Spain is beautiful … this goes without saying. One of the things that added to the allure during our trip this year through September, October and November was the autumn colours. They were stunning! We spent a lot of time in Aragón and around Madrid and in so many places we visited I would stop and exclaim at the variety of the colours as the trees turned from green to shades of yellow, bronze, orange and russet.
I think of myself as a spring-soul rather than an autumn-animal so this excitement by what I generally think of as an ending, rather than the new beginning of spring, was a bit of a revelation. Did all that sunshine turn my head or am I changing as I reach my own autumn years?
We visited so many dazzling places but a few stand out for the autumn colours. Torla and the Ordesa National Park is an area we had previously visited many years ago in high summer. Our trip here in early October had a different vibe. The crowds were less, many of the campsites were closed, the nights were chilly and the Ordesa Valley had an autumnal feel with the leaves on the trees just beginning to turn. Of course, the days were warm and sunny and it was perfect hiking weather.
We spent a few days cycling along the Val del Zafán Via Verde near Valderrobres, a route on an old railway line that runs around 105 km from Alcañiz to Tortosa. While the pine trees and olive trees remain green, the leaves on the vines, beech, plane and sweet chestnut trees were turning golden. The landscape, dotted with stone houses and barns, was a rainbow of colours and this made for glorious cycle rides.
Albarracin is famed for being Spain’s prettiest town and it is certainly gorgeous. In the autumn it is spectacular as the colours of the red sandstone boulders among the dark green pine trees are complemented by the brilliant yellow of the deciduous trees. A walk along the river around the town is worth exploring at any time of year but in autumn the turning trees change it in to a passage along a radiant corridor.
We spent a few days in the lovely town of Aranjuez and every day we walked in the gardens of the Royal Palace. These gardens are full of trees that give welcome shade in the summer but it was the arcades of plane trees, heavy with russet coloured leaves, that were the star during our October visit. Kicking dry leaves as you walk brings out the inner child in everyone.
Burgos is a city that is made for walking and the city centre has tree-lined pedestrian routes. Most popular is the Paseo del Espolón where, once again, plane trees provide the shade. Following the river, this paseo is made for strolling and in autumn sunshine the colours of the leaves is an added bonus. We were here on a sunny Sunday and Burgos residents of all ages were out sharing a family walk.
Spring will continue to be my favourite season but I think I am learning to enjoy the back-end of the year too.