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Charco Azul- A day out in Chulilla
11 June 2019 @ 11:07

 

Chulilla is hidden at the foot of its Arab castle in a spot difficult to imagine: a lake surrounded by lofty limestone walls where the Turia River becomes a mirror. The raging river that once swallowed up loggers has now been tamed.

Chulilla is a picturesque village made up of white houses huddled on the slopes of Cerro del Castillo, next to the natural moat formed by the Turia River which flows through the canyon formed by 160 meter high limestone walls. This canyon is currently one of Spain's rock climbing sanctuaries, with more than 500 routes. Here, at the foot of the rock walls, just a 30-minute walk from the village, we come across Charco Azul (Blue Pool), a haven of calm waters that mirrors the beauty of this vertical, solid rock landscape.

 

 

Charco Azul is an ideal place to have a refreshing swim in Summer and remember bygone days when the river flowed freely and unrestrained and logs cut in the mountains were floated downriver to the city of Valencia. Upon reaching this narrow canyon, where the lofty walls nearly touch each other, the logs became jammed and many loggers lost their lives trying to free them, and it is for this reason a chapel was built nearby.

The Charco Azul route is one of the nine self-guided routes that cross Chulilla's landscape. It starts and ends at Baronia square, the village's main square, and is well marked and very easy to follow and is even great for children.

Another route worth taking is the Pantaneros route, which follows the journey taken by the labourers who in the 1950s worked on the construction of the Loriguilla reservoir to travel from the village of Chulilla. It is a 5-kilometer walk (one-way) along the edge of the Turia River's canyon walls and has the added thrill of crossing the canyon on hanging bridges. To regain your strength after the long walk, there is nothing better than an 'olla churra', a stew based on white beans, cardoons, potatoes, pork, and cold meats, typical of this Valencian region of Los Serranos (also known as La Serranía or Alto Turia).


Olla churra and other stews, such as olla de berzas (cabbage stew) or rice with wild boar, are served at the restaurant hostal El Pozo in Chulilla. Another interesting option, of more modern cuisine, is the Restaurant Las Bodegas, which also has a bar that serves tapas and lunches accompanied by wines under the Valencia and Utiel-Requena designations of origin. So if you happen to pass through Valencia take a moment to visit Chulilla and its wonderful Charco Azul.

 



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