Conquering the Heart of SpainVÍAS VERDES

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Conquering the Heart of SpainVÍAS VERDES

Conquering theHeart of SpainVÍASSpain is often said to be a small continent of its own. From snowy peaks to sandy beaches,from rustling creeks to vast plains, from dark forests to rocky mountain ranges, in whicheverdirection you turn, you’ll find a fascinating variety of starkly contrasting, unspoiled andbreathtakingly beautiful landscapes. With a view to revealing the splendid interior, the veryheart of Spain, to a wider and increasingly environmentally and health-conscious public,


VERDES(I)since 1993, the Spanish Railroad Foundation has been coordinating the rehabilitation ofobsolete railway tracks. Its goal is to turn them into a country-wide network of comfortablewalking, cycling and horse riding trails, the so-called Vías Verdes or Greenways. This is thefirst of three articles that will take you through Spain, and there is no better place to startthan where Spanish culture was born.


AROUND&ABOUTVÍAS VERDESTEXTANKE VAN WIJCK ADÁNPHOTOSJUAN MANUEL SANZ/ICEXThe Greenways are a nationwidenetwork of non-motorized, wellsurfacedroutes that have beenspecifically planned to accommodatehikers, bikers, and in most cases, thephysically challenged. What makesthese Greenways truly special is theirconvenience and natural beauty.They follow, in entirety, formerrailway tracks in disuse. As traditionhas it, railways are structured to beas flat and straight as possible, sotheir Greenways offspring are notonly easily accessible, safe andcomfortable, but in cutting acrossthe countryside, at every turn, theyoffer different, yet always fascinatingscenery, and a chance to trulyexperience nature.What makes traveling the Greenwayseven more interesting is the fact thatSpain’s countryside is speckled withpicturesque villages that rival Romanaqueducts, Moorish castles,Romanesque bridges and medievalmonasteries, as Spain also happensto hold one of the world’s largestnumber of cultural, historical andnatural National and World Heritagesites. And last but by no means least,there is Spain’s gastronomy, bothtraditional and innovative, that overthe last decade has earned moresuperlatives worldwide than anyother. Whichever Greenway youdecide to take, it will no doubt be afeast for the senses.This first installment, which focuseson northern Spain, will take us alongboth the Vía Verde del Río Oja and theVía Verde de la Sierra de la Demanda,two almost contiguous routes that,while very different, also have manyaspects in common, since whatseparates them is the majestic Sierra ofthe same name.How it all came aboutUntil the end of the 19 th century, dueto taxing orographical conditions, agreat portion of Spain had remainedbarely accessible. The railway seemedan appropriate response to theincreasing demand for goods,especially ore and coal, in areas wherethey did not originate. Consequently, aconsiderable number of narrow trackswere laid throughout the country, butsoon became obsolete or were nevereven put to use due to thedevelopment of road structures soonthereafter. As a result, over 7,500km (4,657 mi) of often seriouslydilapidated, overgrown or floodedrailway tracks throughout thecountry have been patiently awaitingan alternative use. This momentcame when, in 1993, the SpanishRailway Foundation commissioned anationwide inventory that not onlyrevealed the abovementioned lengthof tracks but also nearly a thousandstations, another thousand bridges,five hundred tunnels and a hundredmining facilities. Its commissioner,the then Ministry of Public Works,Transport, and Environment,provided the initial funding tojump-start rehabilitation of a selectnumber of routes.Procedures and funding for thecreation and maintenance of past,present, and future Vías Verdes canbe rather complex, especially as ineach case the players involved aredifferent. “Each Vía Verde is a worldof its own,” explains Carmen Aycart,the director general of the SpanishRailway Foundation. Always underthe auspices and coordination of herorganization and in collaborationwith the Ministry of EnvironmentalAffairs, there can be any confluenceof citizen associations, town andregional councils, the Ministries ofTransport, Labour and Tourism, the56 JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR


Department of Forestry, etc. And ofcourse, there is the crucial role ofthe national Spanish railwaycompanies (Renfe, Adif and Feve)that have readily granted both theuse of many of their tracks andbuildings as well as their know-howto these ends. Full and swiftrehabilitation of the available tracksat times is thwarted by a series ofcomplexities. As some stretches andedifices are in private hands,expropriation and other legal issuescan be rather painstaking.Additionally, the tracks run acrossthe countryside and existing rightsof way, some of which are centuriesold, must be safeguarded at alltimes. And finally there are also thehuge costs of planning, demolitionand resurfacing, reconstruction oftunnels, bridges, underpasses andintersections, as well as appropriatesignage, to name just a few.Yet with ever increasing enthusiasm,towns and villages (generallygrouped in ad hoc associations) thatpride themselves on having apotential Greenway in their territory,are jumping on the bandwagon.With small-scale rural andagricultural activities in decay andkeenly aware of the natural andhistorical treasures that theseremoved areas hold, mayorsthroughout the country nowwelcome and effectively target thenew trend of active nature tourism.“Tourism is clearly heading in thedirection of more sustainableproducts with the added value ofterritory and nature,” states MónicaFigueroa matter-of-factly. Figueroa,who is the dynamic and committeddirector general of tourism for theregion of La Rioja, adds that whatenhances the value of the Greenwaysis the fact that they offer analternative to existing tourismproducts. They are enormously userfriendly,utilize and improve existingstructures while fully respecting theirnatural setting and, as Julio Verdú, incharge of the Vías Verdes in La Riojaexplains, they provide aneducational aspect through theircomprehensive signage whichincludes landscape evaluation,interpretation of the environment,ornithological and archaeologicalinformation, railway history, and ofcourse maps and directions. “Wewant the Vía Verdeto be more than asporting route,” he claims. Travelingthe tranquil Greenways not onlyallows us to enjoy a wealth of naturaland historical legacies at a slow pace,but it also allows us to interact withthe locals. Furthermore, theGreenways have been shown toincisively effect the social fabric ofadjacent villages through therehabilitation of monuments andnatural spaces, often in collaborationwith local handcrafters andworkshops, by providing jobs andencouraging local participation. Thefact is, throughout Spain, at thispoint, not only 64 Greenways with atotal length of 1,600 km (994 mi)have been made available to thegreater public, but a sizable numberof new ones are being programmedor are about to be implemented.Getting underwayThis article is not meant to be anaccurate guide to the Vías Verdes; forthat we refer you to their58 JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR


