On the road again and heading south, for the Lagunas de Ruidera, we pass through some wonderful scenery and at Molina de Aragon, we pause to photograph the amazing Castillo. The Torre at the very top of the photograph is the Torre de Aragon. It originated as a Moorish fortress in the 10th & 11th century and became the residence of the Lords of the taifa of Molina. When El Cid was exiled from Castile, he resided here. In 1129 Alfonso 1 of Aragon captured it from the Moors. It is a vast structure on a hill with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside and originally the line of towers included a village. Strangely this photograph looks digitally altered, but is totally untouched!
Traveling on towards Cuenca, we saw more and more of these strange stacks of some sort of bright red willow, which were being grown as a crop and we have no idea of its use, but it is used alot!
Eventually we arrive at the Lagunas de Ruidera and they are stunning. Situated in a Parque Natural on the arid plains of Castilla- La Mancha. The source of these lakes are filters, springs and streams that come together around Ruidera.
Naturally formed by 16 small lakes at different levels, the crystal clear waters cascade one to the other and form an important area for migratory birds.
There are many beautiful, tall, silver trees surrounding the lakes and I think that they are some sort of Poplar.
The Guadiana river (one of Spains longest) has its source here, but disappears underground, only to rise agin 15 kms away at our next destination, Daimiel.
The Tablas de Daimiel are an extremely important wet land site and ecosystem, for many migratory birds, in a very arid area of Spain. Although covering nearly 20 square kms, this is the smallest of Spains National Parks. During our visit we observed that they are expanding the park into the neighboring dry land areas, in an effort to try to stop over exploitation of water resources. While not wanting to become political, we wish that they would adopt this idea in the Strawberry growing province of Huelva, where illegal water extraction is causing water levels of the Donana National Park to drop to dangerously low levels. All for the sake of cheap Spanish Strawberries!
On the tranquil waters of Daimiel a Red Crested Pochard can glide safely, as this is no longer a water fowl hunting area.
A Ferruginous Duck.
And in the serenity of Daimiel a Grey Lag Goose watches from the grass, as we take our leave.