The La Mancha Region of Spain
Above Photo: Windmill in La Mancha, Spain. Jebulon / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
By Stephanie M. Chambers
“In a village in La Mancha, whose name I do not care to recall, there lived, not very long ago, one of those gentlemen…” Many of us are familiar with this region of Spain through the opening sentence of Don Quixote and throughout his farcical journey “tilting at windmills” and imagined heroic conquests.
We cannot recall the village in northern La Mancha where this abandoned farmhouse sits alone on a desolate road, but unlike Cervantes, we do care about its name, the house’s simple beauty, its wood-burning oven, and colorful doors. Vivid memories of Spanish architecture still remain with us: low-pitched roofs; earth thatch, or clay tile roof coverings; thick walls of rocks, coquina, or brick coated with stucco; small windows, originally without glass; wooden or wrought iron bars across the windows: and interior shutters. “There is a kind of beauty which pleases the sight and captivates the affections.” Don Quixote