Penyagolosa

What better introduction to El Maestrat than Penyagolosa, its emblem and focal point? It commands the eye where ever you are and at 1,813 meters above sea level, it is the second highest mountain peak in the Valencian community – by a whisker. There are more places where you can see it than where not; unless perhaps in the valley on the other side of a lower mountain in front of it. Even then, a few hundred meters away, there will usually be somewhere you can catch a glimpse of the face of Penygolosa. It always seems to have the same shape when seen from the sea side, no matter what angle you catch it from, and maybe that is because of its somewhat isolated position within the topography of the land. Some say it is like a man’s face lying down on his back, his nose pointing heavenwards.

I do not know why, perhaps it is magical, or maybe it is just this shape, but the moment you catch sight of it, you start (not stare) in wonderment. No one is untouched. Near its top there is a pretty stone pilgrim’s hermitage where in the warmer months you can stay at weekends by prior arrangement. It is entirely off grid, and the accommodation is basic, but you can order a meal and it is well worth the trip. There are paths to the top of Penygolosa from the hermitage and despite the height, it is a gentle walk. Sit at the very end of this mountain and feel exactly thus, at the very end of the world.

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