On Friday, my husband and I went on a day trip to Xativa, a town less than one hour train ride North from Valencia. We visited the old castle and enjoyed some quality time together in the middle of nature as it was Cipri's birthday. This was my little pre-gift for him. The main one is a trip to Seville next week.
We spotted the castle from afar quite a few times in the past, but we never found our way here before. Xativa is the birthplace of two popes, Callixtus III and Alexander VI (the famous Papa Borgia) and it is the first European paper manufacture center, dating back to the 12th century when the technology was brought to Xativa by the Arabs.
From street level, the town might not be much to see, but we loved the views from the hilltop. Greenish mountains surround the whole area and the fluffy clouds were a great surprise. We don't get to see clouds very often in Valencia, you know?
Once we left the last house behind, it was so blissfully quiet. We barely met a couple of people on the way up. All we could hear were the sounds of nature. And than, all of a sudden, our relaxed brains were bothered by a strange noise. God it was loud! And then we saw it. A steel bug way in the distance... a train. I guess we needed to quiet our brains first in order to hear it.
Sharing the same mountain with the castle are a couple of churches and some caves.
During the Roman times the Castle of Xativa was strategically located on Via Augusta. Later the Moorish came, then the Christians... The castle defied the passing of time and conquerors for many, many centuries, up till one day, at the beginning of the 18th century when it was finally destroyed. Sad, isn't it?
Loved, loved, loved this little fountain from the Upper Castle with views of the Lower Castle...
The night before the trip, we saw some pictures of Xativa Castle and we both agreed it looked like the Great Wall. Only that wasn't how we perceived it once we arrived there anymore.
One of the best ideas our contemporaries had was to open a restaurant inside the castle. I don't know how popular Xativa Castle is with the tourists, but it seemed like there were more people having lunch here than exploring the ruins.
I couldn't help but notice some of the vegetation and a big sign about the endemic plants that grow here and some science projects.
I always loved green walls and these plants beyond intrigued me. Is this nature's way of telling us to be more eco-friendly? Not only were these flowers lovely, but they were growing on the ruins and seemed to enjoy it too. Actually, they only grew on ruins.
We took our time and explored every inch of the ruined castle. It made us dream, wonder, think, imagine... And at the end of the day, we reached a conclusion. We like castles, no matter how glamorous or in bad shape they might be. And it is always a privilege to walk in the footsteps of so many generations past.