Looking for Sean McLachlan? He mostly hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog these days, but feel free to nose around this blog for some fun older posts!

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Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Castles of Spain

This weekend I took my wife and kid to stay with friends in the countryside just outside Madrid. The main highlight besides great conversation and amazing cooking was a six kilometer walk to this castle. Despite being only two and a half, Julián was a real trooper and walked much of the way. He's a Grizzled Old Traveler in the making!

The castle is called El Castillo de Aulencia and is located at the confluence of the Aulencia and Guadarrama rivers. It was the stronghold of the Arab governor of the region back in the Middle Ages. In the fourteenth century it was taken by the Spanish in their ongoing bid to push the Moors out of Spain, something they eventually succeeded in doing in 1492. It was the biggest news in Europe that year, far overshadowing a certain explorer's claim to have sailed across the Atlantic to India.

Most of the castle dates to the Spanish period, with the surrounding walls having been built in the fifteenth century. It even saw action in the Battle of Brunete during the Spanish Civil War. When gardening one day, my friend discovered an old rusted land mine on his property. And to think American farmers brag about finding arrowheads!

The castle is on private land so we couldn't get in. I was all for jumping the fence, but with a kid in tow I had to act like a responsible dad. Ah well.

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