide to not take the pretty stairs with our damn heavy bags and instead the convenient lift adjacent, we see another famous piece of Teruel, one of several wonderfully preserved towers/gatehouses. Similar in design to the staircase and standing high above the buildings around, it is a beautiful way to enter the city and we did so with glee at what other treasures waited for us inside.
Under the tower and along the street we walked, over well-worn cobbles and past courageous drivers braving the narrow streets, until we arrived at the main plaza where all the old streets meet. A simple square with cafes and bars all taking a piece of the square and in the middle, a distinctive column which at first glance appears empty on top but on closer inspection has a tiny statue of a bull watching over the square (did you see it on the cover photo?)
From the square, we push on up the main street to our room for the night. Being in charge of the booking I decided to make it a place we wouldn’t forget and we won’t. Down a tributary of the main street a quaint 16th century guest house has survived the modern hotel chain era and offers low ceiling wooden beam rooms, two delightful cats and an eccentric owner who might also be the owner of the bar downstairs as the bar itself is adorned with items left behind by travellers over its many years of existence. Our stay there was memorable, a real step back in time and these types of hotels are something I have come to love Spain for. Pieces of history maintained by local people whose culture lives on.
After dropping off those damn heavy bags we went for an evening stroll to catch the last of the warmth before it escaped and to see the sights before we left in the morning. We’d been told the cathedral was a must so we went to see the aqueduct instead. It was interesting enough but the Cathedral is a must. It looks nothing like any cathedral we have seen. Small domes dot the roof and green and blue colours can be seen all around it. A huge Mudejar tower stands next to it and it exudes 13th-century beauty.
After our short evening sight see we went to eat on a lovely street, where lovely bars meet lovely views and we watched the sun go down on a very successful day. In the morning we made it our goal to see the other Mudejar towers in the town and enjoy a classic Spanish breakfast beside the ‘torico’. We wanted to see more but our coach was waiting, to take us to our train an hour away. We had only scratched the surface of this mysterious and unique little town. We hadn’t seen the beautiful church of San Pedro that houses the tale of ‘los amantes’ or the great parks across the bridge, which offers scary views of the houses below.
Pulling out of the town, our 24hrs up, into the dry mountains before Valencia we knew we would come back to Teruel again, there is so much to see and do and after so many months in Logroño we felt proud that we had finally been to our first, and not the last, interesting and beautiful Spanish city. Our faith had been restored in Spain and our adventure continues.