Day 1 Spain Road Trip: Madrid to Santuario Virgen de la Cabeza

Day 1 of three days road trip from Madrid, Spain to Gibraltar
morning: Madrid to Andalusia via Castile-La Mancha

After walking around Madrid in the morning, we decided it was time to get out of the city. We drove out of Madrid about 2 p.m, headed south. It is very easy to get out of town and all the highways are clearly marked. Once we were out of the city, we were quick to notice how much more relaxed the roadway became.

We took highway A-42 south of out of Madrid. The A-42, Autovía de Toledo, passes through the region of Castile-La Mancha. South of Toledo, we took road N-401. Just south of Sonseca, we too CM-410 into Orgaz because I wanted to see the church.

Orgaz, Spain 
It's is an easy slip into the town of Orgaz. The CM-410 leads to the Yébenes Gate (Arco de San Jose), it is a gate of the old Arab wall that enclosed the town of Orgaz. We spent time walking through the old city main plaza. Orgaz was a fortress which also has Puerta de Toledo (Arco de Belen) and Antigua Puerta de Toledo. (known as the Arch of Bethlehem).

Orgaz: On the trail of Don Quixote: "The Ingenious Gentleman Don
Quixote of La Mancha"

Most of the towns in La Mancha will have some claim to Don Quixote, whether it is a statute of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, or the green sign (above) or memorialized on their product labels from wine to cheese. We returned to the N-401 to Ciudad Real, which then turns to road N-420 to Puertollano.

evening: Enter mountains of Andalusia via Road A-6176 
We filled petrol in Puertollano around 6:30 p.m. We asked at the petrol station about accommodation in some of the mountain villages we noticed on the map, and decided we would sleep in the car if we needed.  Take the road heading south to Mestanza. This road goes through the Sierra de Puertollano, past the Emb de Montoro. Road A-6176, past the village of Solana del Pino, (Pto. de los Rehoyes at 980 mtrs) that leads into the Sierra Quintana

Road A-6176 in the Sierra Quintana
Road A-6176 winds through the beautiful hills of the Sierra Quintana, Parque Natural de la Sierra de Andujar. We stopped along the way to enjoy the beautiful views as we climbed steeper ridges to rockier crags that mark the border between Castilla-LaMancha and Andalucia. The park's highest peak is here, Burcio del Pino at 1,290m.
Sierra de Andújar
Traveling Road A-6176 enters the protected zone for the Iberian lynx. This sign was taken is entering the Sierra Morena area (north of Andújar, Andalucía). Protection area statistics say there were 150 Iberian Lynx individuals overall in 2008, up from 60 in 2002.
Entering the protected zone for the Iberian lynx
Time, Distance, Stuff  
This trip (plotted below) took us about six hours. Approximate driving distance was about 380 kilometres. We were off major highways for most of the journey and took plenty of time to stop in small villages, take time for mountain views, and stop for a picnic or two.

We arrived a little after 9 p.m. at the Santuario Virgen de la Cabeza, Carretera del Santuario, north of Andújar. This is a very small village, but we managed to find a sweet room in the Santuario. (see the post about Santuario Virgen de la Cabeza)

View more photos from this trip in my Picassa albums:

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