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Europe by Tandem

From Castellon (Spain) to Northern Cape (Norway) by Tandem supporting the fight against cancer.

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This morning we went to record images for information on Channel 9 at Desert de les Palmes, a natural area extremely well-known by all citizens of Castellon and the citizens of the surroundings that are cycling fans, both mountain or road biking. Every road cyclist climbs the desert in its exits, and challenges himself to beat his own personal record, getting to know every kilometre, every rise, every curve. The mountain bikers, when they reach the top. They look for trails and paths that allow them to shoot down the maximum levels of adrenaline. Regardless of the means, dozens of mountain loving cyclists and hikers cross greet each other in the Desierto de las Palmas every day.

The truth is that it is also part of us, the tandem team, because outing after outing we climb the Desert or the Bartolo, either from Benicassim or from Castellón, or make a detour through some of its routes  such as the Font Talla (which Ivan particularly loves).

Let’s talk about this natural landscape.

The Parque Natural del Desierto de las Palmas is a natural park located in the province of Castellón and occupies part of five municipalities: Benicassim, Cabanes, La Pobla Tornesa, Borriol and Castelló de la Plana. It is in a mountainous coastline of the region of Alta Plana, parallel to the coast, with many peaks and crags.

This site of 3293 hectares, declared a natural site by the Valencian government in 1989, has suffered fires in 1985 and 1992 remaining, as is evident, in a forest with little wild areas. The name of the site is due to the presence of a Carmelite mendicant order, an order gives this name to the spaces devoted to spiritual retreats (the “The Holy Deserts”). The second part of the name comes from the abundance of palm (Chamaerops humilis), the only palm native to Europe.

This coastal range   is located in the south-eastern part of the province of Castellón having as a maximum height the peak Bartolo with 729 m, which is named of the brother Bartholomé, one of the most famous monks who lived here. The park forms part, together with the Les Santes Mountains, of an anticlinal fold of Paleozoic materials. In it, the red block rocks are abundant and is one of only two places in the province of Castellon where there are blackboards, thus giving it a unique nature within the Community of Valencia.

The typical path for all road cyclists starts at the Ermita de la Magdalena and ends in Benicassim.

The presence of the Carmelite order has given the park two important monuments such as the ancient Monastery (in ruins because of a series of earth movements that damaged it in 1783) (s. XVII-XVIII) and the new Monastery (S. XVIII ). Also scattered throughout the site are several shrines (ss. XVIII-XX). The monastery is supported by the Monte Bartolo (729 meters) and overlooking the valley down to Benicassim.

In addition, Les Agulles Santa Àgueda are graceful relieves of red block where you can enjoy a magnificent panorama, and the park hosts a number of important ruins, such as Montornés Castle and the Miravet and the Ermita de Les Santes.
Also remarkable (and outside the park, but very close to it) are the presence of Castell Vell and the shrine of the Magdalena, place that held the former site of Castellón de la Plana and where neighbours come on pilgrimage during the celebrations of the Magdalena in commemoration of the founding of the city.

There are 9 marked routes:

1. Pico del Bartolo

2. Castillo de Montornés

3. Les Santes

4. Las fuentes del Desert

5. Al Bartolo por las crestas

6. Benicàssim-Font Tallà

7. La Pobla Tornesa Information Centre

8. Information Centre-Bartolo- Santes Hermitage

9. Font de Perelló-Castillo de Miravet

The Desert de Les Palmes is a real pleasure for the senses: exceptional views, a Mediterranean forest with autochthonous flora and fauna, steep mountain formations…. a true lung for the city. Visitors have the opportunity in the Desert to enjoy a spot between hardwood trees, while observing the past and present of the monastic life of the Barefoot Carmelites.
More information in:
The Information Centre The Bartola. Tel: 964 760 727

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