We spent a couple of days at the town Alquezar located about 20 km north of Barbastro (the capital of the Somontano wine region ).We came here because we had booked the Canyoning tour and were both captured and suprised by the beauty of this hill top mountain village.
I find the landscape of Arragon facinating. It is very arid, kind of a semi-desert region. Olive trees and small bushes neverless make it green. The rivers cut through the landscape having formed many dramatic canyons over time.
It almost feels like time has stood still here.
Alquezar turned out to be a busy little town. Drawing quite a bit of visitors even though it was early September so we did not manage to find a hotel room there on short notice. We did find a small hotel more like a Bed and Breakfast in the neighboring village of Buesca. Located at the end of the street in this sleepy little town. The family dog doing his job by keeping an eye out about what was going on.
I did get to use my Spanish. In these parts of rural Spain it is very helpful if you know the language. The owners of the little hotel spoke nothing but Spanish. In Arragon and Catalona, Catalan is spoken. It shares similarities with Spanish but yet it is very different. Even if you speak Spanish you don't understand Catalan when it is spoken. I am happy I got to pratice my Spanish beacause it proved to be very useful and helpful. I can also tell that it was very much appreciated that I could speak the language even if it was not perfect. Knowing and being able to speak the language just opens so many doors.
We were the only guest at this hotel and here we also got to expirence the typical Spanish breakfast. Coffee, juice, two slices of toasted country bread, a plate with cheese and large slices of jamon, olive oil to drizzle on top of the jamon and some kind of sweet pastry to finish the breakfast.
The Spanish siesta in the afternoons is still praticed here in the smaller villages. Shop close at 1pm and open again at 5 pm. Inbetween those hours are the quiet time. Then in the evening everything fills again with life. Dinner time is definately later in Spain than in other places around Europe. No one has dinner before 9 pm in Spain. The first few days we came into resturants around 8 and 8.30 pm and we were the only guests. Most resturants don't even open before 8 or 8.30pm.
Deep ravines and impressive bridges. Traveling a long the quiet country roads was fantastic. Many turns and curves up and down the mountain sides. We made stops here and there to take a picture and admire the landscape. Even if the distance between places was not so long it still took time to get from place to another due to the curvy roads.
These ravines and gorges are so deep. If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the river at the bottom. Sometimes you just here the sound of water deep down below. Water that has helped to create holes and caves in the lime stone rock where eagles and other birds have built their nests.
Drivning towards the Pyrenees that you can see in the far distance. The landscape here is just so very differnt from the landscape around the Alps we have here in Switzerland.
Another very charming and cute medevial village is Ainsa that sits on a hilltop. We only had time for a very breif stop here on our way back towards Barcelona. This is one of Arragons gems when it comes to beautiful mountain villages.
It gets pretty crowded in summer but now in September the streets were quiet and so pretty.