Canals to Moixent 20km:The stages walked on this blog are my own and not the stages as set out in the guidebook. Stage 1 was the first 77km from Valencia to Canals and was walked as day trips from home, taking the car and train and walking back to a designated point. From here on out, I will walk in a forward direction toward Santiago with the help of a support vehicle, so that I can walk both our younger dogs on each walk of approximately 20km. The dogs will swap at a half way point but the initial part of each walk will be with our three dogs, Akina, Kaishi and Ndzilo - all Rhodesian Ridgebacks - and my husband Michael. As I continue on, he will return to the car with two of the dogs and make his way to the half way meeting point where I take a short break and swap dogs.
The route has been planned out over the entire distance and swap points logged. GPS helps with locating these points and also we have a tracking system so he can see when I am getting close. In addition to this the vehicle provides peace of mind should we need to break the journey for any reason, in particular if one of the dogs needed a vet or the weather changed dramatically. Ridgebacks do NOT like rain! They have fine hair and it is not pleasant for them to walk in driving rain. While I might have a purpose for walking El Camino, they do not, I just want them to have the most fantastic walks a dog could have and enjoy themselves from moment to moment.
|Tile Canals Commemorating |
the 750th anniversary of
King Jaume I of
the conquest of D'Aquestes Terres
Our friend Wikipedia tells us that in the 19th century Canals industry started to developed, with 24 glass factories, a paper factory, metal workshops, flour mills, and cloth sellers. In 20th century this industrial activity increased with oil, furniture, construction materials, leather and cloth production. Apparently the pottery was also very important, and gave the people from Canals the nickname of "perolers" (potters). The Canals Ayuntamiento website (www.canals.es) tells us some of the history:
|Outside the church where they build the fire to celebrate|
There is a celebration of San Antonio on the night of January 16th where an immense bonfire is built by gathering wood from December 8th onwards and stacking it in a way that when it is set alight it collapses inwards onto the pyre. It is apparently higher than the church and from the picture you will get an idea of exactly how high that is! I have made a note in my diary to visit Canals during this period and on the night of the 16th in order to see it for myself and take photos for the blog. It is said to be the highest bonfire of the many built in the Valencian community to celebrate the winter equinox. There is a webpage for the Sant Antoni celebrations (http://www.canals.es/santantoni/index.php?start=10) and on it there is a video clip of various photographs of townsfolk building it. I have to say that it does not look as high as the church but it is enormous!! As we pass from the church we also find the remains of the palace of the Borjas and where Calixto III was born. There was also once and oratory here (now a chapel) and the remains of the tower which can still be seen today.
|Remains of the palace of the Borjas and Borja tower|
The Order of Montesa was a Christian military order, territorially limited to the old Kingdom of Aragon.
Templar backgroundThe Templars had been received with enthusiasm in Aragon from their foundation in 1128. King Alfonso I of Aragon, having no direct heir, bequeathed his dominions to be divided among the Templars, the Knights Hospitaller, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, but this bequest was annulled by his subjects in 1131. The Templars had to be contented with certain castles, the chief of which was Monzón. Although the Aragonese branch of the order was pronounced innocent at the famous trial of the Templars, Pope Clement V's Bull of suppression was applied to them in spite of the protests of King James II of Aragon in 1312.
|As we leave Canals -|
monument bearing a green
cross - said to be a sign of
|Montesa castle in the distance, with yellow arrow, GR|
route marker and Via Augusta markers right foreground
There was a group of orange pickers having a morning break and I asked them (this time) for El Camino de Santiago. A tall and handsome young man leapt up to help - insisting his other friends leave this to him (!) as he obviously knew exactly the route of El Camino de Santiago and he confirmed that the muddy track which turned along the river was the correct way. As I headed down the hill - waving and laughing with the original orange pickers who had waved me on the first time and explaining my error - I heard the group discussing "El Camino de Santiago"enthusiastically. At this point, and on many others today, the lanes were quiet and often fairly broken and underused, so I could let Kaishi off the leash to run and investigate her surroundings.
|Kaishi at a Via Augusta marker - stones|
have been left on top - usually left
at grave sites, they honour the
memory of the deceased. I place one
for the victims of genocides as marked
by this Camino walk.
