España, part 5: the Castle Loarre

Trying to blog and keep up with events is eluding me. We're now in Lillehammer, Norway for Christmas and our trip to Spain both feels like yesterday and quite a while ago. This time of year compresses time in strange ways. Perhaps I'll catch up. Perhaps not. 

In the meantime, back to Spain. Late afternoon, Sunday, December 1st. We finished the via ferrata, came back to the car, and took Annie & Colter's word that an extra drive to the Castillo de Loarre (The Castle Loarre) was well worth the trip. From a distance, the castle looked like a pile of rocks. Up close was something different and something quite stunning. According to the Wikipedia page, this castle was built sometime in the 11th & 12th centuries and was an important way point between Christian & Muslim lands. The breadth of view from the castle was immense-- one could see the strategic importance of this vantage point. I'll let photos speak for themselves. 

A look at the castle from a distance. Guard tower to the right. Looking a lot like a large rock... 

A little closer, from the opposite side, the castle looks less like a rock

The walls around the castle
 The guard tower from up close

We didn't really store Chris with all the kids in the tower... 


Views of the surrounding landscape from within the castle


Exploring the castle room by room (and playing tag if you were the kids)

The castle was built into the rock (see upper left); amazing details throughout


The highest towers, Spanish flag flying

The lines, angles, shapes of the castle caught the light as it brightened and then faded in the sky 

Wood in a (very old) kitchen chimney (left); the remnants of the storage galleys (right)

The old water storage tank 

Rebuilt? Reinforced? Old buttresses of the castle


The light fading, and fading from the sky

 Exploring the castle grounds

The queen's window

the light gives way to a quiet dark... 

Time for a snack, then back to Jaca for dinner & games, and bed... early morning departure to drive through the morning fog and mist back to Barcelona, a brief stop to catch a picture of the rising light over the Pyrenees, then flights "home" to Sweden. 

A few final thoughts on Spain... we've never been before but would love to come back and explore more. The schedule might take some getting used to (feeding me dinner at 10 PM is a recipe for trouble, but snacks are good!). There are castles absolutely everywhere- the top of each little (or not so little) hill had a castle on top of it. Today, they seem to be replace by less picturesque cell phone towers. But if what you needed between 900 and 1990 was a good communication system, the modern technology seemed to be the castle as a center of power, communication, and so much more.