There are places in Spain with amazing legends attached to them where you can walk paths just brimming with fascinating stories.
This is a legend that tells the sad story of two lovers: Gara, Princess of Agulo on the island of La Gomera, and Jonay the son of Mencey de Adeje, one of the Guanche kings of Tenerife. Theirs was an impossible love, as a fortune teller predicted that if they were together, the fires from the volcano of El Teide would be truly terrifying. The lovers felt so closely united that Jonay plunged into the Atlantic and swam to meet with Gara in the leafy forests of the neighbouring island. When the local villagers found them locked in a passionate embrace, they were terrified, and threw a cedarwood lance that killed them both, joining them together forever. Today, they give their names to the highest peak on La Gomera and the island’s national park: Garajonay.
The legend of Mari, the Basque goddess: Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, Basque Country
In Basque mythology you’ll hear talk of Mari or Maddi, the personification of mother earth, the goddess who lives in the mountains and highlands of the Basque Country. It’s said that the weather changes depending on where Mari is to be found, she can bring either rain and rich harvests, or drought. You can see her outline in the shape of the mountains; her nose would be Mount Alluitz, her mouth the Infernuko Zubia ridge,and her feet Mount Anboto. Hiking in the Aizkorri-Aratz Natural park that’s a part of the Basque heritage will be an experience full of magical tales linked to its ancient caves and dolmens.
Known as the King of the Bardenas, Sancho de Rota o Sanchicorrota was the Robin Hood of the region. A fugitive from justice, he took refuge in his hideout, lost in this desert landscape with its plateaus and ravines carved by wind and water, on a mountain near Piskerra that today bears his name. It’s said that he stole from the rich to give to the poor, but there are also stories that contradict this apparent generosity. After years of giving the soldiers of King Juan II of Aragon the slip, legend has it that he found himself trapped, and took his own life before they could catch him. This is a landscape that looks like something from a film, and it’s easy to imagine it as the setting for a western.