“Don Quixote,” a 17th-century novel written by Miguel de Cervantes, is a classic of Western literature which focuses on a knight who, after being misled by reading about chivalric romances, sets out to find adventure with his horse, Rocinante, and sensible squire, Sancho Panza, in several locations in Spain.
Today, one may visit these sites, including: an inn, landmark, park and town. In order to understand the locations’ artistic value, a review of the novel may be helpful.
Part 1 of the work begins in La Mancha, Spain, where Don Quixote decides to become a knight-errant. After choosing to love Dulcinea, a girl from El Toboso, he attempts heroic deeds for her. First arriving at an inn which he believes is a castle where an innkeeper can knight him, Don Quixote then mistakes a field of windmills for giants and tries to fight them, ultimately concluding a magician must have turned the giants into windmills.
After attacking monks, thinking they imprisoned a princess, and fighting with sheep, Don Quixote lives in the woods to showcase his love for Dulcinea. Eventually, his friends lure him home.
At the outset of Part 2, Don Quixote and Panza meet a duke and duchess who prank them often. In one of the duke’s acts, he makes Panza the governor of a town he informs the squire is the isle of Barataria. After leaving the area, Don Quixote and Panza go to Barcelona, where they battle a student from La Mancha disguised as the Knight of the White Moon and eventually return home. After arriving, Don Quixote becomes sick, renounces chivalry and dies.
One may visit many of the sites mentioned in Cervantes’s work. For example, travelers can stop by Venta del Quixote, a restaurant that served as the inn Don Quixote visited in Part 1. Dishes on the menu include: Gachas de matanza, caldereta de cordero and bizcochá, or porridge, lamb stew and sponge cake.
One may also explore the Cerro Calderico ridge. Here, travelers can look upon the windmills that may have inspired Cervantes to create the scene of Don Quixote fighting the structures.
Each of the windmills is named after a character in “Don Quixote.” Interestingly, the “Molino Sancho” one is used for the Consuegra Saffron Festival, which occurs annually at the end of October.
Travelers may also visit the Cueva de Montesinos, a cave in the Lagunas de Ruidera natural park that is said to have inspired Cervantes’s formation of a scene in Chapter XXIII of Part 2. In this episode, Don Quixote tells Panza he went into a cave to sleep and, after waking up, met Montesinos – an enchanted man. One can embark on a guided tour through the cave, as well as Quebrada del Toro, another natural monument located in the park.
Visitors to the La Mancha region can also see El Toboso and explore the structures, convents and museums Dulcinea’s hometown offers. Specifically, one may explore the Dulcinea del Toboso House-Museum, which is a reproduction of a 16th-century La Mancha farmhouse, as well as the 16th-century Trinitarian convent and Cervantes Museum, at which guests can view a collection of editions of “Don Quixote” in various languages and signed by notable figures.