Saturday June 18th: 9287 steps 4.17 miles
Since we haven’t found any bonus castles on today’s route to Alcañiz, we had a leisurely morning enjoying breakfast with regional scrambled eggs with ham, we are back in the migas fried bread crumbs region again, and they finally had real Spanish sipping chocolate…so thick and delicious! We checked out then got the key for “acceso exclusivo” to the ramparts of Castillo Marques de Villena aka Parador de Alarcon! After we had enough of the walls, we retuned the key & got in the car, but we found a dirt road that ended under the castle at a walking bridge across the gorgeously teal River Jucar for more fantastic views. I matched the teal river and Glen matched the castle walls…haha! As we drove out of town the same way we drive in, we still hadn’t yet had our fill of castle views, so we parked and walked around the outer gate tower too! We highly recommend spending more time here if you ever get the chance, but for now we say farewell to Alarcon!
We left Alarcon around 3pm and changed from our original inland route to a coastal route in hopes of a seaside snack and maybe a bonus castle. After I took over driving, Glen spotted three more castles from the road and took photos for me! From we could tell by our offline maps, they were something near Castellon de la Plana, Oropesa Castle overlooking Oropesa del Mar, and Xivert Castle in Alcala de Xivert, but it was already taking too long for our revised plan so we didn’t have time to stop and made it to Peñiscola around 6pm. Glen found us an awesome bonus castle…Castillo de Papa Luna in Peñiscola right on the gorgeous teal Mediterranean Sea! From the big sign it looks like they’ve filmed some Game of Thrones there too? We paid our admission and explored the big gray castle thoroughly, had a quick ice cream on our walk back down the hill, then we dipped our toes in the Mediterranean Sea…another bucket list item for this trip! Hooray!
Back on the road again we went inland again headed for Alcañiz. As the sun was setting we saw some structure in silhouette, then when we drove through Morella, the castle at the top was straight up above the city! Impressive but we were already going to be very late for dinner so we only paused for photos. We made it through lots of curvy mountain roads with wild Iberian ibex goats to Alcañiz into the Parador La Concordia by 10:45, barely making it to dinner before they closed, but we finally we were not the last ones to leave! 😉 Our room is on the corner with a view of the cathedral nicely lit at night, but we could hear the wind howling all night…it’s chilly up in the mountains! Tomorrow is our last day in Spain so we will make the most of it!