Girls were bored, we’ve been driving for hours and we already made two stops and exhausted all of the possible car activities for kids. As the last resort I pulled out a book and completely by chance started reading a story about Don Quixote. Suddenly, I realised that we were driving through the La Mancha region, where the story takes place. And as if we conjured them, there were the infamous windmills. Without planning, we stopped at Consuegra with kids and here’s why you should too.
Consuegra with kids
Consuegra is a small town in the Spanish region of La Mancha. It is around 130 km South of Madrid and makes a great stop if you are driving from Madrid to Granada, as we happened to be doing.
The town is located at the foot of the Cerro Calderico ridge and boasts an impressive castle and 12 windmills, which are typical of La Mancha. Five windmills have complete mechanism and one’s name is “Sancho” from the novel Don Quixote. “Bolero” windmill is open to the public, so you can see the inside of the windmill.
Use the story to set the mood
When we travel, we always take a book or two for the kids. That time around we had a collection of stories for the girls. But we were nearing the end of our trip and we barely read two. We were too busy during the day and I was too exhausted to read when bedtime came.
That particular day we’ve been driving for hours. We already made two stops, both of which involved ice cream. The girls watched cartoons on the tablet, they stared out the window at olive grooves that stretched for kilometers, we played games, we did Math, we talked, we sang, we were running out of options.
Then I pulled out the book and stumbled upon the kids’ version of the story Don Quixote.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra wrote the original. It is considered one of the most influential work of Spanish literature and one of the greatest works of fiction ever published.
I read it in the high school much to my chagrin. Who cares about an elderly knight (Don Quixote) who sets out on an adventure on his old horse Rosinante accompanied with his squire Sancho Panza, at the age of 15. But the gist of the story described in the book I was reading to the girls, was interesting. They especially loved the paragraph about don Quixote fighting windmills because he believes they are the bad guys.
Half way through it struck me – hey, we are driving through the same region he was exploring.
I rested my book in my lap and enthusiastically explained this revelation to my kids. For a few seconds we all stared through the window and I swear we could almost see them.
I quickly pulled out the phone and Googled La Mancha region and Don Quixote.
Follow in the footsteps of Don Quixote
Like GOT fans travel to the places the show was shot in, the Don Quixote enthusiasts can follow in the footsteps of the places mentioned in this great novel.
Just by driving you see replicas of windmills along the highway, there are statues and signs of Don Quixote and Sancho Pansa. But if you deviate from the highway there’s even more.
Check this website to get more details about the Don Quixote Route.
The impressive windmills in Consuegra
We only visited Consuegra but it was worth a bit of the detour. The windmills looked impressive and the top of the hill where they are located offers lovely views of the valley with fields and villages.
The weather on the day of our visit was moody too, maybe that’s why I remember it so vividly and why I finally get Don Quixote. Maybe now I should read it again, not just the kids version.
Sometimes it just works when fiction meets reality and this little coincidence gave me an idea. Maybe in the future I should plan and find more stories about the places we visit. It would make both the stories and the places more interesting.