Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 5 - Zaragoza/Madrid

To Madrid by the Pyrenees
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zaragoza -- A2 -- Alcolea del Pinar -- CM-2113 -- CM-2021 -- Saelices de la Sal -- CM-2021 -- CM-2113 -- Huertahernando -- Monasterio de Buenafuente del Sistal -- GU-944 -- Cobeta -- CM-2115 -- Zaorejas -- Villanueva de Alcorón -- Peralveche -- Azañón -- Trillo -- Gargoles de Abajo -- N-204  -- Durón -- Urbanizacion El Paraiso -- Las Brisas -- Embalse de Entrepeñas (Sacedón) -- N-320 -- Auñón -- Ciudad Valdeluz -- Guadalajara -- A2 -- Madrid


We picked up the motorbike set with brand new tyres at 10:00 in the morning. Only two blocks away from the garage, we fell in on Plaza de Europa. An place where almost anyone using a vehicle must ride to to enter the city. Philippe braked almost immediately as we saw the 35-meter-high obelisk called "World Axis" that stood there. He wanted to snap a few pictures (see below), as proof there is more in monuments seen in most Western countries than actually meets the eye.

Obelisks (from Greek ὀβελίσκος - obeliskos , meaning "spit" or "pointed pillar") were prominent in the architecture of the ancient Egyptians who placed them at the entrance of temples. They are said to resemble a petrified ray of the Sun-Disk, Aten, known and worshipped as the Creator. The ray symbolizes a link or connection or rising of a deceased king to the heavens and uniting with the Sun. Question(s). Why an obelisk? Erecting a religious monument whether it is ancient or contemporary, is to me a religion act and message not be taken lightly. Is it a tribute to Juan Carlos of Spain? And where are the temples?

Plaza de Europa in Zaragoza, as seen from Paseo de Maria Agustin

"Axis Mundi", the obelisk

The twelve merkabah surrounding the obelisk
The twelve three-dimensional stars around the obelisk were erected as a tribute to the European Union and its original members. If these are a representation of the twelve stars/countries, why not using five-pointed stars instead of six-pointed stars as they shown on the European flag? A six-pointed star, known as merkabah (from Hebrew מרכבה, meaning "chariot") is a very specific Hebrew symbol. It is said to be a vehicle used by ascended masters to connect with and reach those in tune with the higher realms.

South merkaba of Plaza de Europa

Too focused on the obelisk and merkabah, we missed another monument on the other side of Plaza de Europea, the statue of the Quetzal, an endangered species of Guatemalan bird worshipped by Mayans and that very few have been privileged to admire in all its splendor. That makes a lot of highly significant symbols mixed all together, don't you think? I might dwell a little more on the subject and Philippe's own inquiries on contemporary sacred architecture in a next post.

As we were leaving Zaragoza, Philippe suggested we divided our day's program in two. One being dedicated to more smaller trail-orientated roads and the other to highway. Reaching directly Madrid in less than 3 hours would have been an easier choice, but I knew Philippe still felt a little frustrated from yesterday and I did too so I pulled no resistance. We agreed on heading for the reservoir lakes area located in Parque Natural del Alto Tajo in Castile La Mancha, home of Don Quixote, even though we had no idea how it would be like.

About one hour and half later, we exit the highway A-2 at the Alcolea del Pinar junction and took the road CM-2113. The part of Parque Natural del Alto Tajo we were about visit didn't seem to have any keystone attraction for tourists or even to congregate the few of them who were there. Beside the wilderness areas, it was a rural county where typically much of the land is devoted to country towns, agriculture, ermitages and monasteries. 

Our stomachs were already growling for lunch, so we stopped in Saelices de la Sal, where we had the best meal since our arrival in Spain!

Southwest view...

...and northeast view of Saelices de la Sal's main street

The bar where we had lunch

A bunch of cats were sneaking around begging to share our meal.

About eight kilometers after Huertahernando, we reached a junction in the middle of nowhere, I saw a road sign with a church icon on it, reading---Monasterio de Santa María de Buenafuente del Sistal and pointing at the recluse village of Buenafuente only 500 meters away. I tapped on Philippe's shoulder and asked him if we could go and have look. That's what we came across as we entered the village (see below) :

Inside the arched nook underneath the rosette window hides a fountain

I have little remembrance of what happened next, beside three encounters.
The first took place while we were riding through a wood. We had seen hundreds of wild animal road signs in our life but never a roe deer in flesh actually pouncing onto the roadway next to one of these signs! And that's exactly what happened to us, not only once but twice the same day within a span of twenty minutes!

We made our third encounter an hour later as we were having a break to drink water near a housing facility intended for senior citizens. We saw an old man coming to us with a ghetto-blaster on his shoulder (!). Intrigued by our presence, he started talking while pointing constantly at the motorbike. My approximate knowledge of spanish helped me understand he was a soldier and rider too when he was younger. He was so sweet. I couldn't resist taking his picture (see below).

Our last memorable stop was Embalse de Entrepeñas (near Sacedón). We were quite tired and weather was very hot. Watching that breathtaking scenery (see below) made us feel like starved muzzled dogs in a food shop!

Following next :
Day 6/9 - Madrid

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