Spain’s hinterland has a lunar landscape and is full of ruins, so much so that you become accustomed to the sight of them. A solitary farmhouse bleakly assessing its blossoming vine trees or a courtyard complex the same shade as the desert with cacti growing on its roof. Just do me a favour and get out there and have a go at some road trips in central Spain, it’s incredibly unique out here.
But just outside of Sax is one such ruinous area the size of an entire village. That is enough to make it an intriguing place to visit let alone its short sharp history. A late19th Century construction, Santa Eulalia (SE) was born out of riches but it took barely a decade for the town to reach its ruin.
SE powerfully retains its picturesque charm from the glory days. Beyond its numerous crumbling walls and an eerie silence, the town screams of being a once affluent area. It was. But the majority of its value fell to a single owner, the countess of Santa Eulalia. Her husband had funded the entire construction but passed away shortly after its completion. Despite being rumoured to have played a part in his death the countess set up residence with the engineer that had been contracted to build SE. It certainly was a model village, complete with a number of houses, private theatre, flour factory, distillery and ample gardens. Instead of making a happy existence the engineer continued to siphon money from his ladies fortune while she herself spent large sums trying to prove her innocence. Once penniless, the engineer abandoned the relationship and the countess withered away into a depression which dragged the whole village with her. All but deserted, there are only four houses that remain occupied while the rest have crumbled into dilapidation, now all that stands is a perfect representation of the desolation experience by its mistress.
From Santa Eulalia we headed south west for the town of Pinoso. This expat favourite is one of the richest areas in Spain, has oodles of wineries and several quaint churches but for us it was just a kebab stop along our way. What intrigued us was a little beyond Pinoso on the road to Banos Fortuna, the part n our road trip were vineyards and scrubby mountains transformed into a lunar landscape, a bizarre colourful clay desert. I slowed down to the annoyance of my fellow drivers and eventually pulled into a side road, it was stunning.
If you feel like taking a bath then Los Banos in Fortuna and its thermal pools are directly in your pathway. If not you can choose to turn left towards the E-15 and the coast or right towards the A-30 and continue inland.