Chasing Windmills: A Road Trip Through La Mancha

April 9, 2018
campo de criptana molino windmill quijote quijote la mancha ciudad real
Something you probably don't know about me is that I'm 50% Manchego (yes, like the cheese) on my father's side and I visit the Spanish region of La Mancha at least once a year. During Holy Week (our Spring break) we chased Don Quixote across the Spanish plains of La Mancha. The two most well-known things about this region are Don Quixote and Manchego cheese. Four centuries after the publication of El Quixote, the adventures of the most famous knight-errant, his loyal squire Sancho Panza and his lady Dulcinea are still alive in the towns and villages of La Mancha. Just as famous are the historic white windmills which Don Quixote fought in one of his adventures thinking they were giants.

Today I want to show you some of the most representative places in La Mancha, its beautiful villages and traditional cuisine.
puerto lapice ciudad real venta quijote quixote la mancha
PUERTO LAPICE
Our first stop in our road trip through La Mancha was Puerto Lapice. In this village, named specifically in El Quijote, you can find the famous inn, Venta del Quijote, which Don Quixote mistook for a castle and the inn keeper pretended to make him a knight. Nowadays it's a popular restaurant and has a small museum with beautiful illustrations of El Quijote made by artists from all around the world. A hidden gem.
stylish comfortable travel outfit blazer scarf jeans red white blue
puerto lapice ciudad real venta quijote quixote la mancha
puerto lapice ciudad real venta quijote quixote la mancha
puerto lapice ciudad real venta quijote quixote la mancha
Many houses in La Mancha are painted white and indigo blue which is not a coincidence. This region gets temperatures over 40ºC (100º F) most summer days, white reflect light so it keeps houses cooler on scorching days. Indigo on the base is a Mediterranean influence. It protects the base from splashes or brushes. Also, back in the day many painted their doors or windows this shade of blue to banish the devil. Finally, indigo has been used to mark the houses where young women that were of courting age lived.
stylish comfortable travel outfit blazer scarf jeans red white blue
ALMAGRO
Considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, Almagro was a very important place in the 15th and 16th centuries. The highlight of Almagro is its Plaza Mayor with its green framed window buildings. On one side of the square is the Corral de Comedias, a 16th century open air theater, the only one in Spain of this period. Every summer in July there is a festival where you can watch plays from the 16th and 17th Spanish theater. If you walk around Almagro you'll also find grand houses like the Maestri palace, and the place of the Counts of Valparaiso which are architectural marvels.

The best place to stay in Almagro is El Parador, a former convent turned into a hotel. If you go during Easter you can watch religious processions and the parade of  Los Armaos which represent troops of the Roman Empire during Holy Week. parador hotel almagro ciudad real la mancha
parador hotel almagro ciudad real la mancha
parador hotel almagro ciudad real la mancha
almagro ciudad real la mancha
stylish comfortable travel outfit colorful scarf grey spring coat jean crossbody bag
almagro ciudad real la mancha
almagro ciudad real la mancha
almagro ciudad real la mancha armaos semana santa
almagro ciudad real la mancha corral de comedias
CAMPO DE CRIPTANA
This town is crowned by wonderfully preserved 16th century windmills visible from kilometers away. The purpose of windmills is to grind grain into flour by using the power of wind. For a few euros you can visit some of them and a guide will explain how they work. It's actually really interesting. In a nutshell, the leaning pole outside of the windmill is used to turn the roof in the direction of the wind so the blades start moving and the machinery starts working. Needless to say this place is really windy so don't bother bringing a hat!
campo de criptana molino windmill quijote quijote la mancha ciudad real
campo de criptana molino windmill quijote quijote la mancha ciudad real
campo de criptana molino windmill quijote quijote la mancha ciudad real
campo de criptana molino windmill quijote quijote la mancha ciudad real
campo de criptana molino windmill quijote quijote la mancha ciudad real
TYPICAL FOOD
I've already mentioned cheese as the most famous food in La Mancha, but there are plenty of traditional dishes worth naming. On our last day we went to a typical food restaurant aptly called La Mancha in Alcazar de San Juan.

