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Driving in Spain

Four summers ago, I was traveling through Spain with my friends. There were 2 children, mom and dad, and me in the car. We were hot and tired as we had been traveling in Italy for 2 weeks prior to our "wandering" experience. We had just left the fabulous Costa Brava, negotiated our way through Barcelona, and were heading towards Madrid. There was some pressure because we had to meet a tour bus in Madrid for the last leg of our trip.

Somewhere past Barcelona we exited the freeway for a bathroom break. We could NOT figure out how to get back on the freeway!! It was at this point that we decided to look for water. We saw a lake on the map which appeared to be about 2 hours outside of Madrid. Water sounded wonderful in this rather dry and hot farmland. We decided to go for it although all in the car were not in favor of the adventure.

This detour turned out to be one of the more rewarding events of our trip. We found our way to a little town called Nuevalos. The winding switchback filled road climbed up the mountain and to our delight, and in front of our eyes, was a huge turquoise reservoir called "Lake" de La Tranquera. In this remote area, there were not many boats on the lake, just a few fisherman and swimmers. We found lodging in a family friendly hotel in town and then to our surprise, went on to the best of all.

The locals recommended that we visit the Monastery. Our visit to the Monasterio de Piedra was one of our most memorable events of our month long trip. The Monastery was built in the 11th Century. A guided tour of the Monastery was replete with sounds and equipment of the ages long ago. Cool.

However, the highlight was the guided (by map) tour of the "grounds". The whole area is quite environmentally conscious because of the centuries of study by the monks. I wish I had information to give you on the size of this "park" because it was HUGE and breathtaking. All kinds of flora and fauna, varied topography, and even fish breeding pools. There were miles of hiking paths, cliffs, and stupendous waterfalls that made me think I was in an old time Tarzan movie. To us, the place seemed like a wonder of the world. If we had it to do over again, the only change we would make would be to actually stay in the Monastery.

Go for it! You won't be disappointed in this slice of heaven.



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