28.05.2016 - 28.05.2016
Seeing pictures of Xativa Castle was one of the reasons I wanted to visit this region. The castle dates from the time of the Romans and has been occupied by invaders ever since. The Moors came, and then the French, the Bourbons, the Hapsburgs and the Aragons. It's been built upon by each invader and it is a wonderful visual history. So much of it is intact and there is so much to explore.
We heard there was a tourist train that takes people to the top, and we saw it up there, but ended up just driving to the base of the castle and parking. The drive up is beautiful and you can see parts of the trail that meanders down from the castle. It looked amazing, but with two little ones, we had to prioritize.
The sun was getting hotter by the minute and the clerk recommended we see the Castle Mayor first and then check out the lower castle before the sun really started to bake. It was an excellent suggestion, and the Castle Mayor has some nice shady picnic areas on the way up. As you climb, the views of Xativa below get better and better. Check out the prison - it's about 15 degrees cooler in there!
After we checked out the Borgias residence, I left the boys to cool off at the restaurant and climes up the smaller castle. The walk up is tough because it's so freaking hot, but totally worth it. The Castillo Menor is actually the older of the two fortifications, built in pre-Roman times by the region’s original Iberian inhabitants. This is a great day trip from Valencia. The city itself is full of shady streets and happening restaurants. The train station is also very nice.
We stocked up at the Masymas, where I bought a lot of cheese - 3 dollars for Camembert, I was too weak to resist. We drove back home through the orange and lemon groves to feed the feral cats and watch the sun go down. We hiked through the 70 hectares surrounding the house and sampled marcona almonds, dates, and some other fruit they eat in Lebanon that I don't know the name of. It was a good day.