First, we had this appetizer which looks like a nest and then for starters we had a few of the most typical dishes of the region. typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain
Migas (bread crumbs), is probably the best known and most beloved typical dish of La Mancha. Sometimes called migas de pastor (shepherd's bread crumbs), it was originally a pastoral dish. It was created to make the best of the bread's leftovers. Basically, you soak the crumbs in water and fry them in a skillet with garlic and small slices of pork called torreznos. They are best paired with grapes, because the contrast of sweet and savory is so good!typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain migas uvas bread crumbs
Gachas which is similar to porridge. Its main ingredients are flour, water, olive oil, garlic, paprika and salt. Long time ago it was considered a rural dish because, like migas, it was cooked by shepherds and it's ingredients and methods are rather "unrefined".
typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain gachas
Asadillo is made with roasted red peppers, cut into pieces and with a bit of plain tomato sauce to bind the peppers, then sprinkled with mashed garlic and cumin seeds. It's basically a hearty pepper and tomato salad.
typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain asadillo
Tiznao means "dirty with ashes and slightly burnt" and it's also the name of this singular dish. It consist of salt cod (not desalted before used) with veggies such as potato, red pepper, garlic and onions which are grilled until the are slightly charred over a charcoal fire.
tiznao typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain
As the main dish with had a variety of fish and meat.
typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain
And finished with some decadent desserts such as carrot cake and cheesecake.
typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain carrot cake pastel zanahoria
typical food comida tipica restaurante la mancha alcazar de san juan ciudad real spain tarta de queso
WATCHING A PLAY AT CORRAL DE COMEDIAS IN ALMAGRO
On our last night in La Mancha we want back to the picturesque village of Almagro to watch a play at Corral de Comedias.
almagro ciudad real la mancha corral de comedias venganza don mendo
If you want to read more about La Mancha or want to try one of their traditional recipes, you should check out these posts:
In Search of Don Quixote
Somewhere in La Mancha: Almagro
How to make Spanish pastries: perrunas
xo Cristina

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60 comments

  1. This is such a great location to visit. There are a lot of attractions to see and the food of course looks delicious! Beautiful photos Cristina. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and here's to a great start of the week!

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

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  2. Fantastic photos--from the architecture to the food!
    I started reading "Don Quixote," mostly out of guilt, and was surprised by how funny and lively it is. A great read!

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  3. It looks like a lot of fun there. Some of the food looks so good too.
    http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

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  4. What a cute village! I want to visit!! Those windmills are incredible

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  5. CathyLynchLawdanskiApril 9, 2018 at 9:30 PM

    What a beautiful place - the architecture, the blue & white, the windmills! And the food looks fabulous. Thanks for introducing me to a place that I didn't know about!

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  6. Beautiful - what stunning photos!
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/04/bedtime-at-biltmore.html

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  7. Coombe Mill (Fiona)April 10, 2018 at 2:56 AM

    Now I want to go chasing windmills there too! #MondayEscapes

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  8. I love the scarf! and what a wonderful place to visit.

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  9. This looks like an amazing trip!! The windmills and the pops of white and blue within the city were so pretty. The food looks really good too. Can't wait to check out your pastry recipes too!!

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  10. Kelleyn RothaermelApril 10, 2018 at 9:27 AM

    Gorgeous! La Mancha was never on my list of places to visit, but now I want to see more. I really want to go to Seville.

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  11. No wonder you talk so passionately about La Mancha, it looks gorgeous!! x

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  12. It looks beautiful! I love the colors and architecture! And Manchego is my favorite cheese- as well as my 5 year old's!

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  13. Patricia @ Grab a PlateApril 11, 2018 at 4:41 AM

    Wonderful! I enjoyed getting to know La Mancha a bit through your gorgeous photos and info! How wonderful you can visit annually!

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  14. Oh my gosh, these places are so lovely. I definitely need to see more of Spain. The food looks so good. It is the first time I here about some of the dishes you mentioned. Now I am intrigued!

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  15. Oh this was so interesting. I love all the pics and the gorgeous scenery! Thanks for the post!

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  16. Bethany @ CuteCapsuleLifeApril 11, 2018 at 1:08 PM

    You saw some amazing sites on that trip - so beautiful!

    Bethany | www.CuteCapsuleLife.com | Simply Share Friday Linkup

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  17. Looks like a beautiful place! I love all the pops of blue too!

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  18. How beautiful. I would love to go to Spain one day. The food looks amazing! I'm hungry right now so it's torture! http://www.thedarlingdahlia.com

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  19. As soon as I read the title, I started hearing the song in my head from the musical. It looks like it was an amazing trip.

