2016

The Don Quixote route

Agencia EFE

Four centuries after being published, there is a route of Don Quixote, that overcomes its geographical space to reach universality. Possibly “In a place of la Mancha…” means more than a specific geographical range a place where everything fits.

The Quijote route through the world
Miguel de Cervantes described in “The Ingenious Gentleman don Quixote of La Mancha” many characters, places and customs of his time. Four centuries after the publishing, there is a route of Don Quixote that overcomes a geographical space, La Mancha, to reach universality. Possibly, “In a place of la Mancha…” means more than a specific geographical range a place where everything fits. The main Don Quixote Route goes, doubtlessly by La Mancha. Through hundreds of kilometers and dozens of sections , goes over towns, roads and natural spaces that give access to uncountable elements of cultural interest. There are testimonies of Cervantes and Quixote in La Solana, Puerto Lápice, Alcázar de San Juan or Almagro, in the province of Ciudad Real. Also the Toledo ones of El Toboso, Consuegra or even Toledo itself. Up to 148 towns of Castile-La Mancha have recognizable names of the Quixote and Miguel de Cervantes.

But this Cervantine rout goes beyond. Don Quixote and Sancho leave behind in their third and last leaving the lands of La Mancha to go to Aragón and end in the beaches of Barcelona. And as is usual other towns and places in this trip are recognized in the book.
The Quixote is full of references to people, tasks and recipes of the areas where he sought adventure. Migas and wine from La Mancha have place in their pages, there is place even for dances, bobbin lace or basket weaving. An example of this becomes evident in the photographs here shown.
The universality of Cervantes and the Quixote have made them figure in many areas of the world were their pass is imaginary. He didn’t pass by there but has always been here! some would say.

A group of people wait near the windmill “Rocinante”, built with funds of the Austrian Office of Tourism in Madrid, before the opening of it in the called “Cuatro Cerros” in the Mancha town of Alcázar of San Juan.

Alcázar de San Juan.- Eight cadets of the Juvenile Organization of Ciudad Real go over the Don Quijote route riding in a donkey, the best way of travelling, “all window”, to traverse the roads of Cervantes.- dateless (original footnote).

Beginning and description of Don Quixote
“In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing. […] The age of this gentleman of ours was bordering on fifty; he was of a hardy habit, spare, gaunt-featured, a very early riser and a great sportsman. They will have it his surname was Quixada or Quesada (for here there is some difference of opinion among the authors who write on the subject), although from reasonable conjectures it seems plain that he was called Quexana […]”.

Sight of the roofs of the houses of the town of Campo de Criptana and two windmills in the background.

Puerto Lápice, 05/01/1967.- Local women pose with the figure of Don Quixote.

Venta of Don Quixote in Puerto Lápice, where the gentleman is knighted.

Both attracted Don Quixote of La Mancha town of Puerto Lápice that to this place directed the first two times I went looking for adventure as supposed, and so he said to his squire Sancho, who, being Puerto Lápice "great thoroughfare" in could "put your hands up to the elbows in what they call adventures."

"[...] It seemed good to the innkeeper teasing her guest, and determined short and give the black order of knighthood then, before another misfortune happen. [...] God make your worship a very fortunate knight, and grant you success in battle [...]".

A group of tourists visit the inside of a windmill in the La Mancha town of Consuegra.

A shepherd walks his sheep herd by a street of the La Mancha town of Consuegra.

Allegory that is in the entrance of the town by the main route of Don Quixote and Sancho with the wine of La Mancha in Carrión de Calatrava (Ciudad Real).

Windmills in Campo de Criptana, Ciudad Real.

Almagro (Ciudad Real) November 1996.- View of the inner court of the Corral de Comedias of Almagro.

Manzanares (Ciudad Real), 8-15-1989.- Parish church of La Asunción in the town of Manzanares, of late gothic style, it was built in the mid-16th century and it has an interesting plateresque portico.

Dulcinea of Toboso
“There was, so the story goes, in a village near his own a very good-looking farm-girl with whom he had been at one time in love, though, so far as is known, she never knew it nor gave a thought to the matter.”
“Her name was Aldonza Lorenzo, and upon her he thought fit to confer the title of Lady of his Thoughts; and after some search for a name which should not be out of harmony with her own, and should suggest and indicate that of a princess and great lady, he decided upon calling her Dulcinea del Toboso -she being of El Toboso- a name, to his mind, musical, uncommon, and significant, like all those he had already bestowed upon himself and the things belonging to him”.

Argamasilla de Alba 4-17-2004.- Near the Medrano Cave, prison of Miguel de Cervantes, is the place where the painter Gregorio Prieto created and signed in 1968 the constitutional act of the Foundation that has his name. Currently it holds a permanent exhibition of 17 works by the painter.

Villanueva de los Infantes (Ciudad Real) 12/15/04.- Archive photograph of 04/17/04 of the parish church of San Andrés in Villanueva de los Infantes (Ciudad Real). The place of La Mancha where Cervantes put Don Quixote to live, nearly four hundred years ago, in his most famous work, was no other than Villanueva de los Infantes, in Ciudad Real, so says a scientific team of the Alcalá de Henares University. For more than two years, this group of ten experts in geography, history, philology, sociology, mathematics and information science has worked intensely, coordinated and directed by Francisco Parra Luna, professor in Sociology, by Santiago Petschen, of International Relations and Manuel Fernández Nieto, of Spanish Literature, seeking the answer to the riddle that Cervantes seemed to propose in “The Quixote”.