On the left of the route is a finger-shaped peak known as "El Diablo". It is unmistakable and pictured below. After a few kilometres we could see the new road construction and high speed railway to our right. Michael had sent a message to say that he had struggled to find a way across and had taken our poor, low to the ground car, on a bit of off road-ing through the orange orchards to get to our meeting point! As I neared our rendezvous I met an old Spanish gentleman and waved and said good morning as usual, but instead of waving us on and exchanging pleasantries, he called me over and Kaishi ran to greet him. He asked us where we were going and roared with laughter when I said Santiago - as this is rather a long way from Vallada, the town we were approaching! He asked me if I would like a lift in his car as I was going such a long way and when I thanked him and explained that I must walk, he laughed again, grabbed my arm and indicated his car again and that really, was I sure I didn't want a lift?! I explained that my husband was waiting for me a little further on - more laughter and a slap of the bottom (!) I'm not sure he believed me... and Kaishi was not helping by growling. She simply wagged her tail and looked joyfully at us both. I said I had to go and he smiled again and asked if I would leave him my dog because she is very beautiful and not dangerous! No! I said - and explained she knows who is a friend and who is not a friend. Realising we would be on our way he pulled out two butterscotch sweets and thrust one into my hand - "no sugar" he cried "very healthy - I do not eat sugar and I do not smoke!" That must explain his fitness, energy and enthusiasm at his age! We waved and smiled and laughed a lot again and with another pat on the bottom he sent me on my way!
|El Diablo - 689m|
About 1km on I saw the car and Michael waiting. As we approached I let Kaishi go ahead and she wagged her enthusiastic greeting all the way down the road to meet him. The hunters were out in full force today, the sound of rifle shots ringing out across the valley and in each woodland. Their dogs were running loose ahead of us and the dogs were a little engaged in this, barking from the car until I gave them an "ahah - down - quiet". I am so glad we spent time with them getting them used to fireworks and loud noises, or they could have been nervous wrecks here! We can walk anywhere or through any noise and they don't bat an eyelid. The hunters appeared in their camouflage kit in the field above the car and we looked at maps and discussed where we would meet for coffee while they did their thing. Once they had moved on and we were set with our plans, I gathered up Akina and we set off.
|Through the oranges and olives|
M followed us part of the route and then headed off toward Vallada and we took the orange and olive grove route - absolutely beautiful, through the trees and along tracks all the way to the outskirts of town where the route was not too difficult to follow over the overpass and into the main street. I think we missed a small path mentioned in the guidebook, but no matter as we encountered a scallop shell on the wall of a building further along. Four old gentleman were sitting on benches and taking in the air on the other side of the road and they called and waved us over. They thought Akina beautiful and petted her and greeted her and she took it in her stride. One man arrived and asked if she was a boy - they are always amazed when I tell them she is a girl. She is so tall and strong and muscular! They could see I was a little tired and I said it was a long walk today. They invited me to "sit a while" and I thanked them and that it would be lovely but my husband was just along the road in a cafe waiting for me. They understood and nodded approval and wished us well. The car was just ahead of us and I peeked in but Kaishi's 10km must have sent her right to sleep as there was not a movement in the car when usually they will pop their heads up to greet us - especially if one of the other dogs returns!
|Akina greeting Michael at the cafe - the Bon Dia right|
on the main route that El Camino takes into town - just
before the Plaza Mayor and near the Ayuntamiento
|Coffe with Akina|
|Vallada ayuntamiento with shell|
on the left wall nearest the
camera. Lovely building with
it's town clock
Vallada - a lovely town:
|Akina with shell at lovely old|
church in Vallada - the route loops
around these wonderful old places
and back into the town before
heading out to Moixent
Akina really is learning to pose well for the camera these days! The route takes you around the town and through lovely old back streets. It is so pretty and there are churches to visit, a museum of prehistory which is in an old house of 1789 and various points of interest. Some of the streets were decorated with many plant pots giving the streets a cool and welcoming feel and making it feel totally unlike the usual bare town one experiences.
|Clean, neat, well kept streets of Vallada|
|Akina admiring the streets|
lined with plant pots heading
down to the church of
|The wonderful tromp l'oeil in Vallada|
The existing archaeological sites in the municipality of Vallada are abundant, so are varied materials kept in the Municipal Archaeological Museum, with a timeline that covers about 14,000 years from BC to the 14th and 15th centuries.
It is in Roman times where we find the possible origins of the town. In 1987 a discovery of building remains, ceramics and wall lines, indicating the existence of a settlement of this period was made - a "villa" of some entity, with a broad chronology, situated in the very Romanized Cáñoles river valley along which ran the Via Augusta.
Quoted in the Chronicle of James I and in the opinion of the specialists the etymological basis of the town's name can be found in the Latin.
|The fountain of the most delicious sweet water!|
Vallada was incorporated into the Order of Our Lady of Cavalry Montesa, to whom its manor belonged, from its foundation in 1319 until the abolition of the military orders in the nineteenth century.
