25th March 2018: Main roads that feel like secondary {Dinosaurs in Teruel, 2018}

We arrived in the Albarracín area after driving for about three hours. Some of the roads were horrid and I was secretly glad my offer to drive had been rejected. We arrived in Albarracín around 11:00 and our first stop was the first Dinópolis mini museum, called the Mar Nummus (Nummus Sea).

As this mountain range used to be sea bead (like 150 million years ago), a bunch of marine fossils can be found in the area. Dozens of ammonites fill up the museum, along with the skull of a Liopleurodon, a marine reptile of the order of the family Pliosauridae, quite obviously a carnivorous one judging by the teeth. As a matter of fact, it was the apex predator of the Middle and Late Jurassic oceans.

Mar Nummus building, featuring a life-size liopleurodon + the skull of the liopleurodon + a lot of ammonite fossils

The visit did not take long, and then we moved on to drive to the Mirador de la Escombrera (Slagheap Viewpoint, don’t ask me) to watch the pineforest Pinares de Rodeno. We decided against walking through the forest because the shortest route was a couple of hours already.

Sandstone cliffs + pine trees

Instead, we drove back to Albarracín and walked throughout the historical centre, a medieval nucleus of streets and houses dedicated to shops and restaurants catering to tourists.

Albarracín, a Medieval city in reddish tones. It is surrounded by a wall

We had lunch, then drove the short 40 minutes to Teruel, where we found our hotel. After dropping our things off, we walked to the centre of the town – which was barely a ten-minute stroll away. Carlos Castel Square is widely known as the “little bull square”, Plaza del Torico.

Teruel is known, aside from dinosaurs, from its Mudéjar style buildings, such as the Towers or the Cathedral. Mudéjar style was used by Iberian Christians between the 13th and 15th Century. It incorporates motifs, decorative elements and construction techniques that were common in Muslim Al-Andalus (such as archways, porcelains, bricks, and so on…). On the first day we saw two of the Towers: Torre de San Pedro (left) and Torre de San Martín (right).

Mudéjar Towers

The second architectural characteristic of Teruel are the Modernist houses, built in the 1910s, such as the ones in the Plaza del Torico – Casa La Madrileña (left) and Casa del Torico (right).

Plaza del Torico: a little bull standing on top of a column. Behind it stand two Modernist Houses at dusk

After this we had dinner and we headed back to the hotel.