Journey to the Alcarria: Stage 4

Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

The stretch between Cifuentes and Trillo on a journey that combines literature and life.

Journey to the Alcarria. Text for the fourth leg, Camilo José Cela, 1948, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

This philosophical passage comes from the fourth stage of the book "Journey to the Alcarria," in this project that combines the themes of literature and life: "You might think not, but out in the country, sitting on the edge of the road, one sees more clearly than in the city that in this world God arranges things with a good deal of common sense."

Journey to the Alcarria. Text for the fourth leg, Fernando Toquero y Laura Domínguez, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara
Journey to the Alcarria. Text for the fourth leg, Fernando Toquero y Laura Domínguez, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

The fourth stage of the Journey to the Alcarria runs from Cifuentes to Trillo, covering a total of 8 miles on foot.

Journey to the Alcarria. Text for the fourth leg, Fernando Toquero y Laura Domínguez, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara
Breakfast in Cifuentes, Laura Domínguez, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Camilo José Cela got up very early every day, and had breakfast on the road: "It is eleven o'clock in the morning and the traveler feels hungry."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Dawn in Cifuentes, Fernando Toquero, 2014, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"It is quite cool and pleasant walking along. A faint, almost imperceptible ribbon of mist hangs over the river."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Dawn in Cifuentes, Fernando Toquero, 2014, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Here, the writer expresses the feelings stirred in him by the landscape, and the calming effect of Alcarrian sunrises on the spirit.

Fountain of El Piejo, Enrique Delgado, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

The Piejo Fountain on the way out of Cifuentes is a good place to refill your water bottles with clean water, which you will need on the journey. "Just behind the brow of a little hill, Cifuentes disappears. The road runs among sparse and isolated poplar groves."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Alcarria countryside, Fernando Tpquero, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"The road is empty; no one is coming or going. The traveler passes a big stone house that seems to be abandoned."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

A rare yet valuable thing, solitude on the road is a great companion for getting to know yourself.

Alcarria countryside, Fernando Toquero, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara
Alcarria countryside, Fernando Toquero, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"You might think not, but out in the country, sitting on the edge of the road, one sees more clearly than in the city that in this world God arranges things with a good deal of common sense."

Journey to the Alcarria

Camilo José Cela

This is a beautiful way of describing how contemplating the landscape helps you to organise your thoughts.

Gargoles de Arriba, Fernando Toquero, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"Some people call Gargolillos Upper Gárgoles, and Gárgoles Lower Gárgoles. Both towns are on the banks of the Cifuentes."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

The road passes through both places and they are each worth a visit.

Gargoles de Abajo, Laura Dominguez, 2014, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

You reach Lower Gárgoles by crossing its picnic area. It's in this idyllic setting that you'll find the plaque erected by Guadalajara's Provincial Council as a signpost to guide visitors.

Gargoles de Abajo, Enrique Delgado, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"In Gárgoles, the traveler sees some caves with padlocked doors that are used to store wine and potatoes."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Gargoles de Abajo, Enrique Delgado, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

The caves are still open today, and the owners are happy to show visitors around and share some of their wines.

Gargoles de Abajo, Enrique Delgado, 2014, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"A black hound hovers around the traveler as he eats his garlic soup and omelet with canned tuna in it; he is a respectful dog [...], a dog who carries off his poverty with dignity, who eats when somebody gives him something and if nobody does, pretends he doesn't care."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Alcarrian garlic soup is a must, as a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Gargoles de Abajo, laura Dominguez, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"The traveler hesitates between leaving Trillo by following the Cifuentes, as planned, to reach the end of the river whose source he had seen, or taking the new road and deviating slightly to spend the night in Guadalajara."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Doubt is an inherent part of travel: deciding which route to take is a metaphor for life itself, every day presenting a new choice that will forge its own history.

Trillo, Enrique Delgado, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"Arriving in Trillo, the landscape is even more fertile. The vegetation grows, nurtured by the water, and the trees rise as gracefully as in Brihuega."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

The Tagus River passes through Trillo, leaving its mark, its flowing water and waterfalls providing the soundtrack.

Parish church of Trillo, Fernando Toquero, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

The parish church of Trillo dates from the mid-16th century and is entirely Renaissance in style. It is built from large sandstone blocks that form a single nave, which is covered by a coffered wood ceiling decorated in a simple, Mudejar-inspired style.

Streets in Trillo, Laura Dominguez, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"The traveler looks for a place to spend the night. He leaves his bag and goes for a walk around the village."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Cela's way of thinking, and his interest in learning about a place by walking around it, is the best way to get to know a place and its people for yourself.

Waterfall of the Cifuentes river in Trillo, Enrique Delgado, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"The Cifuentes has a beautiful horsetail waterfall, 15 or 20 meters high, with foaming, roaring water. Its banks are full of birds who spend the day chirping. It is a pretty place to build a house; perhaps even too pretty."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Waterfalls in Trillo, Enrique Delgado, 2014, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

"After Trillo, the world takes on a different smell."


Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Trillo stirs all 5 senses, and this poetic quote about smell could just as easily apply to sight, taste, hearing, and touch.

Bridge over the Tagus in Trillo, Fernando Toquero, 2016, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Trillo's bridge crosses Spain's largest river, the Tagus, and is the town's hallmark of identity. It dates back to the mid-16th century, although it is possible that there was an older bridge before then.

“Prometeion” Energy visitor center in Trillo, Alfonso Romo, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

The Museo Prometeion (Promethean Museum) is located in the San Blas mini hydroelectric plant on the Cifuentes River, just a few feet from where it meets the Tagus. It is also known as the Casa de los Molinos (Mill House). Built in the 12th century, it is the oldest building in the town and was used for cutting wood that was then transported downstream by "gancheros," using long, hooked sticks. This links "Journey to the Alcarria" by Camilo José Cela with the book "El río que nos lleva" (The River that Takes Us), by José Luis Sampedro, continuing our theme combining literature and life.

Nightfall in Trillo, Fernando Toquero, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara

Camilo José Cela wandered around Trillo until dusk, when the lights were reflected in the river and it was time for dinner. Perhaps the author of "Journey to the Alcarria" dined a little too much: "Excuse me, sir, forgive my curiosity, but when you eat fried eggs, do you always eat five of them? The traveler does not answer, feigning sleep. Outside, in the midst of an impressive silence, the Cifuentes waterfall roars monotonously."

Journey to the Alcarria
Camilo José Cela

Nightfall in Trillo, Fernando Toquero, 2018, From the collection of: Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara
Diputación Provincial de Guadalajara
Credits: Story

Coordinators: Aurora Batanero, Mario G. Somoano, and Marcelino Ayuso (Department of Press and Tourism, Guadalajara Provincial Council)

Project producer: Guadalajara Provincial Council

Texts: Laura Domínguez and Fernando Toquero
Photography: Alfonso Romo, Enrique Delgado, Laura Domínguez, and Fernando Toquero

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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