AROUND&ABOUTVÍAS VERDESde tiny acuerdo. wax lights, “Los monumentos soothing chill outse music, olvidan and con the facilidad, smell of pero incense lasexperiencias wafting through permanecen the air, y a seteam oftransmiten two will first de boca offer en a wine boca”, tasting. señala con Itconvicción. is ensued by En a una deep atmósfera skin cleansing relajante,creada treatment con velas with pequeñas, a peeling una product músicachill-out made of suave Tempranillo y un ligero grape olor apipsincienso, and grape un skin equipo tannins, de dos followed personas leofrecerá by a soothing una degustación massage. de The vino team enprimerwill preparelugar. AyourestoJacuzzile sigue unbeforetratamientothey leave.de limpieza en profundidadde la piel con un producto de peelingAnd now, to experience true ecstasy,hecho a base de pepitas de uvahow about dinner at La Viejatempranillo y de los taninos de la piel deBodega? The restaurant is just a tenla uva, seguido de un masaje relajante.minute walk from Casalarreina’sAntes de irse, el equipo le prepararácenter and is paradigmatic of theel jacuzzi. Y ahora para alcanzar larightfelicidadwayabsoluta,to interpret¿qué talandunarenewcena entraditionalla Vieja Bodega?cuisine:El restauranteusing first-classestáfresh a diez and minutos preferably del centro local deor regionalproducts Casalarreina while dando interfering un cómodo as little paseo as ypossible es todo un with paradigma the original en cuanto flavor a laandtexture. forma correcta The restaurant’s de interpretar setting y renovarequally la cocina reflects tradicional: this productos philosophy: frescos it isa de fully primera restored clase, 17 preferiblemente th -century wine localescellar o regionales, that simultaneously y la menor interferencia meetsmodern posible en day su sabor requirements. y textura originales.El propio restaurante, una bodegadel siglo XVII completamente restauradaJoining the pilgrimsque al mismo tiempo satisfaceAfter las necesidades a sound sleep modernas, and anreflejainvigorating esta filosofía. breakfast, we will pickup our bikes at the Hospedería’sspecial storage room (most hotels inNos unimosthe area have such facilities), cross thea beautiful los old peregrinosstone bridge over theDespuésOja Riverderightunainnochefrontdeofprofundous and besueñoon ouryway.un reconstituyenteThis rural routedesayuno,will takecogemos us through las flat bicicletas wheat del and garaje barleyespecial fields, occasional de la Hospedería patches (la of mayor vines andparte sizable de plantations los hoteles de of peas la zona and ofrecen greeneste beans. servicio), Not so cruzamos long ago el there puente were depiedra mostly frente potatoes. a nosotros Some sobre locals el still río Ojay remember comenzamos that la the ruta. train Este would itinerario skidrural and have nos llevará to reduce por its llanuras speed de because trigo ycebada of potato y ocasionalmente bugs invading por the viñedos rails. Iny the plantaciones areas immediately de guisantes around y judías theverdes villages de dotting proporciones this route, considerables. especiallyNo in Castañares hace tanto que, and Bañares prácticamente, but alsohabía further solo south, patatas. we still Algunos find vecinos patches oflocales bean plants todavía strung recuerdan up high. que They los trenesderrapaban produce the y famous tenían que caparrón, reducir a latinyvelocidad red-brown porque speckled los escarabajos dried bean de patata that is invadían the main los ingredient raíles. En of las one zonas ofaledañas the most a traditional los pueblos dishes que salpican in the laruta, area. especialmente Roberto Bañares, Castañares a commercial yBañares,grower, explainspero tambiénthat themásonesal sur,strungencontramos todavía huertos llenos deup are generally for domestic use.plantas de judías colgadas a una alturaconsiderable. On a larger scale, Allí se bean produce plants el famoso nowcaparrón, are kept low una and legumbre are mechanically pequeña decolor harvested, marrón which oscuro is yfar moteada, more costeffective.“Over el ingrediente the last principal six or seven dequeconstituyeuno years de consumption los platos más has tradicionales grown dela again, zona. as Roberto legumes Bañares, are an productor importantcomercial, ingredient nos of the explica highly que acclaimed las quese Mediterranean cuelgan son generalmente diet,” he says. para This usodoméstico.tiny bean isAoneuna escalaof themayor,factorslasthatplantas de judías se mantienen enlinks our two routes. Here it isel suelo y se cosechan con medioscalled Caparrón de Anguiano (red) ormecánicos, lo cual resulta másCaparrón de Castañares (speckled)económico. “En los últimos seis o sieteand on the other side of the Sierraaños el consumo ha vuelto a crecer,porquede la Demanda,las legumbresit issonknownunasingredienteAlubia de Ibeas.fundamental de laelogiadísima Just after having dieta crossed mediterránea”, an ancientcomenta Roman road Roberto. that Esta also diminuta used to be partlegumbre of St. James’ uno Way, de we los will nexos pass de unión by theentre ruins las of dos the rutas. old station En esta of parte Bañares, recibelos bearing nombres witness de caparrón to a now de defunct Aguiano(rojo) railroad. o caparrón Further de along Castañares however, we(moteado), will find several en tanto nicely que en rehabilitated la de la sierrade stations. la Demanda, We may donde also no be es sharing menosourcodiciada, Greenwayse with denomina locals that alubia use de it Ibeas.aJusto source después of exercise de haber or to cruzado comfortably la antiguacalzadareach nearbyromana,villages.que también“Thisformóis a ruralpartedel Camino de Santiago, pasamos por lasarea and not so long ago nobodyruinas de la vieja estación de Bañares,would ride a bike,” says Ollero, thetestimonio de una línea de ferrocarrilowner of a bicycle store in Santoactualmente muerta. Un poco más allá,Domingo, “but since we have the Víaencontramos,sin embargo, variasestacionesVerde, peoplemuyherebienbuyrehabilitadas.them moreEsandposiblemore. Theyque enappreciatenuestra VíahavingVerdenonosencontremos traffic to worry con about.” vecinos de la zona quela Not utilizan too distantly para hacer afar ejercicio we can onowdesplazarse distinguish cómodamente the spire of the a las Santolocalidades Domingo de cercanas. la Calzada “Ésta Cathedral, es una zonaforrural over ten y hasta centuries no hace an mucho obligated nadiestop onalquilaba St. James’ bicicletas”, Way. Here dice we Ollero, will join thepropietario pilgrims who, de una alone tienda or in de small bicicletas enSanto groups, Domingo, trickle in “pero from desde all over que the tenemosla world, Vía Verde, often cada headed vez las straight compra towards másgente. the Pilgrims’ Valoran Inn mucho which no tener was founded quepreocuparse by Santo Domingo de los coches”. in the 11 th century.Exactly No muy like a lo lejos, their podemos predecessors distinguir over alathousand aguja de la years catedral ago, de they Santo can Domingo stayovernight de la Calzada, for parada free, although obligatoria anyen elvoluntary Camino de contribution Santiago desde is hace of course más dewelcome. diez siglos. The Aquí cathedral, nos uniremos home a los to thetombperegrinosof Saintque,Domingo,solos o en gruposis certainlypequeños llegados de todos los rinconeswell worth a visit, especially since youdel mundo, van derechos al Albergue delwill surely be surprised by the crowingPeregrino, que fundó Santo Domingo enof a rooster coming from high above.el siglo XI. Al igual que sus predecesoresThey are the life relics of Saintde hace unos mil años, pueden pasar allíDomingo’sla noche gratis,mostaunque,tellingpormiracle:supuesto,savingseaagradecenyoung pilgrimlas donacionesfrom deathvoluntarias.byhanging. La catedral, But que how alberga it all la came tumba about de isfor Santo you Domingo, to find out. bien merece una visita,However, especialmente not por everything la sorpresa is mystical que a buenabout segurothis provocará town. en A five el viajero minute la cresta walkdefrom un gallo the en cathedral lo alto. Son las the reliquias main vivasshopping del milagro street, más contado at the pastry de Santo shopIsidro Domingo, (Pinar, que 52), salvó Ana a un Hernando joven peregrino andher de morir brother ajusticiado are the en third la horca. generation in60 JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR


VÍAS VERDESAROUND&ABOUTPero making la historia ahorcaditos, completa a wonderfully tendrán quelight, averiguarla shell-shaped los lectores. (the universalsymbol Sin embargo, of St. no James’ todo es Way) místico puffen estapastry ciudad. filled A cinco with minutos almond andando cream withthe desde golden la catedral, brown-baked en la principal image calle ofthe comercial, famous en young la pastelería man hanged Isidro ontop. (calle But Pinar, you’d 52), be Ana better Hernando off saving y suthem hermano for son later, la because tercera generación by now youwilldedicadahaveaworkedla elaboraciónup enoughde losof an“ahorcaditos”, una masa de hojaldreappetite for a good, energizing meal.muy ligera y con forma de conchaThe Hidalgo is your place (Hilario(el símbolo universal del Camino dePérez, 10). It is a small first floorSantiago), rellena de crema de almendrarestaurant on a narrow street thatque tiene en la parte superior la imagenleadsen colorupdoradoto thetostadocathedral.delTheirfamosodailymenujoven ahorcado.goes for 15Peroeuros,será mejorandque losalthough guardemosthe para selection luego, porque is extensive, a estathis hora certainly ya tendremos is the suficiente place to apetito acquaintyourself para una with deliciosa the y delicious reconstituyentetraditional comida. Hidalgo red bean es nuestro stew called sitiocaparrones (calle Hilario “coloraos” Pérez, 10). de Se Anguiano, trata de unlovingly pequeño prepared restaurante by situado Maria en Luisa elwho primer reigns piso de in un the edificio kitchen, ubicado or herenslightly un callejón spicy que but conduce surprisingly a la catedral. lightcallos El menú a la diario riojana cuesta (tripe) 15 euros and y,homemade aunque la variedad desserts. It platos is wise es muy toreserve amplia, éste a table es sin beforehand duda el lugar and más thenwait adecuado to be para seated descubrir in their ese bar delicioso acrossthe estofado street tradicional while having hecho a con marianito (asmall caparrones vermouth “coloraos” on the de Anguiano rocks) and que awedge prepara of primorosamente their trademark María tortilla Luisa, depatatas dueña y (potato señora de omelette). la cocina, sus callosNowa la riojana,beforeunheadingpoquitosouthpicantes,for aperosorprendentemente ligeros, o suspleasant afternoon ride, andpostres caseros. Es recomendableprovided you have made a previouspasarse antes por allí para reservar unaappointment, Blanca Pozo will bemesa y luego esperar en el bar dehappy to show you her collection ofenfrente tomando un marianitoalmazuelas,(un vermut pequeñoan old traditionalcon hielo)handicrafty una raciónindeLalaRiojacaracterísticathat hadtortillaalmost de patatas. died out, but has beenrecovered Ahora, antes thanks de dirigirnos to the efforts al sur para oflocal un agradable and regional paseo después administrations. de comer,Fifteen y suponiendo years que ago hayamos Blanca took concertado herfirst cita previamente course and (+34 became 941 so 34 fascinated 26 48),that Blanca she Pozo has estará not only encantada made de it herbusiness, enseñarnosbut su colección now she gives de almazuelas, coursesthroughout una artesanía La textil Rioja. tradicionalJANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR 61


