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The Windmills of La Mancha

April 10th 2014
  • Long considered a mecca for literary lovers, the township of Consuegra, in the heart of Spain’s Toledo province, ensures the legend of its most famous fictional son lives on. Indeed, it was when Don Quixote challenged the stone white structures that rest on the Cerro Calderico ridge to a duel that their fate as an attraction for centuries to come was truly sealed.

    Having been built originally by the Caballeros Sanjuanistas for agricultural purposes, the windmills have since been passed, along with the secrets of sourcing the finest grain, from father to son and have served to aid the surrounding La Mancha region in troubled times by providing food to the residents. Though the sails stopped turning in the early 1980s, one mill (of the initial 13) remains open to visitors. Those hoping to gain a little perspective on the historical value of these buildings and drink in the wonderfully wild Toledo plains can satiate both cravings here.

    While the mills make a wonderful detour for anyone passing through the countryside on their way to or from Madrid, an additional sojourn into the pueblos offers a rare glimpse into a Spanish lifestyle unspoiled by transient tourism. You will certainly not regret taking the time to sample the gastronomic delights of migas and manchego, alongside a small glass of the region’s rich red wine, in an authentic bodega.

Image credit: Juan Carlos Arévalo