Sometimes we don’t value enough the things that surround us, just because we’re used to see them everyday. But the truth is that they can be real treasures. This is what it used to happen to me with my own hometown, Guadalupe, until I learned how to value it. Follow me, you will understand why.
Guadalupe is a tiny village located in the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara International Geopark, in Extremadura, Spain. Is a World Heritage Site since 1993, First Rural Wonder of Spain by Toprural and one of the most beautiful villages in the country according to the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Spain. As a curious fact, New Year’s bells are going to be broadcasted from my village! Because of that, this year it’s full of people that come to see the Christmas lights. We are even in NatGeo Travel magazine!
Trust me, you start feeling the peace that this place emites before arriving. The adventure starts while you’re driving through a majestic mountain road full of life, that includes uncommon plants, such as Prunus lusitanica, or a huge variety or animals, from azure-winged magpies (Cianopyca cooki) to roe deers (Capreolus capreolus).
Once in the village, the first stop is Santa María de Guadalupe’s Monastery, an amazing spot full of history. The monastery was built in the fourteenth century by the order of the King Alfonso XI of Castile, in gratitude to the Virgin, after his victory in the battle of Salado, in 1340. Moreover, the village is related with Cristobal Columbus too. It is said that, after his famous expedition to discover America, he came back to Gudalupe with the two first indians that met the Iberian Peninsula, and they were baptised in the fountain´s pile located in the main square, in front of the building.
However, the Monastery is just the arrowhead, because the village has a privileged background that makes visitors blow their mind. The Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark is a mountainous massif, whose highest point is the Villuercas Peak (1601 m), originated in the Carboniferous period. On the top of the peak, there is an old military base where you have the best view the whole background. The main relief is called “apalachense” because of the analogy with the Apalache Mountains in North America. Regarding to this environment, the Geopark is one of the best corners in Spain, and even in Europe, to look for fossil remains and geological structures. But, dear friends addicted to live wildlife and birdwatching, don’t suffer. You can find strategic spots to look for mammals, amphibians and a wide list of birds, especially raptors. I love when I find vultures and common buzzard (Buteo buteo). Apart from birdwatching, in autumn you can enjoy listening to the bawls of the deer in the middle of a fairy tale forest.
After spending the morning looking for wildlife, fossil remains, climbing up the mountains or just breathing clean and fresh air, you can go for something to eat. Let me tell you that all visitors that come to Extremadura, and to Guadalupe in particular, agree that food is the best part of the trip. If you come, you cannot go back home without trying migas extremeñas, patatera, morcilla de Guadalupe or rosca de muégado for the most sweet-tooth. And vegetarian people can find options too, like spanish tortilla or gazpacho. Forget the diet and take pleasure in feel the explosion of flavors! If you ask me about places to book a table, I honestly recommend Hotel Restaurante La Posada del Rincón and Restaurante Guadalupe.
The afternoon is time to explore the streets. If I had to organise a tour, the mandatory stops would be: the Jewish neighbourhood, the 4 arcs that were the old village doors and Calle Nueva de Los Capellanes, that ironically is the oldest street in Guadalupe.
Also, if you are a sleepover fan, you can spend another day visiting more villages that belong to the Geopark too or that are located near to it, such as Navalvillar de Pela, where Crane´s Fest is celebrated every year in November. What a show full of colours and nature!
I’m sure you will fall in love with this stunning corner of the Earth just 15 minutes after meet it, and you will wish to be as lucky as me to was born here. We ́re the forgotten region in Spain, but in contrast we’re kinda famous abroad because our nature and our friendly spirit. Do you dare to feel the experience?
- Carmen Terán Mendoza
- : Spanish biologist currently studying a MSc in wildlife research and management. I love exploring the world, nature and fitness, and I'm especially keen on wildlife conservation.
- : https://www.facebook.com/carmen.teranmendoza
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- : If you're looking for a place where nature, wildlife and human being live together in harmony, matching tradition and all the facilities of the s. XXI, you must visit Guadalupe. This Spanish village is waiting for you to stole your heart and conquer your stomach. Do you dare to feel the experience?
- : adult_(19_and_over_as_of_31st_december_2019)
- : This is the first time this story has been published.