AROUND&ABOUTVÍAS VERDESde The La almazuela Rioja que estuvo is a manual a punto skill veryde similar desaparecer to patchwork, y se ha recuperado but as Blancagracias emphasizes, a los esfuerzos its patterns de las are alwaysadministraciones rectilinear. This craft, locales born y regionales. out of theBlanca need to asistió reuse a the su primer best pieces curso of hace old,quince worn-out años clothes, y quedó is tan a luxury fascinada today. quedesde Blanca’s entonces almazuelas no solo are ha made abierto of unatienda, elegant sino fabrics que and imparte come también incursos beautiful, en La often Rioja. intricate, patterns inLa the almazuela form of bedcovers, es una técnica wall manualmuyhangings,similarhandbags,al patchwork,etc.peroandcomocanBlancaalso besemadeencargato order.de subrayar, losdibujos son siempre rectilíneos. Estostrabajos a mano, nacidos de lanecesidad Towards de aprovechar the los mejorestrozos de las prendas de vestirPeña de Torcuatodesgastadas, son hoy en día un lujo.Las While almazuelas up to now de Blanca, our Greenway hasconfeccionadas been “a piece of con cake”, telas from elegantes now ony we de will preciosos notice dibujos, how it starts a menudo slopingintrincados, slightly towards pueden the adoptar foothills la of forma thede Sierra colchas, de la cortinas, Demanda. bolsos, Although etc. y se itpueden will require hacer some también extra de muscle encargo. work,En direcciónroute and visit the little villagesa la peñade San Torcuatoit is well worth it to abandon ournearby, like Santurde and Santurdejo,but especially Ojacastro, which isreached descending from its formerAunque station (now hasta a ahora retirement nuestra home Vía Verde forha nuns) sido and pan crossing comido, a stone partir de bridge estemomentoover the Oja.comenzaremosBesides a small,a notar13que se th -vacenturyempinandohermitage,suavementea beautifulhaciachurchlasestribaciones de la sierra de la Demanda.and a square, what stands out here isAunque exija algún trabajo muscularthe well-preserved traditionalextra, merece la pena abandonar nuestramountain architecture. Right next toruta para visitar los pueblos pequeñosthe church we will find a small glassde los alrededores, como Santurde ySanturdejo,workshop calledpero enFungiolaespecialrunOjacastro,byal Gabriela que se llega Lamas. descendiendo She not only desde makes laantigua colorful estación, objects, actualmente but also jewelry, asilo de allreligiosas, made of glass. y cruzando Her clients un puente are mostly depiedra from nearby sobre el Ezcaray, río Oja. but Además since de she unaermita put up del a small siglo XIII, sign at una the hermosa edge of theiglesia Vía Verde, y una she plaza, has lo noticed que más a marked destacaen increase este lugar in visitors. es su tradicional y bienpreservada Ezcaray is arquitectura the last stop de on montaña. our rideJusto along al the lado Oja de River. la iglesia, But encontramos first we willun enjoy pequeño what taller certainly de vidrio, is the regentado prettiestpor stretch Gabriela of this Lamas. Greenway. Gabriela With theconfecciona background no of solo the objetos Peña de de Torcuato, vivoscolores, a protruding sino también cliff that joyas is the de una hallmarksorprendente of this area, festooned delicadeza, with fabricadas ferns andenteramente bright purple en thistles, cristal. La our mayoría path now desustakesclientesus inprocedenand out ofderailwayla cercanalocalidadtrenchesdecarvedEzcaray,outperofromdesdetheque hapuesto un pequeño letrero en la Víasurrounding forest. We will end upVerde, ha notado un notable aumentoat Ezcaray’s perfectly-restoredde visitantes a su tienda. Y es haciarailway station, now a very popularEzcaray adonde nos dirigimos comorestaurant that receives not only aúltima parada en nuestra ruta a lo largodelgreatríonumberOja. Peroofantes,bikers,disfrutaremosespecially indel summer, sin duda but más also hermoso skiers from tramo the de estaVía nearby Verde. Valdezcaray Con la peña ski de station. San Torcuato Nowcomo we just telón cross de another fondo, un pretty prominente stonepeñasco, bridge over sello the distintivo Oja River, de esta andregión,adornado Ezcaray is de ours. helechos y cardos de unintenso This small color town, púrpura, full nuestro of balconies caminonos overflowing adentra por with momentos brightly-colored en las víasdel geraniums tren excavadas and pastel en cercano hydrangeas, bosque.


VÍAS VERDESAROUND&ABOUTNuestra borrows ruta its terminará name from en the laperfectamente aforementioned restaurada Peña de estación Torcuato detren (Aitz-Garai de Ezcaray, or tall en la cliff actualidad in Basque). unrestaurante The Basque muy influence concurrido is long que recibeno standing solo a un from considerable when the número language deciclistas, was spoken especialmente in the fairly en verano, isolatedsinotambién valley of de the esquiadores Oja River. procedentes This is dela clearly cercana shown estación in the de esquí many deBasqueValdezcaray. toponyms. More Cruzamos recently, otro hermoso duringpuente the industrialization de piedra sobre of el río Bilbao, Oja, yEzcaraydoctorsyaconsistentlyes nuestro. Elsentnombreoverde estapequeñapatientspoblación,with respiratoryrepleta deproblemsbalconesde los que cuelgan geranios de coloresto recover in Ezcaray’s clean and dryvivos y hortensias de delicados tonosmountain air. Since then many havepastel, se debe a la mencionada peña debuilt a second home here, andSan Torcuato (Aitz-Garai, o peña alta entoday it is a thriving touristvasco). La influencia vasca viene dedestination and residential area. Asantiguo, de la época en que en el casifollows from its natural setting ataislado valle del río Oja se siguióhablandothe foot ofestathelengua,Sierracomode laloatestiguanDemanda,loshistoricallynumerososEzcaraytopónimoswasvascos. important Más for recientemente, its iron, its durante minor laépoca gold mines de la industrialización and its timber, de but Bilbao, whatlos made doctores it internationally mandaban famous weresistemáticamente its wool and fabric a los industries. pacientes conproblemas Indeed, King respiratorios Charles a III recuperarse (18 thcon century) el aire founded montaña the limpio Royal y Cloth seco deEzcaray. Factory Desde here, entonces which today muchos has se been hanconstruido restored and aquí turned una segunda into a casa large y inn. poreso Yet, es of en the la actualidad almost 30 un textile prósperodestino factories, turístico today y only una zona one is residencial. extant.Como Hijos de resultado Cecilio de Valgañon, su emplazamiento S.A. isnatural run by a five los pies brothers de la sierra and produces de laDemanda, gorgeous hand-woven Ezcaray fue importante lightweight en elpasado and artfully por su colored hierro e mohair incluso por suspequeños blankets and yacimientos throws, de as oro, well así ascomopor cashmere su madera; shawls sin embargo, and scarves fueron at susindustrias affordable textil prices. y lanera While las many que hicieronmundialmente clients come specifically famosa a esta to localidad. buyDe here, hecho, they el also rey Carlos get orders III (siglo fromXVIII)fundó Ralph aquí Lauren, la Real Loewe Fábrica and de Zara. Paños, enlaApparently,actualidad restauradano commercialy convertidasign isenunneeded;enormeonlyhotel.a streetSin embargo,level windowde lascasi treinta fábricas textiles, hoy en díaof the well-restored buildingsolo una de ellas se mantiene. Lafeaturing a huge antique loomempresa Hijos de Cecilio Valgañón, S.A.where the sheep were once keptestá dirigida por cinco hermanos ydoes the trick. “Anybody here willproduce unas mantas y unos echarpesdirect you,” says one of theirde mohair magníficos, tejidos a mano,nephews, Andrés Valgañon. Besidesligeros y teñidos con mucha habilidad,ademása smalldecharmingchales y bufandasinn calleddeLacachemiraCuculla, Andrésa preciosrunsasequibles.a companyAunquemuchos that offers clientes what vienen is precisely expresamente one ofacomprar the main aquí, attractions también of reciben Ezcaray: pedidosde nature Ralph sports. Lauren, Apart Loewe from o Zara. rentingAparentemente, bicycles, he organizes no necesitan biking, ningúncartel hiking, comercial, climbing, solo skiing un escaparate and other a lacalle excursions en el bien in restaurado the area, on edificio request.representa “The Vía Verde un enorme is definitely telar antiguo thedonde easiest,” en he otros says tiempos reassuringly. se guardabanovejas. With all “Cualquiera this activity aquí going te indicará on, it elcamino”, comes as nos comenta surprise uno that de food sus is alsosobrinos, a prominent Andrés player, Valgañón. and Ezcaray Además also dela has pequeña the emblematic y encantadora restaurant posadallamada Echaurren La Cuculla, as its ambassador. Andrés dirige Many unaempresa people, especially que ofrece lo from que the constituye Basqueexactamente Country, come uno over de los just principales to enjoyatractivos pintxos in de the Ezcaray: many cafés los deportes andnaturales. restaurants Aparte in the de Plaza alquilar del bicicletas, QuioscoAndrés and Plaza organiza de la actividades Verdura. Key como tociclismo, regional gastronomy, senderismo, montañismo and againy closely excursiones linked de to otro its mountainoustipo por la zona,previalocation,petición.are both“LagameVía Verdeandes sindudamushrooms.la más fácil”,LuiscomentaAngel Sotanas,convencido.aCon todas estas actividades, no resultamember of the local huntingsorprendente que la comida tengaassociation, explains that whiletambién un destacado papelhunting is strictly controlled by theprotagonista y cuenta con elMinistry of Environmental Affairs,emblemático restaurante Echaurrengame is abundant, which includescomo embajador. Mucha gente,fowl like woodcock, wood pigeonespecialmente del País Vasco, viene adegustarand wildlosmallard,pinchosbuta losmorenumerososcafésimportantlyy restauranteswild boar,de la plazadeer anddelQuiosco roebuck. y Most la plaza is for de la local Verdura. and La cazay domestic las setas, use. productos Besides ligados wonderful una vezmás dishes, a su game situación is used montañosa, to makesonchorizofundamentales (a type of red en sausage la gastronomía made withregional. pimentón, Luis a type Ángel of Sotanas, paprika miembro fromde Spain) la asociación or cecina local (air-dried de caza, pieces explica ofque beef, aunque served la in caza veryestá thin estrictamente slices). Andcontrolada then there por are mushrooms! el ministerio de Up Medio toAmbiente, 418 different sus varieties–of productos abundan course notaquí: all are aves edible como and becadas, some even palomasJANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR 63


