|Statue of Don Quijote|
When Cervantes chose La Mancha as the setting of one of the most significant novels in the history of literature, it wasn´t by chance. He could have chosen any other part of Spain or another city of greater renown in the period: beautiful Granada, Imperial Toledo, Seville or Madrid… He could have even chosen, if he had had a certain touristic vision, any coastal area to make the novel even more appealing.
La Mancha - Cervantes' Paradise
But that wasn’t the case, he chose La Mancha. At present, this natural region occupies parts of the provinces of Cuidad Real, Toledo, Cuenca and Albacete. Just as it was in the age in which Cervantes wrote his novel, to this day it continues to be an undiscovered paradise.
Cervantes personally knew this area and must have marvelled at its brilliance, its immense plains, and its untamed nature. Surely in one of the inns and boarding houses in which he stayed he could have tasted some tasty "gachas", some filling "migas" or a hearty "pisto manchego"… All accompanied by the wine of La Mancha and Valdepeñas which undoubtedly helped him dream up some of the adventures of the ingenious nobleman Don Quijote.
And there is much to say about the history of this region. All of the great events to affect Spain have had their own particular significance in La Mancha: early Iberian people, Romans, Arabs, the "reconquista" of the Peninsula, the journeys to newly-discovered America, the Golden Age, the war of independence against Napoleon’s troops, etc. The region experienced all of these significant events in its unique way.
But maybe it is the people who truly make La Mancha special: simple, imaginative, industrious, cheerful, hospitable people who make the day to day life of this region a truly unforgettable experience.
The Continuing Lure of La Mancha
Since Cervantes wrote his novel until nowadays, things have changed considerably. La Mancha has been modernized and now is a prosperous region, with outstanding communication links and agriculture can produce an enormous quantity of products (oils, wine, cheeses…), innovating and creating flourishing food and agricultural industries.
Despite this important progress, the essence of La Mancha remains intact. It is an immense region located in the heart of Spain that has a very low population density. This has helped to maintain a near virgin landscape. Many of the National Parks and other nature reserves have been converted into the best conserved regions in all of Spain. Many of the cities are part of the World Heritage and so are many of the towns, furthermore the monuments are considered National Treasures. The culture and gastronomy are constantly evolving and the locals as always are charming.
¡Viva Ruta Ñ!
|Plaza Mayor de Almagro|
Rural Spanish Course
All of this was born from Ruta Ñ (www.ruta-n.com). A route designed so that Spanish students could visit a series of towns in La Mancha whilst learning our language. At the same time the students could learn about the history and traditions of this fascinating region. They will also equally enjoy learning more about the four centuries of Quijote and Sancho and their gastronomy and the hospitality of the people. They will enjoy days filled with nature, far away from the stress and the rush of city life.
In conclusion, it’s all about completely immersing yourself in the language and the Spanish culture. Furthermore, La Mancha is one of the areas where the locals speak the purest Castillian.
An innovative curriculum created by an expert team of teachers belonging to the accredited centre by the Instituto Cervantes (AIL Madrid) who guarantee the highest quality of courses.
It is without a doubt, one of the most innovative ways to study Spanish and to discover a fascinating landscape. ¡Viva Ruta Ñ!