THE ROUTE OF THE SENSES
FEELING THE SENSATION OF EMPTINESS WHEN “LEVITATING” FROM A VIEWPOINT, SAVOURING THE BEST TASTES AND AROMAS OF ÁLAVA, OR GOING BACK IN TIME OVER A MILLENNIUM ARE A FEW OF THE PROPOSALS MADE IN OUR SECOND ITINERARY. IT WILL LEAD YOU TO EXPERIENCE IN PERSON THE FACT THAT DISCOVERING ÁLAVA IS A GIFT TO OUR SENSES.
The District of Ayala, the beginning of our Itinerary, never disappoints travellers because of its variety of scenarios. There, at the footsteps of the Sierra Salvada, is where the Embalse de Maroño (Maroño Reservoir) (1) . Migratory bird refuge, is an extremely charming habitat that awakens your senses. Take your time. Sit down and gaze at the landscape.
Afterward, in the afternoon, drift into one of the wonderful wineries along the Ruta del Txakoli (2) that pepper the Valley. Every corner of these wineries holds the secrets of this traditional wine. No matter which one you choose, you are bound to have a cultural and gastronomic experience that is almost mystical. To recover from so many emotions, you can stay the night in one of the establishments along the route itself. Farmhouse hotels, rural houses, apartments and hotels that offer peace and rest for every kind of traveller.
The next day, the route offers intense emotions from the very start with the spectacular waterfall of Salto del Nervión (3) . From its impressive vantage point, at a depth of 220 meters, the sensations multiply. Our itinerary, nevertheless, invites you to enjoy other perspectives of the falls. Going in the opposite direction of the river stream, you can actually walk under the torrent of water on the trail the river forges through the Delika gorge. You can also view the falls in what seems like slow-motion from the lower part of the valley. You will need some time to “land” before making your way to the Zuia-Gorbeialdea District, which is the second stop on this particular miniroute that challenges your sense of vertigo. An important high point, the confluence of the Jaundia and Basabe streams with the Oiardo River, is where the mythical waterfall of Cascada de Goiuri/Gujuli (4) . From its vantage point before the liquid precipice you will enjoy the panoramic view and be fascinated by its magnitude. It is no coincidence that beautiful farms and native businesses are concentrated at this almost magical stop. Visiting the cheese factories and the Baias Craft Brewery seem to be a must.
Once you have regained your bearings, new challenges await you at the foot of Gorbeia Natural Park. At the centre of the Zuia Valley stand the Peñas de Oro, whose peak is home to the most prominent place of worship in the valley: The Santuario de Oro (Gold Sanctuary) (5) . ). From Murgia, the beautiful highway that passes through Bitoriano will lead you from green pastures to the foot of the sanctuary.
Quite near there, from the neighbouring town of Sarria, you can gain access to the Gorbeia Natural Park Interpretation and Welcome Centre on the Alavesa side. Known as Parketxe de Sarria (6) , the natural wealth of the park and its attractions i son display in the centre and it has a recreation area equipped with games, tables, and benches where you can disconnect.
Dusk falls and Vitoria-Gasteiz awaits you with open arms. Once you are settled in, give yourself a good plan and head over to the refurbished Plaza de Abastos (7) . Let yourself be carried from place to place by the aromas of the best fresh products from the fields and farms of Álava or taste them in the gastropubs in the old lavadero, or public washing areas. The visit takes on an even more quaint flavour on Thursday and Saturday mornings due to Álava Farmers’ Market.
The following day calls for meeting the needs of other senses. Therefore, what could be better than a “two for one” sale? At the heart of the medieval centre, you will stumble upon the indispensable Museo Bibat – Arkeologia, Fournier de Naipes Museum (8) . The majestic and renovated Palacio de Bendaña and its annex building house an unusual museum complex that brings together top exhibitions. The Ávala Archaeology Museum holds the oldest material heritage bearing witness of Ávala’s oldest history, dating as far back as its prehistoric origins to the Middle Ages. And the Fournier de Naipes Museum, which has one of the largest collections of its kind in the world.
After an atavistic experience twice over, give yourself a final reward before bidding us farewell. The bustling streets and corners neighbouring the museum are the ideal spot for tasting some memorable pintxos, or typical bar snacks and making new friends.
Once you are back home, you will feel that something, albeit indescribable, has changed forever. It’s the perfect excuse to come back and visit us in search of answers. See you soon..