AROUND&ABOUTVÍAS VERDESdeadly–were exhibited last seasonduring the 15 th edition of the yearlymycology weekend (2 nd weekend inNovember) which attracts over athousand people from all over thecountry, but especially Basques andCatalans from regions with a longtradition. During this period, all barsand restaurants prepare mushroombaseddishes and pintxos.“Mushrooms have unlimitedpossibilities,” says Carmelo Ubeda, alocal amateur mycologist andorganizer of the event, and adds thatmushrooms are no longer anaccompaniment, but have gained fullgastronomic recognition on theirown merits. Both in Ezcaray and insurrounding villages, besides anarray of other attractions like theyearly jazz festival or classicmarches, everybody can join in thesuccession of traditional meals,normally coinciding with thecelebration of the respective patronsaints. Huge cauldrons producecountless portions of traditionaldishes like patatas a la riojana(potatoes with chorizo), patatasa la Demanda (potatoes with greenpeppers and onions) or habas deSan Antón broad beans with hamand chorizo.The birthplace of theSpanish languageTo reach our next Greenway, weleave the eastern flank of themajestic Sierra de La Demanda,surround its foothills and then braveits western face. What catches ourattention on the way are theplantations of pimientos choriceros(the oblong red pepper that, amongother uses, produces pimentón, thedried, red pepper powder that is anindispensable ingredient in theubiquitous chorizo), but moreimportantly the typical pimientosriojanos (see box on page 67). Andamong a number of places wellworth visiting, a mandatory stop isSan Millán de la Cogolla.Reaching San Millán, among gentleslopes and open forests, everythingpoints us to our final destination:The Yosu (lower) and Suso (upper)Monasteries, declared a WorldHeritage Site in 1997. Suso, whichlies on the outskirts of today’s villageand offers spectacular views, wasbuilt around the original cave thatwas home to the hermit San Millánand dates from the 7 th century. Itboasts a number of caves, an 11 th -century gallery of splendidhorseshoe-shaped Mozarabic arches,and a 16 th -century necropolis. Butfirst and foremost, it is here wherethe first written testimony of boththe Spanish and the Basquelanguages originate. The so-calledGlosas Emilianenses are a number ofannotations that an anonymous 11 thcentury copyist made in the marginof a Latin text. Not only were theseM O R E A B O U T M O R C I L L A“It is a deeply-rooted product,” says Roberto da Silva, the president of theAssociation of Morcilla de Burgos Manufacturers. Strict directions as to howmorcilla (blood sausage) should be made were laid down in a royal decree asearly as the 16 th century. If by now it does not yet have a quality designation oforigin, it is, as Da Silva explains, because although they are very similar, officiallythere are three different procedures depending on the specific zones in Burgoswhere they are made. The main ingredients in all of them are onions (preferablythe autochthonous cebolla horcal), first quality rice from Valencia, lard, pig’s bloodand spices. Where they differ is in proportions, the use of raw or parboiled rice,the type of lard, casings and of course spices that may range from pepper,pimentón (a type of paprika from Spain) and oregano to cumin, aniseed,cinnamon, cloves or caraway. Since the Spanish gastronomy boom, severalmembers of the association are now exporting not only to Europe, but also toKorea and Japan. Although used in many recipes, even in nouvelle cuisine, themost prevalent way to savor morcilla is cut in slices and then crisply fried. Anaccompanying glass of Ribera del Duero can do no harm.64 JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR


text-related notes written in aromance language from whichtoday’s Spanish directly derives, buthe also wrote some of his owncomments in Basque.A minibus will take us back to Yuso,built in the 11 th century, but alsorebuilt and added upon several times.It has an impressive cloister, beautifulwall and ceiling paintings and one ofthe most important monastic librariesin Spain, zealously guarded by theworldly and garrulous Father Ortega,a medievalist, writer and bibliophilehimself. But what perhaps mostinterests visitors are the perfectlykept,huge, leather-bound cantorales(chant books), some of which weigh20 kg (44 lbs) and measure one m(3.28 ft) high. The few remainingmonks are indeed keeping with thetimes and, as Father Ortega explains,have ceded the original Abad’sresidence to the regional government.Today it is a hotel and restaurant.Binoculars in handAfter visiting San Millán de la Cogollaand still imbued with a sense ofspirituality and wonder, we will gosouthwest and follow a winding roadsqueezed in between the steep rockywalls of the Sierra de la Demanda andthe Najerilla River. On our way, weshould make a point not miss thevillage of Anguiano with its threebeautiful bridges. It is not onlyfamous for its previously mentionedcaparrones, but moreso for themagnificent spectacle of theircolorfully-dressed stilt dancers whogive a special performance on July22 nd every year. Nearby is themountainous Monastery of Valvanera.It was built in the 11 th century and itsfaçade bears a Romanesque, stonecarvedmedallion of the Virgin ofValvanera, La Rioja’s patron saint. Wenow continue our route deeper intothe Sierra along the Embalse deMansilla, a spectacular reservoir nearthe Najerilla River. After a while onefalls silent, awestruck by the sheermajesty of these slate formations,rendered even more dramatic by giantGriffon vultures slowly circling abovethem.In the meantime, we will haveinadvertently crossed into theprovince of Burgos and soon willapproach the small village ofMonterrubio de la Demanda where,at present, abandoned copper andsilver mines are under restoration.This is where the mining railwayended and where our next Greenwaybegins. The time has come toprepare our binoculars, as over thenext 55 km (34 mi), nature will beour main companion. At times, thesilence will suddenly be broken bythe arrhythmic yet harmonious andcheerful ding-dong of cowbells.Although most of the mountainvillages on our route are equippedwith the latest communicationstechnology, occasional signs warningof crossing cattle give an idea of howrural they still are. It’s better to heedthose warnings and be able to brakein time to give way to leisurelygrazing solitary cattle or whole herdsof sheep and goats, on and alongsideboth the road and our Greenway.This also means that, as Nacho fromValencia points out, from time totime you will have to be ready toavoid the visible proof of theirpassage. Since his father, AlbertoMambrillo, took him on St. James’Way when he was only 12, severaltimes a year they travel the VíasVerdes together, especially the VíaVerde de Ojos Negros which theyreach by train from Valencia. Theydecided to do the present Greenwayafter watching the correspondingdocumentary produced by theSpanish Railway Foundation ontelevision.JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR 65