On September 14 of the year 1547, Fray Pedro Luis de Borja Galcerán, last Master of the Order of Our Lady of Cavalry Montesa and San Jorge de Alfama, segregated the location of the villa Vallada Montesa, granting Vallada its own jurisdiction giving him the deeds of Villa.
|Medieval cross - la cruz del Portal de|
There are also many places of interest to visit around Vallada, many hiking trails and also caving activities. More can be found about these on the town's website under places of interest: http://www.vallada.es/content/lugares-de-interes
One particular cave system seems to be of particular interest. I have cheated and asked Google to translate the page about this so forgive any quirkiness or inaccuracy. Best to check out the original site for clarity.
Túnel del SumidorAlong the existing karst, cavities are numerous, but perhaps the most important is the consumer Tunnel, both for its originality and beauty.
This provisional cavity with a height of 205 m and a length of about 1300 m. the cavity is recognised as one of the deepest of world plasters.
The entrance to the cavity is positioned at the base of Penyó between "els Brollaors" and Saraella. The entrance to the tunnel divided into two parts, upstream about 500 m. length and downstream, with about 800 m. The upper section is characterized by various levels and the existence of various chambers like the living room or Bancobao Cavanilles other more numerous and younger karst formations.
The lower section is characterized by a route much more abrupt and dangerous, with the presence of traps, small rooms and several waterfalls, some of them more than 20 m. It ends with Siphon Terminal, which has explored to 40 m but no more. This cavity has a substantial risk, since gypsum materials are quite unstable and collapses can occur. There is a continuous stream of water and therefore explorers should go with the right equipment and knowledge of the route.
|One of the old abandoned farms of the valley|
|Akina taking refreshment at the|
|When walking the Camino - take time to stop and admire|
the beautiful countryside around you. This is the valley
just before we start the climb along the road to Moixent
|Arrival at Moixent with Akina - Camino|
Marker and town info signs
|The church in the centre|
|The tower above Moixent|
Moixent (www.moixent.es):The historical significance of the Moixent is very old - being a transit route for people and goods between the Castilian plateau and the Valencian coast. The Via Heraclea - Iberian and Carthaginian, the Roman Via Augusta, the royal Islamic royal road to Toledo and Xativa all passing through it and today the railway to Valencia and Madrid, the N-430 road from Valencia to Albacete current high-speed (AVE) trains all follow the longitudinal route made by mother nature - the river Cànyoles.
In the Iberian era, on the edge of the plateau of Alcusses (meaning the most fertile and cultivated) was an important fortified town, today called the Scaffold (circa 425-325 BC), archaeologists dug up an iron figurine - the famous Moixent warrior, one of the most important jewels of Iberian art in Valencia. Disregarding this settlement, the Romans continued on the Via Augusta and built at Moixent (on the same site or very close to it) a mansion or inn called Ad Statuas ("Near the Statues"). In 1910 the Garamoixent treasure was discovered in the lap of what was the Garamoixent Islamic castle - 60 silver coins minted in the Syracuse Empire. It appears there was a garrison of the Castle of Moixent because of the border conflict between Byzntines and Visigoths in the 6th Century - they left ceramic remains which have been studied.
|The Romans and Via Augusta Marker|
from the Moixent website
The Arabic name Moixent, Muxän (pronounced Moxén), comes from the name of a major magnate Xativa Visigoth bishop - Muttu (circa 560-600). The philological derivation: village Muttiana> town Mussiana> Arabic dialect Moxén (a).
In times of the Umayyad Caliphate (tenth century), there was also a garrison on top of Castellaret, which controlled the road and the valley. The Muslims of the village moixentina grew vegetables and in the drylands of Alcusses, cereals. This was owned by an aristocrat surnamed Ibn Iattäb. The name comes from when, in times of work and harvests, farmers or laborers built their improvised shacks called al-khüsa in Arabic and meaning "hut or shed".
The Robertson Mala - second 4 - beads from Anna
"A mother's love to you - take care; you are precious"
In the year 1510 there were registered 139 families in Moixent who by 1600 were around 360 (about 1,600 inhabitants) all thanks to the colonization of dry lands to plant vineyards whose wines were exported mostly to the Castilian cities. Following the expulsion of the Moors (1609), there was a decline in many settlements but Moixent recovered, especially during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries due to its speciality in wine production and marketing. In the nineteenth century, Moixent suffered the effects of the struggle between Liberals and Carlists, like the rest of the region. Then a further disaster happened in 1910 when the pest, phylloxera, ruined all the vines and many people were forced to migrate. However, since the middle of the last century, Moixent has become an economically prosperous town with many attractions to live there.