Consuegra (Toledo), 3-18-2002 General view of the Toledo town of Consuegra, in the foreground windmills “Sancho” (r) that keeps its 16th century machinery in perfect condition for milling wheat and “Bolero” (l) that holds the tourism office of the city.

Almagro (Ciudad Real), 12-15-2003.- In it’s origins it was a military main square that is prominent for its irregular rectangular floor. Its formed by arcades with Toscana colums and two galleries opened to the outside and public. You could reach them from stairs in Calle del Toril, today Capitán Parras and Callejón del Villar.

Episode of the fight against the giants (Windmills) – Field of Criptana
“At this point they came in sight of thirty forty windmills that there are on plain, and as soon as Don Quixote saw them he said to his squire, - Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our desires ourselves, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, …
-What giants? - said Sancho Panza.
-Those thou seest there, - answered his master, - with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues long."
-Look, your worship,- said Sancho; -what we see there are not giants but windmills …
-It is easy to see, - replied Don Quixote, - that thou art not used to this business of adventures; those are giants; and if thou art afraid, away with thee out of this and betake thyself to prayer while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat”.

One of the cascades that can be seen in the Natural Park of Lagunas de Ruidera. This park is considered the peninsular paradise of water, a place where the river Guadiana gives a whimsical show, that seduces and bewitches forever the traveler who tries to entertain himself. Appreciated as one of the marvels of Castile-La Mancha, the Lagunas de Ruidera are a natural space that combine the charm of the calm backwaters where calm peace can be breathed, with the cascades and rapids that flood all with their sound.

Venta of the Quixote in Puerto Lapice, where the gentleman is knighted
Don Quixote was so attracted to the town of La Mancha of Puerto Lapice that he came to this place the two first times he sought adventure, as he thought and so he said to his squire Sancho, that since Puerto Lapice was a “very travelled place”, there they could “get their hands to their elbows in this they call adventures”.
“[…] But these freaks of his guest were not much to the liking of the landlord, so he determined to cut matters short and confer upon him at once the unlucky order of knighthood before any further misadventure could occur […].
- May God make your worship a very fortunate knight, and grant you success in battle […]”.

Picture of sunset in the National Park of Las Tablas de Daimiel, that keeps flooded after the summer months more than 900 hectares, nearly half of the 1850 possible ones, what allows this natural space to be the preferred staying spot for thousands of birds linked to water.

(undated photograph) around 1990.- Sight of the Constitution Square, a wooden structure of two floors with shape of a theatre in the La Mancha town of Puerto Lápice.

End Quixote route by foot: Bolaños de Calatrava (Ciudad Real) 12-15-00. After 16 days and more than 400 kilometers by foot, cuban Homero Bermudez, known as the solitary walker, will reach tomorrow to ciudad real where he left the 28th of november. The rains of La Mancha region, the ice in campo montiel and the fogs in campo de calatrava have been witnesses to the quixotic route of this born in matanzas son of galicians. in the image, Homero Bermudez in his previous before the last stage Manzanares.

Lines of barrels of wine in the inside of the Señorio de Los Llanos winery, founded by the Caravantes family in 1875 and bought later by the Grupo Cosecheros Abastecedores S.A. in 1972.

Women work creating cheese from La Mancha in many homes in town and in the land in this location, where the product is made the traditional way.

“Migas” from La Mancha

Among the ample gastronomy from La Mancha, the “Migas” have a prominent place, a recipe of humble origin now risen to the best tables. Of ancient origin, its cooking is not complex, but it doesn’t cease to be a delicatessen. It’s a very nutritive recipe as Cervantes left written:
“Answer in God's name, Sancho my friend,” said Don Quixote, “for I am not fit to give “migas” to a cat, my wits are so confused and upset.”

Several people make a giant pisto that is cooked in a handmade pan with more than four meters of diameter, and for who are needed, besides the cook, eight assistants. Nearly 8000 meals of pisto from La Mancha have been given out today in Villanueva de los Infantes (Ciudad Real) which means 1000 meals more than last year in this peculiar gastronomic initiative that has reached its ninth edition.

Puerto Lapice 05/1/1967 Folklore local group entertain afternoons in the Quixote Inn.

Bobbin Lace

Bobbin lace is a textile lace technique that consists in braiding threads that initially are wound on bobbins, called “bolillos”, so they can be handled deftly. As the work progresses the fabric is held with pins pinned to a small pillow called “mundillo”. The place of the pins is determined by a pattern. This textile technique is very common in La Mancha and , among other towns, its one of the identifying signs of Almagro (Ciudad Real).

Basket Weaving

The growing of wicker has been common in Castile-La Mancha and with it many basket weaving products have been made. This craft has been traditionally linked to the peasant world, and has been one of the main economic bases in the region. Although the numbers of basket weavers have dwindled notably, there works can still be seen in places like Almagro (Ciudad Real), Cuenca or Guadalajara.

Miguel de Cervantes and his work "Don Quixote of La Mancha"
Credits: Story

Agencia EFE S.A.U.
Coordinator: Luis de León González

They have participated: José Antonio González, Paloma Puente, Juan Manuel Ruiz y Carmen Tello.
Documentation and Graphic Archive Department, Commercial and Marketing Department and Technology and Systems Department.

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