For those who enjoy hiking in beautiful scenery with a side of something artistic, heading to the dam at Buendía in the Cuenca province of Castilla-la Mancha offers a unique experience.
When on holiday in Spain, most people head to the coast and the beaches, or spend time in the big cities like Barcelona and Madrid. However, a Spanish holiday can be so much more than just getting the perfect suntan.
The town of Buendía is not too far from Madrid and is surrounded by dense pine forests and outcrops of sandstone rock. In this rock, several artists have collaborated over the years to create an amazing artistic walking route, with unique sculptures, ranging in size from one to eight feet in height.
Combining nature and art in a serene natural forest gives nature and art lovers alike the chance to get out of the traditional museum scene and into the fresh air.
According to the official Spanish website, this is known as the “Ruta de las Caras” or “Route of the Faces” in English. There are, in total, 18 carved faces and bas reliefs to be seen on the winding hiking route, all carved directly into the sandstone itself.
The varying scenarios give the onlooker a cultural and artistic journey of spiritual discovery along the way. There is a religious or mystical meaning behind each face and while it reminds viewers of Pharaonic Egypt, the artists themselves say they were inspired by the pre-Columbian cultures.
To see more of the sculptures, take a brief tour of the Route of the Faces in the video below.
Buendía - a perfect travel destinationThe Buendía area is worth a visit for many more reasons, however, as there are several hiking trails available, including easier and shorter routes for the children. The one hour scenic trail takes visitors through the whole area, including the “Ruta de las Caras,” while a rather more grueling route goes out past the Buendía swamps and alongside the Sierra de Altamira, with scenic views across the mountainous landscape.
For those keen on water sports, the dam itself and various waterways in the area are perfect for several water sports, including boating, sailing, jet skiing, fishing, and in some areas, bathing.
The gastronomy of the town is a pleasure, too, and typical dishes in the restaurants of Buendía include the traditional Cuenca roast lamb, pickled partridge, chicken with garlic and migas (a traditional Spanish breadcrumb dish) along with some all too tempting local desserts.
Buendía offers the perfect arty accommodation
Make a plan on your next Spanish holiday to do something a little different and visit Buendía and its amazing "Ruta de las Caras." Enjoy your stay at Hotel Rural La Casa de las Médicas, a charming hotel with a unique artistic touch of its own. Each room has been creatively decorated and every one is different, perfect for a weekend break.
Photos: Ruta de las Caras via Wikimedia Commons by Asoka / CC BY-SA 3.0
Buendía dam by Aitor Fdez-Ceballos / CC BY-SA 4.0