December 6, 2016
We set off on our journey from Valencia to Aranjuez at 7am on Sunday. The train route takes you west through massive fields of grapes dotted by the occasional and equally massive wine storage units jutting some 25 meters toward the clouds, stopping in a seemingly endless number of small towns along the way. Progress is slow and the it gets much slower as then we enter the National Park known as Torcas de Palancares, leaving the farms behind.
The ravines (barrancos) along the train route from Valencia to Aranjuez dig deeply into the rocky orange soil. Because it has been raining, itself a bit of a refreshing oddity, rivulets flow beneath the train as it slows to 20 kph as we inched across trestles, looking straight over the side at the rocky bottom far below. You don’t feel confident out there in the middle. They are going that slowly for good reason.
There are more people on the train – so vacant we practically got on a first name basis with the conductor- than live in the protected zone portion of the journey, judging by the total lack of dwellings and just the occasional dirt road. A large bird, a hawk or perhaps even an owl, swoops across the tracks, looking for an unwary rabbit. The boars are too big to lift so they are safe from his talons.