VÍAS VERDESAROUND&ABOUTof the season, we may collect 100 kg(220 lbs) of boletes in one day,” saysOrodeta.And finally, a most relevant legacy ofBarbadillo de los Herreros(blacksmiths) is its well-preservedconic foundry, all built in stone. Thispeculiar edifice is readily visible froma vantage point on the Vía Verdereached via a nicely-restored tunnel.This is the place where iron ore oncewas actually processed and, in thenearby smithy, made into tools,gridirons and large ingots to betransported to Bilbao.We will now continue our windingGreenway to Riocavado de la Sierra.The village is reached by descendinga side road that first leads us to aquiet and shady recreational areawith a natural pool in the PedrosoRiver. It is flanked by a well-keptlawn with benches and barbecues forpublic use. From here a narrow pathleads us into the forest to therestored mouth of an iron mine fromwhere the ore was transported insmall hopper cars (an original one isstill on display) across the river andup the mountain along a skid (thelocals still use the English word) tobe dumped into the railway wagonswaiting above. Entering the villagewe are immediately struck by boththe towering Romanesque church ofSanta Coloma and the nearby stumpof an elm tree. There is sorrow intheir voices when the locals explainthat their beloved elm would havebeen a thousand years old, but in the1980s it fell victim to graphiosis, orelm disease, a pandemic that felledelms throughout Europe. They pointyou to a discolored picture of a leafyelm in the local bar where we canalso enjoy the daily menu. “Not solong ago you couldn’t reach thisplace by bike, but now we get manycyclists,” says the owner, MariaDolores.In line with his colleague’s train ofthought, the mayor Martin Hoyuelosis acutely aware that in order toboost tourism it is important topromote a traditional image. Adecree has been issued that, inexchange for a tax relief, all newlybuilthomes must at least havefaçades made out of stone, and heenthusiastically encouragesrestoration of the original, nowabandoned houses. Hoyuelos is arelatively young retiree who wasborn here and now wants to giveback. “All my ancestors are fromRiocavado,” he says proudly. He isalso the president of the newlyconstituted Association of the VíaVerde de la Demanda. “Our primarypurpose is maintaining theGreenway in optimal conditions,” hesays. To that end, they not only keepit clean of weeds and debris and lookafter the rest areas, but they are alsorecovering the multiple naturalsprings that used to be kept up byshepherds. This is also useful for thegame and mushroom hunters whoinvade the area year after year, whilethe latter have notably increasedsince the Vía Verde was inaugurated.R E D I S F O R P E P P E RThe pimiento riojano is a large, sweet, red pepper that holds the qualitydesignation PGI (Protected Geographic Indication). This fleshy red pepper has avery thin skin, is triangular and pointed, measures about 12 cm (30.5 in) andweighs up to 1 lb (0.45 kg). This makes it especially suitable for roasting. Overhalf of the area’s total production (some 380,000 kg (837,748 lbs) of certifiedproduction in 2006) is canned, which is still predominantly a traditional process.Carlos Bricio, president of the IGP’s Regulatory Council, mayor of Tricio and agrower and canner himself, proudly shows his old oven where the peppers areroasted and then hand peeled, transferred to jars and sterilized. The result is atotally natural product and his brand, San Bartolomé (named after Tricio’s patronsaint), featured several times among Spain’s best products in Rafael GarciaSantos’ yearly guide called Lo mejor de la gastronomía (a gastronomic reviewer,who organized an international gastronomy congress in Spain).JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR 67


AROUND&ABOUTVÍAS VERDESpastores. Esto también resulta útil paralos cazadores y los recolectores desetas The mayor que todos has los no años qualms invaden about lazona; promoting especialmente the boom estos in Atapuerca, últimos hanaumentado which will certainly notablemente help desde to promote que seinauguró the entire la area. Vía Verde. In the El meantime, alcalde estáseguro high on de Hoyuelo’s que boom agenda de Atapuerca is the(ver urgent más need abajo) for contribuirá accommodation. sin duda apromocionar toda la zona. Mientrastanto, en la agenda de Martín HoyuelofiguraTheenfinalprimer lugarstretchla necesidadurgente On our de way alojamientos. out of Riocavado, wewill pass a most idyllic rest areaEl below tramo centuries-old final oak trees andbeeches and here and there a blueberriedblackthorn. In their midstCamino de Riocavado, atravesaremosuna idílica zona de descanso bajostands the beautiful Fuente deolmos y hayas centenarios y arbustosrepletosMonzabayade bayasfountain,de colorwhichazulado.providesEn the medio thirsty de traveler la ruta with se halla cool, laclearpreciosa spring water. Fuente Nearby de Monzabaya, are tables que andofrece benches, al sediento a barbecue viajero and su a small fresca hut ycristalina for refuge agua in case de manantial. of inclement En lascercanías weather. From se encuentran now on we mesas will ybebancos, meandering una barbacoa through age-old y una pequeña forests,cabaña trenches, para and refugiarse meadows, de along lasinclemencias embankments, del ridges, tiempo. gullies A partir anddeeste impressive punto, slate el camino formations serpentea and por overviejos rushing bosques, streams. zanjas This y central praderas, stretchterraplenes,of our Greenwaycadenasleadingde montañas,up to thebarrancos, impresionantesPuerto del Manquillo, a pass atformaciones de pizarra y torrentes de1,450 m (4,756 ft), is certainly notagua. La parte central de nuestra Víafor beginners, and even inuredVerde nos lleva al puerto delManquillo,bikers will haveun pasoto stepa 1.450downmand/ 4.757ft walk que up sin the duda rather no es steep paraincline. Theprincipiantes old train would y en have el que had incluso cleared los thismás stretch experimentados through a tunnel, ciclistas but tendrán overque time bajarse nature de took la bicicleta over. Now y subir theandando tunnel is la flooded, pronunciadísima overgrown and inpendiente. El tren sorteaba este tramoa través de un túnel, pero lanaturalezasuch disrepairfue apoderándosethat availablepocofundsapoco were not de él sufficient y ahora se to encuentra restore it, atanegado, least for the lleno time de being. maleza Yet y en our uneffortestado certainly de pays abandono off: a splendid tal que losviewfondos opens up destinados all around no us! han And sidofromsuficientes now on we para are going restaurarlo, downhill, al menos andde our momento. path will Y, follow sin embargo, the Arlanzón nuestroesfuerzo River (which tiene begins ciertamente in Riocavado) surecompensa: until we reach a nuestro Pineda alrededor la Sierra. seabre What una truly espléndida stands out vista. in this A partir pretty deaquí mountain vamos village cuesta full abajo of flowers por un andcamino beautiful que casonas sigue el is curso its 12 th del -century todavíajoven Romanesque río Arlanzón, Church nacido of Saint enRiocavado, Juliana. Built hasta in dark alcanzar red stone, Pineda itdela features Sierra. a Lo most que magnificent más destaca portico. en esteprecioso And Pineda pueblo is also de a montaña strategic lleno point deflores to stop y at hermosas the appropriately casonas es named SantaJuliana, La Casona. una It iglesia is an románica inn with del sigloXII, comfortable construida rooms, en piedra a typical de color diningrojoroomoscurowith soul-warmingque presenta unfood,pórticoandabsolutamenteof course a spacemagnífico.to storePinedabicycles.estambién un punto estratégico para,Ana and José Antonio Aranda, andcomo Alberto y Nacho, hacer unatheir two sons in their early teens areparada en una posada con un nombrejust having a drink. Ana explainsmuy acertado, La Casona. Cuenta conthat, “as you never know if andcómodas habitaciones, un comedortípico,where you’lluna confortantefind a placecomidato eat,”y, portheysupuesto,bring theirunownespaciofoodparaandguardarstop at onelasbicicletas. of the regularly José Antonio dispersed Aranda, rest areas. Ana ysus The dos Arandas hijos de are entre regulars doce on y catorce theaños Spanish están Greenways. bebiendo algo. “We’ve Ana done nosexplica quite a few,” que, “como says José nunca Antonio, sabes si vasa explaining encontrar that un sitio is para a great comer way ni todónde”, travel with traen the su family. propia “You’re comida yparan exercising, en alguna you’re de undisturbed las áreas de bydescanso cars and you regularmente just look at repartidas things from porla a different vía. Los Aranda perspective.” son habituales delas Vías Verdes españolas. “Hemoshecho unas cuantas”, dice JoséAntonioWe nowycontinuenos explicaourquerouteestowardsunaformathe Embalseestupendade Arlanzón,de viajar cona hugelafamilia. reservoir “Haces surrounded ejercicio, by no slopes temolestan which a profusion los coches of y, heather sencillamente, turnsves into las giant cosas purple desde carpets. otra perspectiva”. We are atContinuamos the foothills of nuestro the Sierra recorrido de la haciael Demanda embalse and de Arlanzón, the landscape, una enormepresa, although rodeada invariably de suaves pretty, pendientes offers fewque surprises el abundantísimo as it slowly descends brezo haconvertido towards the en gently enormes undulating alfombras wheat decolor fields púrpura. around Burgos. Nos encontramos And now along enlas a festive estribaciones heather de and la fern-lined sierra de lapathDemanda with bramble y el paisaje, berries everywhere aunque forsiempre the taking, hermoso, we make ofrece our pocas joyoussorpresas entrance into a medida Arlanzón que desciende where ourhacia Greenway los ondulantes comes to an campos end. de trigoen Nonetheless, los alrededores some de excitement Burgos. Y lies ahora insiguiendostore.un alegre sendero,flanqueado por helechos y brezo,lleno de moras maduras, hacemosnuestra Treasures feliz entrada from en Arlanzón, thelugar donde finaliza nuestra VíatrenchesVerde. Sin embargo, quedan aúnmuchas Indeed, más while cosas the Vía fascinantes. Verde ends inArlanzón, the original railway trackcontinued almost the gates ofTesoros ocultosBurgos. The primary purpose ofen building las the trincherasrailway was to transportEnironrealidad,ore which,aunqueup untilla Víathen,Verdehadtermina traveled en in Arlanzón, horse-pulled la vía carts de from trenoriginal the villages continuaba the Sierra casi hasta de lalaspuertas Demanda de to Burgos. Burgos El and objetivo from thereprincipal on to Bilbao. de la In construcción many places del theferrocarril railway track era was transportar literally el carved mineral outde through hierro, forests transporte and hills. que hasta And it wasentonces in Atapuerca se había where hecho luck en struck. carrosAtirados 20 m (65.6 por caballos, ft) high trench desde los unveiled68 JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR


