Taking the high road on the Quixote tourist trail

22nd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 March 2005, MADRID-Lovers of Spain's most famous writer can combine imaginary tilting at windmills and savouring 17th century gastronomy along the Route of Don Quixote.

22 March 2005

MADRID-Lovers of Spain's most famous writer can combine imaginary tilting at windmills and savouring 17th century gastronomy along the Route of Don Quixote.

As Spain celebrates the 400th birthday of Cervantes' famous novel, the Cervantes tourist trail has become a major fixture.

Spots associated with the Man of La Mancha take the visitor from a windmill-covered plain to the route Quixote travelled on the back of his horse, Rocinante.

The itinerary, created especially for the anniversary include stages on foot, on horseback and on a bicycle through central Spain's Castile-La Mancha region.

In the text, Cervantes is often less than explicit about where the action is taking place, an ambiguity that has inspired a plethora of interpretations about the route of the knight-errant.

Nevertheless, cognoscenti do agree on a dozen or so sites that are obligatory for Quixote enthusiasts.

The most important locations for literary pilgrims are the Casa de Cervantes in Esquivias, Toledo province; the white windmills of Campo de Criptana and the town of Alcazar de San Juan, both in the province of Ciudad Real; and the museum in El Toboso devoted to Quixote's beloved Dulcinea.

Also de rigueur are the wineries of Tomelloso and Valdepeñas, the prison of Argamasilla de Alba where Cervantes served time and the Camino Real travelled by the author.

At roadside inns that make the claim "Don Quixote slept here," modern-day tourists can sample the traditional cuisine of La Mancha, like migas de pastor (fried breadcrumbs with garlic and pepper), las gachas (porridge) and ajoarriero (cod cooked with eggs and garlic).

Visitors will also be able to enjoy the vintages from prestigious local wineries, shop for crafts, view expositions and contemplate the architectural treasures of Sigüenza and Toledo, where the cityscapes reflect the legacy of medieval Spain's blend of Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures.

Though Cervantes never said what town Don Quixote called home, a team of scholars from Madrid's Complutense University recently concluded that it was Villanueva de los Infantes in Ciudad Real province.

The researchers say they based their findings on factors such as how fast Quixote and sidekick Sancho Panza could have travelled on horseback.

Apart from the designated Quixote Route, devotees can find places of interest in Madrid, including the so-called "Barrio de las Letras" (Arts Quarter) - where Cervantes' neighbours included fellow Golden Age literary giants Gongora and Quevedo - and the cloister that holds the novelist's remains.

Many Spanish institutions are organizing special events to mark Quixote's 400th anniversary, among them art exhibitions, seminars and concerts.

State-run Television Española has broadcast readings from novel starting with King Juan Carlos, followed by a series of both ordinary people and luminaries from the worlds of art and science, such as Nobel literature laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Madrid theatre companies are offering stage productions of "Don Quixote" and other works by Cervantes.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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