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  20. This looks like a wonderful place to visit! The food looks really good too. I'm going to have to tell my husband about this place. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

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  21. What a gorgeous town and looks like yummy food!

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  22. Spain is on my bucket list! I was suppose to have a layover there but missed the flight - long story! Now I have a new City I can add to my bucket list! What a spectacular trip!

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  23. Ooh, this looks amazing!! What a rich heritage you have. I love all the architecture, the festive colors, and the food...wowzers, the food!!!

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  24. Omgosh something new!! I'm absolutely in love with these windmills! Pinned for later!! #FarawayFiles

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  25. Oh my gosh, I love windmills so much! Everything looks so pretty and all the food looks delicious.

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  26. Wow! This looks like an amazing trip full of fun and lots of delicious food. I want to try all those dishes ASAP.

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  27. This looks so good!
    Major travel goals! I love how simple yet beautiful this place is.

    Love,
    Nikki
    http://www.runwaytoroad.com

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  28. This looks so gorgeous. And the food? Yes!!

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  29. Wow, the food looks amazing! And the Architecture looks incredible, too.

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  30. I love that you know the stories behind everything, that's so cool! What a beautiful place

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  31. Oh wow those colors are beautiful. I wasn't sure why in some parts of Europe these colors were the norm. It's interesting that there is a science behind it! I love your little scarf and your trip outfit!

    http://www.mylittlenest.org

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  32. Everything looks beautiful! I'd especially want to visit Campo di Criptana. I want to see those windmills in person!

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  33. Shannon MolenburgApril 13, 2018 at 1:37 PM

    Such beautiful pictures!!! Have a great weekend! - Shannon @slayitagainshan.com

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  34. This place looks amazing! Beautiful architecture and the food! Ok, I need to go.

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  35. I was smitten once I saw the food - damn I'm hungry now lol! #FarawayFiles

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  36. We drove through this area a few years ago, and loved it! The truth is we love everything about Spain, and seeing your photos makes me want to book the next flight... Thank you for sharing on #farawayfiles

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  37. I adore those white windmills and the food looks amazing. Thank you for sharing the beautiful details of where your family is from, La Mancha and surrounds looks stunning. Would love to explore more Spain! #FarawayFiles

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  38. So glad that you learnt something new! The world is full of hidden gems like this one :)

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  39. Oh, it was so much fun, Fiona! :)

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  40. Thanks, Angela! Let me know if you make the recipe :)

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  41. You must go to Seville! In my opinion, it's the most beautiful city in Spain. If you search "Seville" on the blog you will found a couple city guides that I'm sure you'd like

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  42. It's a wonderful place and not very well-known outside of Spain, so I thought it deserved a post to show it to the world :)

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  43. It's the best, isn't it? I'm obsessed with cheese boards too, I love arranging them and eating them afterwards :)

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  44. Thanks a lot, Patricia! I'm so happy that you enjoyed this

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  45. Thanks for stopping by, Ruth! The cuisine from La Mancha is not well-known outside of Spain that's why I thought it deserved a post :)

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  46. I always love revisiting your site and looking where you are now! You always find the best restaurant where ever you go!

    xxxx
    www.thenewgirl.me

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  47. So interesting about the history of Indigo - I had no idea but was always wondering about the color combination. La Mancha sounds like a special place. I spent 8 months in Spain and love the country - wish I had made it that way. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

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  48. You are welcome, Maya. So glad you liked it :)

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  49. Amazing photos, this looks like such an amazing trip, I really love your style too :)

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

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  50. This place looks unreal, so beautiful! I never knew why those houses are those colors, who would of thought its to make the inside cooler! All the food looks delicious!!

    xo
    Mel

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  51. Oh wowsers what a stunningly beautiful place! and the food looks and sounds incredible too. Must have been so nice to return. Thanks for sharing;) #MondayEscapes

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  52. This is such a gorgeous place; so much history and culture. And they have preserved their structures pretty well. Their comfort food looks so delish too.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  53. Sorry about that ;) Same happens to me when I'm hungry and I see food posts...

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  54. Thanks so much, Sarah! I hope you get to come some day

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  55. Thanks so much, Amy!! So glad you like it :)

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  56. Loving your style! You are so chic. Would you like to follow for follow on Bloglovin? :)

    Xx

    http://beatricebalaj.com/

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