pueblos de la sierra de la Demandahasta Burgos y desde allí hasta Bilbao.what was to become the largestEn muchos lugares, la vía de tren fuepaleontological excavation site inliteralmente excavada a través deEurope, declared a World Heritagebosques y montañas. Y fue enSite in 2000. If it hadn’t been for theAtapuerca donde se produjo un golpederailway,suerte.allUnathistrincheramight stilldebe20 m /66undiscovered.ft de altura reveló lo que seconvertiría And even though en el yacimiento it is better not topaleontológico think about what más may grande have debeenEuropa, lost, the declarado railway trench Patrimonio made for de la aHumanidad perfect cross-section en el año of 2000, this layered que deno environment, ser por la vía ready de tren, to be podría explored.permanecer However, it todavía was not sin until descubrir. the 1960sPero that a no team pensemos of archaeologists en que realizedpodríamos what the railway haber perdido, had laid bare: la vía adetren register había of producido human evolution. un corteFromtransversal then on, Atapuerca perfecto en has el garnered terreno anestratificado, impressive record. lo cual Not facilitaba only does su itexploración. hold evidence Sin of embargo, the earliest no human fuehasta presence la década in Western de 1960 Europe, en que the unequipo earliest de signs arqueólogos of cannibalism se dio and cuentade funerary lo que rites, el trazado the world’s ferroviario mosthabíadejadocompleteal descubierto:human skullunaandpruebathedelalargestevoluciónsinglehumana.concentrationA partirofdepreentonces,Atapuerca ha acumulado unNeanderthal remains, but morehistorial impresionante. No soloimportantly it brought to light thecontiene pruebas de la presenciaremains of an as yet undocumentedhumana, las prácticas de canibalismohuman species, the Homo antecessor.y los ritos funerarios más antiguos deEuropaGuidedOccidental,tours are availableel cráneonothumanoonlymás along completo the actual del excavation mundo o la site mayor butconcentración also through the individual exhibition de area fósiles anddel through Preneandertal, what is especially sino que attractive también yaún and más formative importante, for youngsters: sacó a la luz a losrestos theme de park una that especie walks humana us through aún sindocumentar: the main periods el Homo of prehistory, antecessor. fromHay the Palaeolithic visitas guiadas to the no solo age al of propio metal. Ityacimiento, is advised to sino make también reservations a la zona deexposiciones y a un lugarespecialmente atractivo y pedagógicobeforehand as groups are taken topara los jóvenes: un parque temáticothe actual site by coach from theque ofrece un paseo a través de losticket office in nearby Ibeas deperiodos principales de la prehistoria,Juarros.desde el Paleolítico a la Edad de losMetales.Now doesSethisrecomiendaring a bell?reservarDo youporadelantado, remember the dado plate que of los caparrones grupos sondetransportados Anguiano which al yacimiento Maria Luisa en so autocardesde lovingly la oficina prepared? de venta Well, de here, billetes as we enlas know, cercanías they are de called Ibeas de Alubias Juarros. de Ibeas¿Le and suena in many a algo? a back ¿Recuerda garden in el plato thisde village caparrones we will de still Anguiano find the preparado typicalcon strung tanto up primor bean plants. por María But in Luisa? thisAquí, area the como tiny ya red sabemos, beans primarily se llamanalubias make their de Ibeas way into y en the muchas olla podrida, de lashuertas a stew which, traseras as de in esta addition localidad to redencontramos beans, has morcilla todavía de las Burgos típicas (see boxplantas on page de 64), judías chorizo, colgadas. pig’s Sin ears andfeet embargo, and marinated en esta zona ribs las of pequeñas pork, freshbacon, alubias and rojas some se utilizan chefs even addcecina.principalmenteAnd you’veparaluckedprepararoutlaagain:ollapodrida, que lleva además de judías,Los Claveles, a restaurant famous formorcilla de Burgos (ver pág. 64),its olla podrida, is right here inchorizo, oreja, manitas y costillas deIbeas. A dessert, queso de Burgos (thecerdo marinadas, tocino y algunostypical fresh white ewes’ cheese),cocineros incluso le añaden cecina.honeyOtro golpeanddewalnutssuerte:couldLos Claveles,just be theunright restaurante thing to famoso conclude por su your ollatrip ona podrida, high note. está aquí, en Ibeas. Unpostre de queso de Burgos (típicoqueso More blanco than de oveja afresco), miel ynueces podría servir de colofónperfecto sporting al viaje. routeThere is no doubt that the SpanishGreenways offer an alternative wayMás que unto temporarily extricate ourselvesitinerario deportivofrom the hassles and hazards ofNo modern hay duda life. de Here que we las have Vías Verdes only hadespañolas ofrecen una forma alternativade evasión temporal de las prisas ya peek at two of them, but we trustpreocupaciones de la vida moderna. Enthat your are curious enough toeste artículo solo hemos echado uncontinue discovering the manyvistazo a dos de ellas, pero esperamoshidden corners of multifacetedque hayan despertado lo suficiente suSpain. Julio Verdú was right when heinterés como para animarle a seguirsaid that he wanted the Vías Verdesdescubriendo los innumerables rinconesto be “more than a sporting route.”ocultos que ofrece ese variadísimo paísqueTheyesexposeEspaña.usJulioin aVerdúveryteníadifferentrazóncuandoway to thenosmyriadcomentóofquetreasuresquería quethatlasVías Spain’s Verdes inland fueran has “algo in store. más que If, as unweitinerario have seen, deportivo”. the Vías Verdes Nos descubren, make adesde difference una perspectiva to the people diferente, from losmiles adjacent de tesoros villages, que they encierra also el make interior ade difference España. to Si, the como people hemos who visto, travel lasVías them. Verdes They suponen are not una only diferencia a means para tolos enjoy habitantes nature, de visit los places pueblos and samplecolindantes, traditional gastronomy, también diferencian they also a las givepersonas us a sense que of las coming recorren. closer No into son soloun contact medio with de disfrutar that which de la surrounds naturaleza,visitar us. Unfortunately, lugares y degustar the Greenways la gastronomíatradicional, remain primarily sino que the también territory ofproporcionan nationals and la are sensación visited de only tener in uncontacto small numbers mucho más by tourists directo con fromlo quenos abroad. rodea. The Por word desgracia, needs las to Vías get Verdes out,siguen so we hope siendo you principalmente that will join un us lugar onvisitado our next por trip españoles and that y the solo Greenways unreducido will also grupo conquer de turistas your heart! delextranjero las recorre. Es necesariocorrer Anke van la voz, Wijck así que Adán esperamos is a sociologist que seuna and a has nosotros a Master’s en nuestro degree próximo in viajey gastronomy que las Vías from Verdes Boston conquisten University.también Her articles su corazón. have appeared in TheBoston Globe.Anke van Wijck Adán es socióloga y tieneun máster en gastronomía por la BostonUniversity. Sus artículos han aparecido enel Boston Globe.JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR 69


