THE ROUTE OF THE MEMORIES TAKES YOU DEEP INTO THE TERRITORY THAT TELLS OUR HISTORY, HIGHLIGHTING THE VALUE THAT THE EVERYDAY HAS ACQUIRED WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME. EXPLORING IT WILL BESTOW YOU WITH MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN THE SCENIC SETTINGS OF AYALA, AÑANA AND LAGUARDIA-RIOJA ALAVESA, WHERE CULTURE AND TRADITION EMBRACE EACH OTHER.
This journey of initiation to memories begins by searching for a purpose. You will find it in the Ayala District, a territory that knows how to preserve such fascinating a feature. The first landmark on the itinerary will lead you to the town of Quejana, home to the impressive Conjunto Monumental de Quejana (Monumental Complex of Quejana) (1) . Considered to be a National Monument of the Basque Country, you will recall episodes from times long ago spread throughout the fortified palace, the Church of Saint John the Baptise, the Dominican Convent and the Chapel and Tower of the Virgen del Cabello.
You will barely have time to process this historical immersion, before you move just over ten kilometres away where a few more memorable moments await in the monumental Casco Histórico, Santuario and Museos de Artziniega (Historical Core, Sanctuary and Museums of Artziniega) (2) . A living testimony to the fact that growing old gracefully means keeping your character. Founded in 1272 by Alfonso X, the village is packed with stately buildings, palaces and tower homes that have kept their medieval traits intact. You will enjoy all their splendour as you meander through the alleys of this fascinating Complex of Historical Monuments of the Basque Country. However you will also be enchanted by their beautiful natural surroundings nearby. Strolling about, you can pay a visit to its interesting Ethnography Museum and Santxotena Museum, or go to the Sanctuary of the Virgen of the Oak.
As dusk falls, the Ayala District offers a wide selection of restaurants and lodging options that are on a par with their surroundings.
The next morning, new sensations await in the Añana District. Come with an open mind to enjoy each nuance of the Valle Salado de Añana (3) , which is designated a Site of Cultural Interest and was awarded the 2015 Europa Nostra Award. Clearly, this heritage is priceless. Exploring the trails that have been created between channels and salt flats will immerse you in over 6,500 years of history and in the process of restoring their unique architecture. You will experience first-hand what it is like to work in the salt trade. You will also learn to produce and taste different varieties of high-quality salts. Do not forget to soak your hands and feet in the hyper-saline waters of Spa Salino, which impart health benefits.
Muy cerca tienes una amplia oferta hostelera cuyas delicias gastronómicas Very nearby is a wide selection of hotels whose gastronomical delicacies will help you process the whims of nature you have just enjoyed. Your next destination is very close to las Salinas, in the town of Tuesta. Your schedule permitting, you will take route GR1 on your way there. It is a spectacular 5-kilometer drive round-trip in which nature displays itself in all of its splendour. You can also get there by car and make your way to the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Church of Our Lady of the Assumption) (4) in Tuesta. Known as the Catedral de Valdegovía (Valdegovía Cathedral), this handsome church was named a Historical-Artistic Monument as early as 1932. As the afternoon settles in, you will find good lodging and better conversation in the many farmhouse hotels in Añana District.
The next morning, now that you have replenished your energy and refreshed your curiosity, head to Laguardia-Rioja Alavesa District. The village of Laguardia awaits with more things to take in. At the foot of its hill is your next destination. The Museo Temático del Vino (Wine Museum) (5) is located on the old recreational farm of fable writer Félix Maria de Samaniego, which is graced with a beautiful botanical garden. The museum complex offers many oenoturism activities and every Saturday of the year they offer wine and olive oil tasting classes for beginners. It is undoubtedly a promising visit where getting to know the history and rituals of wine in a very enjoyable and interactive fashion, full of audio-visual effects, virtual taste tests, etc.
After an experience of mouth-opening… out of admiration, the last landmark on our itinerary will lead you to the hill, which is where you can find the imposing Villa Medieval de Laguardia (medieval village of Laguardia) (6) , a magical and stirring place where you can dream up stories in its streets. In the upper part of the hill you will find the fortified churches of Saint John the Baptist and Santa Maria de los Reyes, with an exceptional portal whose polychrome features are in an excellent state of conservation. Very nearby you will bum pinto a sculpture full of suitcases and shoes. “Travellers,” by the sculptor Koko Rico, pays tribute to the visitors who visit this village. In your search for historical postcards of the village, do not forget to prowl around San Juan Plaza in front of the country house of the fable writer Samaniego; or next to historical civic buildings like the fourteenth-century Casa Primicia where tithes and news were collected. The clock has struck noon and it is time to bid farewell to Álava with the best taste in your mouth, that of the remarkable oenogastronomic selection this place has to offer.
Nights later, peacefully lying in bed, yet unable to sleep, vivid images of the experiences you had in Álava will appear in your mind. It’s your inner self asking you to go back. See you soon. .