It is said that all roads lead to Rome, and I would add “so does to Guadalupe” because this holly village is the second pilgrimage destination in Spain -Santiago de Compostela is in first place. Despite its touristic value, the only way to get to this UNESCO world heritage site on public transport is by bus. There is no train.
Once a railroad – to connect this zone with Madrid- was planned, constructed 90% and officially abandoned in the 60s, leaving decommissioned stations and bridges which make attractive some routes along the Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara such as the Vía Verde and The Camino Natural de las Villuercas.
The trail Via Verde goes along the old railroad from Villanueva de la Serena to Logrosán (56 km). From there on the path links with the Camino Natural de Las Villuercas throughout Puerto Llano to finish in Guadalupe (Puerto Llano-Guadalupe: 15 km).
Another interesting option is to start the route from Alía (Alía-Guadalupe: 15 km).
All these routes are suitable for hiking and biking.
The Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara is an ideal place for enthusiastic about sports such as cycling, running and hiking. However, its geosites can also delight those who are addicted to fitness. Noelia Pérez and Tirso Rodríguez are two of them. They run www.fitmenteycuerpo.com one of the more successful blogs of this year in Extremadura (Spain) whose engaging videos are receiving hundreds of visits. One of their latest posts shows how to get fit in the Geopark.
Noelia and Tirso are journalists and got the official certificate of bodybuilding and fitness trainers years ago. Apart from many proper training recommendations at the gym, on www.fitmenteycuerpo.com we can find practical tips of “street workout”, the way of doing exercise outside getting the same results than at the gym. They wanted to film in the Geopark and I suggested they should do it at the top of La Villuerca at 1.600 metres high.
Doing sport at 1.600 metres high.
Our athletic guests performed one “Tabata” session to explain the enormous impact of doing exercise at high elevation. According to some researches, the main advantage is the considerable increase of red blood cells, that means more oxygen throughout the body and therefore more strength.
The geosite “Risco de La Villuerca”
La Villuerca is one of the jewel crown of the Geopark Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. The top of this geosite (1.600 metres high) is the perfect viewpoint to watch all the territory of the Geopark, part of the Cáceres province and the Appalachian relief, akin to the Appalachians of North America.
To get there by car, I recommend driving from Navezuelas. It is a narrow winding road, though far better than the impracticable road from Guadalupe.
The Ark of Water is an hydraulic construction dated from the 14Th Century. It is still operated with its original pieces and works to lead water to the Monastery of Guadalupe (Extremadura, Spain).
Although this instalation is not opened to visitors yet, the council of Guadalupe has already prepared a draft report that includes a touristic route inside the Ark. However, it is worth getting there due to the amazing landscapes that surround it. In fact, this place is one of the “geosites” in the Villuercas-Ibores-Jara Geopark.
This is my report on The Ark of Water for Canal Extremadura TV, the TV station of the Spanish region of Extremadura (subtitled):
Drive along the EX 118 road until “Hermita del Humilladero” junction. Take the only rural road you come across. Drive carefully until getting to the next junction. Leave the car and keep on walking along a path for over ten minutes. The problem is that there are not any indication to locate the Ark of Water.