ET HN E R NU OT AR T PH OE R N E L R ONUOTRETEEn Currently la actualidad, there are hay 64 64 Greenways Vías Verdes which quepueden may be used ser utilizadas fby walkers por and caminantes cyclists. yThisusuarios means that, de bicicletas. of the more Esto than supone 7,000 1.600 kmkm (4,347 / 994 mi) mi of disponibles railway tracks de in más disuse, de 7.000 1,600km (993.6 / 4.349 mi) are de líneas available de for ferrocarril use. Here endesuso. were offer Aquí you presentamos a list of the best las Vías Greenways Verdesmejor in the northern acondicionadas third of del the tercio Iberiannorte de lapenínsula Peninsula. Ibérica. For more Para extensive ampliar and y actualizar up-todateinformación, information, please lo mejor visit es the acceder aestala Greenways’ página oficial official del website: programa de VíasVerdes, www.viasverdes.comque usted puede localizar en:www.viasverdes.comASTURIASASTURIASVía Verde del Eo:Vía 12 km Verde (7.5 mi) del between Eo: San Tirso de12 Abrés km and / 7,4 Villaodriz mi entre (Asturias San Tirso and de Lugo, Abrés yVillaodriz Galicia). (Asturias y Lugo, Galicia).Medio Natural natural: environment: bosque Riverside ribera woodland conwith intensas intensive repoblaciones eucalyptus de replanting. eucaliptos.Cultural Patrimonio heritage: cultural: Prehistoric castros y burial dólmenesprehistóricos. chambers and Palacio dolmens. del Pacio Palace (siglo XVIII) (18 thcentury) San Tirso. in San Iglesia Tirso. de Santa. Sta. María (siglo ChurchXVII) (17 th century) Conforto in Conforto (A Pontenova). (A Pontenova).Vía Verde de la Camocha:6,5 6.5 km /(44 mi) mi between entre la mina the La La Camocha Camocha yel mine barrio and de Tremañes Tremañes. district.Medio Natural natural: environment: campiña Asturian asturiana. countryside.Cultural Patrimonio heritage: cultural: Gijón’s casco city urbano center. de Gijón.Vía Verde de Fuso:25.5 km (16 mi) between Tuñón and25,5 km / 16 mi entre Tuñón y Oviedo.Oviedo.Medio natural: valle y prados.Natural environment: Valley and meadows.Patrimonio cultural: conjunto monumentalCultural heritage: Oviedo’s monumentalde Oviedo.heritage site.Vía Verde de la Senda del Oso:Vía Verde de la Senda del Oso:2929kmkm/(1816mi)mibetweenentre EntragoEntragoy Tuñón,and Tuñón,conunwithramala 10entrekm (6.2Carangami) branchy Quiróslinedebetween10 km/Caranga6 mi.and Quirós.MedioNaturalnatural:environment:valles deMountainmontaña,valleys,narrowdesfiladerospassesy bosquesand Atlanticatlánticos.woodland.CulturalPatrimonioheritage:cultural:LaiglesiasPlaza andde LaMuñónPlazaychurches,Tuñón, monumentosnational monuments.nacionales.PalacesPalaciosand largeyfortifiedtorreonesmedievalmedievales.towers.ArquitecturaTraditional architecture.popular. CentroInterpretationdeInterpretacióncenter in Tuñón.en Tuñón.Vía Verde del Tranqueru:1,2 1.2 km /(0.7 0,7 mi) between entre Perlora Perlora y Xivares. andMedio Xivares. natural: acantilados.Natural Patrimonio environment: cultural: casonas Cliffs. asturianas.Cultural Parque Arqueológico heritage: Asturian Natural farmhouses. Campa Torres.Campa Necrópolis Torres del monte Natural Areo. and ArchaeologicalMás de 30Park. dólmenes Monte y túmulos Areo Necropolis. de la Edad More de Bronce. than30 burial chambers and tumuli from theBronzeVía VerdeAge.del valle de Turón:12 km / 7,4 mi entre Reicastro en UjoVía Verde del Valle de Turón:y La Molinera en Urbiés de Turón, Concejode 12 Mieres. km (7.5 mi) between Reicastro en Ujoand La Molinera in Urbiés de Turón,Medio natural: paisaje protegido de lasConcejo de Mieres.cuencas mineras con variedad de bosquesNatural (castaños, environment: robles, etc.). Protected mining areawith forests of different tree speciesPatrimonio cultural: castilletes mineros(chestnut, oak, etc.).de Figariedo, San José, Santa Bárbara y,Cultural sobre todo, heritage: Espinos. Mining Minas towers de Santo inFigariedo, Tomás, San San José, José, San Santa Pedro, Bárbara Fortuna, and,above Podizo all, y Corrales. Espinos. Puentes Mines in de Santo Arnizo Tomás, ySan Pomar José, construidos San Pedro, por Fortuna, discípulo Podizo deandCorrales. Eifel. Sala Arnizo de máquinas Bridge and de la the Güeria. PomarBridge Etnografía built de by los a disciple pueblos of de Eiffel. Villandio Güeriamechanical y Enverniego. rooms. Ethnography of thevillages Villandio and Enverniego.CANTABRIACANTABRIAVía Verde del Pas:Vía Verde del Pas:34 km / 21 mi entre Astillero y Ontaneda.34 km (21 mi) between Astillero andMedioOntaneda.natural: desde valles cantábricos ala bahía de Santander.Natural environment: From the CantabrianvalleysPatrimonioto thecultural:Bay ofbalneariosSantander.de Alceda yPuente Viesgo. Torre de El Soto. PinturasCultural heritage: The spas of Alceda andrupestres en cuevas de Puente Viesgo.the Viesgo Bridge. El Soto Tower. Cavepaintings Vía Verde in del the Viesgo Piquillo: Bridge caves.1,5 Vía km Verde / 0,9 del mi Piquillo: entre Ontón (Castro-Urdiales)1.5 km (0.9y Cobarónmi) between(Vizcaya).OntónAquí(CastroseuneconUrdiales)la Itxaslurand Cobarónque acaba(Vizcaya).en la playaHeredeitLaArenajoins with(Muskiz-Vizcaya).the Itxaslur which ends at LaMedio Playa de natural: la Arena higueras Beach y (Muskiz-Vizcaya).encinarNaturalcantábrico.environment: Cantabrian fig treesand Patrimonio holm oaks. cultural: iglesia de Santa MaríaCulturalde la Asunciónheritage:(sigloChurchXIII),ofcastilloSantaFaro,Maria delamillarioAsunciónRomano(13(año 61 d. C.), puenteth century), Faro Castle,Medieval,Roman Milestoneermita de(61AD),SantaMedievalAna,Bridge,ayuntamientoSanta Ana Hermitage,(siglo XVI),TownpalacioHally(16castillo thdecentury),OcharanOcharan(siglo XX)Palaceen Castroand CastleUrdiales.(20 thcentury) in Castro Urdiales.CASTILLA CASTILE-LEON Y LEÓNVía verde Verde del Esla:11 km /(6.8 6,8 mi) between entre Valencia Valencia de Don de Don Juan Juany and Castrofuerte (León). (León).Medio Natural natural: environment: bosques Riverside ribera woodland y llanuraandcerealista. plains.Cultural heritage: Valencia de Don JuanPatrimonio cultural: castillo de Valencia decastle.Don Juan.Vía Verde del Ferrocarril Santander-VíaMediterráneo.Verde del Ferrocarril Santander-Mediterráneo:3.7 km (2.3 mi) between Burgos and3,7Cardeñadijokm / 2,3andmi entre6 kmBurgos(3.7 mi)ybetweenCardeñadijotheymunicipality6 km / 3,7ofmiModúbarentre el términoand Cojóbarmunicipalstation.deModúbarNatural environment:y estación deCardeñadijoCojóbar.River valley.Medio Cultural natural: heritage: valle Burgos del río monumental Cardeñadijo.Patrimonio heritage site. cultural: San Pedro conjunto de Cardeña monumental deBurgos. Monastery. Monasterio Altotero Modúbar de San Pedro Neolithic de Site.Cardeña. San Cristóbal Yacimiento Cojóbar Neolítico church (13 Altoteroth century).Modúbar. Iglesia de San Cristóbal (siglo XIII)Cojóbar.Vía Verde de Laciana:6.3 km (4 mi) between Villablino andVía Caboalles Verde de de Arriba Laciana: (León).6,3 Natural km / environment: 4 mi entre Villablino Riverside y Caboalles woodland, deCantabrian Arriba (León). deciduous woodland andmeadows. Medio natural: bosques de ribera, bosqueCultural caducifolio heritage: cantábrico Industrial y praderas. miningarchaeology. Patrimonio cultural: Urogallo arqueología Interpretation industrial Center.minera. Centro de Interpretación del Urogallo.Vía Verde de la Sierra de la Demanda:Vía 54 km Verde (33.5 de mi) la between sierra de Monterrubio la Demanda: de la54 Demanda km / 33,5 and mi Arlanzón entre Monterrubio (Burgos). de laDemanda Natural environment: y Arlanzón Beech (Burgos). and pine forests.CulturalMedio natural:heritage:hayedosPinedaydepinares.la Sierra HistoricArtistic Site. Atapuerca Archaelogical Site,Patrimonio cultural: conjunto histórico artísticoclose to where the route begins.de Pineda de la Sierra. Yacimiento deAtapuerca, Vía Verde próximo de Tierra al inicio de Campos: de la ruta.Vía 4.5 km Verde (3 mi) de between Tierra de Cuenca Campos: de Camposand Villalón (Valladolid).4,5 km / 2,7 mi entre Cuenca de CamposNatural environment: cereal crops.y Villalón (Valladolid).Cultural heritage: Pillory (1523), the churchesMedio natural: cultivos de cereal.of San Miguel Arcángel (14 th century), SanJuanPatrimonioBautistacultural:(15rollo jurisdiccional o picotath century), San Pedro (18 th(añocentury)1523),andiglesiasthe Virgende Sande FuentesMiguel ArcángelHermitage(siglo(18 th century),XIV), SanDovecotesJuan Bautistain Villalón.(siglo XV),ChurchesSanPedroof San(sigloJustoXVIII)y Pastor,y la ermitaSantadeMaríala Virgendel CastillodeFuentesand the San(sigloBernardinoXVIII), PalomaresHermitage,en Villalón.IglesiasDovecotesde Sanin CuencaJusto ydePastor,Campos.Santa Maríadel Castillo y la ermita de San Bernardino,Palomares en Cuenca de Campos.70 JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR


