One summer Sunday, I got up early in the morning to go for a walk in my town. Before I got too far, I had a few things to decide, so I went to a café just a minute’s walk from my home, which also happened to be right next to my starting point. This was all I had settled: I’d start my outing from La Fuente de los Patos, the city center and best known place in Requena.
A dilemma remained. My first thought was to go for a walk around the downtown, where there are stores, bars, banks and all kind of businesses where the majority of daily activity takes place. On the other hand, the old town of Requena is located near the city center and if I were you, I would want to see this amazing venue. After a latte and toast with olive oil, I was ready to take on the world, so I decided I could handle a combined walk between the two places.
The Avenida Arrabal is awesome. I don’t want to sound cocky, but not every town the size of Requena has an avenue longer than one kilometer. Moreover, if you decide to walk the whole avenue, you will discover La Fuente de Colores and El Monumento a la Vendimia (yes, in Requena there is a monument in honor of the grape harvest), you will pass the square with one of the high schools, and you will eventually arrive at the fairgrounds, where festivals like Ferevin (a wine festival) and The Sausage Festival are held. La Avenida Arrabal has all this and much more!
It was a fairly sunny and bright day–too hot, perhaps–but there are trees full of leaves that make the avenue a nice place for a walk . . . or to be sitting on a bench . . . or to have a breakfast or a snack, as several people chose to do that day. I went from la Fuente de los Patos to La Fuente de Colores and came back to my starting point.
Next, I walked up La Cuesta del Castillo, the main access to the old town, which is called La Villa. When you see the view of this castle from ground level for the first time, you imagine you are about to see a very fascinating place. This castle is really a tower, La Torre del Homenaje, that was erected in the 15th century. For several centuries it also served as a prison.
During my stroll, I saw several tourists, as La Villa is one of the main tourist attractions of Requena. Even as a local, it’s my favorite place in town and several bands I’ve played with (past and present) have filmed video clips here. La Villa deserves a more thorough walk than I took and perhaps a whole post in order to talk about the innumerable things that you can visit on its streets. It is the more ancient neighborhood in Requena and it has a Hispanic-Muslim origin. Many of the houses in La Villa have or had caves under their floors, and most of the ground is hollow for this reason.
Apart from the castle, I walked through the square, Plaza de la Villa, also known as Plaza del Albornoz. The three churches are there: El Salvador, Santa María and San Nicolás. I wandered around several narrow streets (in Spanish we have a word, callejear, that fits perfectly when you want to say that you are wandering alleyways). You can see the influence of the Muslim communities who lived in this area a few centuries ago. So I meandered down El Arco del Ovejero, la Calle Somera (I think is the oldest street in Requena), and other streets of houses–sometimes with open doors and full pots of plants. Gypsies and payos (the name that gypsies use to refer to people who aren’t gypsies) cohabit this southern area of the old town.
To finish my stroll, I went down and left La Villa by La Cuesta de las Carnicerías. Despite its name, La Cuesta is not a slope, but several stairs that take you almost to Plaza de España, which is right next to my house. I’m lucky to live so close to so many historical treasures, so that when I have spare time I can let myself get lost in the back alleys and winding streets of my hometown.