It is a proud land, simple, stubborn, brave and always sacrificed. A land that represses its inner misery concentrating all its breath on creating beautiful colours …
Travelling to Campo de Montiel, and it doesn’t matter from where, is always an upwards journey. Sometimes you don’t notice the climb because it is gentle: but from other points this enormous bump that exists in the southwest of La Mancha is easier to perceive, swelling where the land rises to more than 400 metres above the plain. According to science, this protuberance is the result of Mother Earth, when terrestrial forces folded the Andalusian and Albacete lands like an accordion, thus forming the Sierra de Alacaraz and the Subbaetic System. Campo de Montiel, obstinate and inflexible, heroically resisted these forces, which were only able to rise above the already present high plateau, leaving it like an improvised watchtower. A limestone crust running from Villahermosa to Villanueva de la Fuente and from Albaladejo to Munera was left crowning this swelling. It is a white crust, dry, arid and undulating; a stigmatised crust full of perforating potholes, or occasional rivers like Cañamares, that scratch and tear it. Scrubland, the colour of straw, can be found dotted with mystic Holm oaks, hermit Spanish junipers and “estantiguas” of poplars (optical effect produced when the weather is very cold and you can see objects that are very far away which are not visible on warm days). The earth becomes irritated around this crust and turns sensitive, red and clayey. A good number of springs ooze out to fill the pretty scenes with life and grace. This is the area of Almedina, Infantes and Montiel, it is Campo de Montiel of sandstone and grindstones, of ravines and witness hills.
Four hundred thousand years ago the human being fell in love with these lands so much that they worked and gave their lives for them. From Ortega Hill, the Cabeza del Mijo or the Castillón (the castle) of Infantes people enjoyed the first autumn evenings and the first summer nights. Nowadays, the Campo de Montiel locals are neither so different from their forefathers or the land that surrounds and envelops them. It is a proud land, simple, stubborn, brave and always sacrificed. A land that represses its inner misery concentrating all its breathe on creating beautiful colours of red, green and ultramarine; to then condense itself in picturesque corners, bewitching, intimate and always unknown.
Carlos Javier Rubio Martínez