LA RIOJAVía Verde del Cidacos:34 km /(21 mi) between entre Calahorra Calahorra y Arnedillo. andMedio Arnedillo. natural: bosques de ribera.Natural Patrimonio environment: cultural: conjunto Riverside monumental woodland.Cultural de Calahorra heritage: y Arnedo. Calahorra Monasterio y Arrendó deVico. monumental Castillo heritage de Quel, site. Arnedo Vico y Monastery. Arnedillo.Yacimientos Quel, Arnedo de y Arnedillo Icnitas. Castle. IcnitasArchaelogical Site.Vía Verde de Préjano:Vía Verde de Préjano:5 km / 3 mi entre la estación de Arnedilloy 5 Préjano km (3 mi) (más between 4 sobre Arnedillo la Vía Verde station del andCidacos). Préjano (and a further 4 km (2.51 mi) onthe Vía Verde del Cidacos).Medio natural: cañón del río, frutalesNatural y pinares. environment: River canyon, fruitand pine trees.Patrimonio cultural: casco urbanoCultural de Préjano. heritage: Préjano city center.Vía Verde del Río río Oja: Oja:28 km (17 mi) between Casalarreina and28 km / 17 mi entre Casalarreina y Ezcaray.Ezcaray.Medio natural: bosque de ribera en losNatural environment: Riverside woodlandmárgenes del Oja. Manchas de caducifoliabeside the Oja River. Patches of deciduousdesde Ojacastro hasta Ezcaray.woodland between Ojacastro and Ezcaray.Patrimonio cultural: conjuntosCultural heritage: Casalarreina and Santomonumentales de Casalarreina y SantoDomingo monumental heritage sites.Domingo. Iglesia de Bañares. CascoBañares Church. Ezcaray city center and aurbano de Ezcaray e iglesia parroquial.parish church.NAVARRANAVARREVía Verde del Bidasoa:Vía Verde del Bidasoa:2929kmkm/(1818mi)mibetweenentre SantestebanSantestebanyandEndarlatza.Endarlatza.Medio Naturalnatural: environment: bosque Atlantic atlántico woodland, y de riberariverside fluvial y prados. woodland and meadows.Cultural Patrimonio heritage: cultural: Rural arquitectura architecture. rural.Vía Verde del Ferrocarril Vasco-Vasco-Navarro (II): (II):25 km /(15.5 15,5 mi) between entre Antoñana (Álava) (Álava) yMurieta and Murieta (Navarra). (Navarre).Medio Natural natural: environment: barranco stream-fed fluvial, con ravine,with bosques kermes de carrasca oaks and y sessile de roble oaks marojo.Hundred-year-old Tilos y tejos centenarios. lime and yew trees.Cultural Patrimonio heritage: cultural: Ibernalo santuario sanctuary de Ibernalo inen Campezo. Remains Restos of de medieval murallaswalls,medievales, noble manors, casas 17 th nobles, century molinos windmills del andsiglo tower-houses XVII y casas-torre in Antoñana en Antoñana and Campezo. yCampezo. Vasco-Navarro Estaciones railway del stations. ferrocarrilVasco-Navarro.Vía Verde del Plazaola:40 km /(25 24,8 mi) mi between entre Lekunberri (Navarra)y (Navarre) Andoain and (Gipuzkoa). Andoain (Gipuzkoa).Medio Natural natural: environment: valles Valleys con bosques with replantedAtlantic atlánticos woodland y de pinos and de pine repoblación. trees. TheLeitzarán El valle de Valley Leitzarán has been está classified catalogado as acomoNatural Biotopo Biotope. Natural.Cultural Patrimonio heritage: cultural: Traditional arquitectura architecture popular de inMugiro, Lekunberri y and Leitza. Leitza. Casa Casa AstuitzaAstuitza Torre (siglo Tower XVI) (16 en th Andoain. century) in Andoain.PAÍS BASQUE VASCO COUNTRYVía Verde de Arditurri:11,5 11.5 km /(77 mi) mi between entre la bahía the Bay de of Pasaia Pasaiay and Arditurri Arditurri (Guipuzkoa). (Guipuzkoa).Medio Natural natural: environment: valle de Oiartzun Oiartzun Valley y Parque andthe Natural Aiako de Harriak Aiako Harriak Natural (Peñas Park (Peñas de Aia). deAia). Hayedos. Beech woodland.Cultural Patrimonio heritage: cultural: Arditurri conjunto mining minero site. deOiartzun, Arditurri. Barrios Altzibar de and Oiartzun, Ergoien Altzibar districts.y Vía Ergoien. Verde de Aráosla:Vía 5 km Verde (3 mi) de between Aráosla: Apartamonasterio(Atxondo) and Arrazola (Vizcaya).5 km / 3 mi entre Apartamonasterio(Atxondo) Natural environment: y Arrazola (Vizcaya). Limestone slopes anddense forests in the valley.Medio natural: laderas de caliza y densosCultural bosques heritage: en el valle. Farmhouses and towerhousesin Marzana and small, ruralPatrimonio cultural: conjunto de caseríoshermitages all along the trail.y casas-torre en Marzana y pequeñasermitas Vía Verde rurales de a Atxuri: lo largo del recorrido.Vía 5 km Verde (3 mi) de between Atxuri: Mungia and thedistrict Maurola (Artebakarra) (Vizcaya).5 km / 3 mi entre Mungia y el barrio deNatural environment: Atxuri Valley. UriguenMaurola (Artebakarra) (Vizcaya).de Mungia Park.Medio natural: valle de Atxuri. Parque deCultural heritage: Zabalondo stoppingUriguen de Mungia.point, the Atxuri rural center, San MartínhermitagePatrimonioandcultural:LandetxoapeaderoGoikoadefarmhouse.Zabalondo, núcleo rural de Atxuri, ermitade San Martín y caserío Landetxo Goikoa.Vía Verde del Ferrocarril VascoVía Navarro Verde (I): del FerrocarrilVasco Navarro (I):22.8 km (14 mi) between Vitoria-Gasteiz22,8 and the km Laminoria / 14 entre tunnel Vitoria-Gasteiz (near Ullíbarri- y eltúnel Jáuregui), de Laminoria with a branch (en las line cercanías betweendeUllíbarri-Jáuregui), Andollu and the Estíbaliz con ramal Sanctuary entre Andollu (Álava).yNaturalel Santuarioenvironment:de EstíbalizAgricultural(Álava).land,patches Medio natural: of oak tierras woodland. de labor y masas deCulturalbosquesheritage:relictos deVitoria-Gasteizroble.citycenter. Patrimonio Estíbaliz cultural: sanctuary conjunto (12urbano th century). deVitoria-Gasteiz. Aberasturi manor Santuario house and de the Estíbaliz old (sigloXII). Vasco-Navarro Casonas de railway Aberasturi stations. y antiguasestaciones del Ferrocarril Vasco-Navarro.Vía Verde de Galdames:15 km /(99,3 mi) mi between entre Gallarta (Abanto-Zierbena) y and La La Aceña-Atxuriaga (Galdames)(Vizcaya). (Galdames) (Vizcaya).Medio Naturalnatural: environment: retazos Patches de hayedos of adler y andbeech alisedas. woodland. Bosques Replanted de repoblación. forests.Cultural Patrimonio heritage: cultural: Churches iglesias de of San Pedro(Las Carreras) y and Santa Santa Juliana Juliana en in Abanto.Torre Palacio del de Barco la Torre Palace del Barco in Sanfuentes.Basque Sanfuentes. Country Museo mining de la museum Minería del in PaísGallarta Vasco en and Gallarta the El y Pobal Ferrería forge El Pobal en Muskiz.en Vía Muskiz. Verde del Urola:Vía 21 km Verde (13 mi) del between Urola: Azkoitia -21 Zumárraga km / 13 - mi Urretxu entre Azkoitia-Zumárraga-- LegazpiUrretxu-Legazpi (Guipuzkoa). (Guipuzkoa).Natural environment: Valley, ravines andMedio natural: valle, barrancos y montes.mountains.CulturalPatrimonioheritage:cultural:Homescasasandy palaciospalacesdeinAzkoitiaAzkoitia yandZumárraga.Zumárraga.DólmenesMegalithicy túmulosdolmensmegalíticosanddetumuliZumárraga.in Zumárraga.BasílicaLoioladeBasilicaLoiola eninAzpeitia.Azpeitia.MuseoRailwaydelMuseumFerrocarrilinAzpeitia.en Azpeitia.VíaVíaVerdeVerdedeldelZadorra:Zadorra:15 km /(99,3 mi) mi between entre Vitoria-Gasteiz yandPuerto the Puerto de Arlabán de Arlabán (Álava). (Álava).Medio Natural natural: environment: humedal Wetland con importante withsignificant avifauna. Robledales bird population. y bosques. Oak groves andwoodland. Patrimonio cultural: casco urbano deCultural Vitoria-Gasteiz. heritage: Iglesias Vitoria-Gasteiz de Gamarra cityMenor,center. Durana Churches y Landa. Palacio of Gamarra de Arzamendi Menor, enDurana Luko y antiguas and Landa. estaciones Arzamendi del Palace Ferrocarril inLuko Vasco-Navarro. and the old Vasco-Navarro railwaystations.JANUARY-APRIL 2008 SPAIN GOURMETOUR 71

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