Patones de Arriba, Spain
Patones de Arriba
Patones de Arriba, Spain
After leaving Patones I made my way up to Patones de Arriba. The narrow road has a rise of about 400 feet in little more than a kilometer. On my way up, I did not encounter any downhill traffic.
When I first arrived, I found myself in a dirt parking area. I stopped and parked there because I saw a do not enter sign. It stated that only residents or authorized vehicles were allowed to go farther. So, I got out and began my walk into Patones de Arriba. After maybe a couple of hundred meters, I noticed another, smaller, cobble-stoned parking area. I turned around, retrieved my car, and moved to this new-found parking area. It was directly next to the el Chiscon Restaurant, so I could not have gotten much closer.
As is the norm, I was there very early, probably about 09:00. The streets were deserted. This is a very small village. As best I can tell, the population is 378; however, that figure most certainly included the village of Patones on the valley floor below. If I had to guess, I would put the village population at around 75.
I walked uphill along Calle Azas to the east. The street as well as all of the houses and buildings are constructed with stones from the local area. That really gives the village a very unique appearance. Within about 200 meters I was on the outskirts of the village. Looking to the north and east, across the small arroyo, I could see the ruins of several houses and buildings. That early in the morning the sun was just starting to come over the nearby hill. The lighting was absolutely perfect for the many photos I took.
I hiked over to the ruins. About mid-way through the ruins there is a sign that talks about the landscape of the Patones region. It also marks the trail-head of several trails that head north, some to the Atazar Reservoir. I continued a little higher, maybe 100 meters or so along the trail. There I turned around and sat down on the walls of one of the ruins. The view, once again because of the light, of the small village and valley floor much farther away was awesome!
As I understand it, when Napoleon invaded Spain, he captured the small town of Patones. However, he did not capture Patones de Arriba because he did not even know it was there. It is absolutely not visible from Patones on the valley floor.
As I walked through the village on my way to the ruins, I did not see any other people except for one couple out hiking the ruins as well. Other than that, the streets were deserted. As I look back at my photographs, I am amazed that there are no people in any of my shots. That is very unusual for my travel photography. I always like to try to capture the life of the place I am visiting by capturing the people in their normal routines.
Coming down from the ruins, I made my way back to the main square, Plaza del Llano. There is a beautiful old church there which dates from 1653. The church is St. Joseph. It is no longer a functioning church. It is now an education center, Centro de Iniciativas Turisticas, Educativas, Culturales y de Ocio. It cost 1.50 Euros to go through the center. In the center, one can get a map of the town that delineates some of the things to see in the village. I thought it was certainly worth the cost.
While I was waiting for the center to open, the la Barra del Rincon (Corner Bar) opened. It was directly across from the center. I sat outside and enjoyed a cafe americano and a tarta de chocolate! The tarta was so rich that I could not eat the entire thing. The cost was only about 5 Euros, and believe me, it was worth every centimo!!
Once I obtained my village map, I walked around. The first stop was the wash house and new fountain. These are both on the southwest edge of the village. It was interesting to imagine the scene in years gone by of the activity that would have been at the wash house as part of the daily life of the village. Next, I found the “bread oven”. It is still part of an occupied home, but is apparently typical for what would have been found in virtually every home in the past. I imagine the bread that would come from such an oven would taste great.
I did find a couple of small shops; however, I did not buy anything. The village seems to be dominated more by restaurants than shops. I did not eat there. I had lunch later in the day at the village of el Atazar.