Visit Casa Manadero: For Black Architecture and Fine Wine
There are a few places in Spain with a certain, special charm and that is precisely the case in the small village of Gata Robledillo in Extremadura. Their houses are made of adobe and wood, giving it a highland feeling in the middle of the Sierra de Gata. To get to know the area, we at Responsible Hoteles reached out to Ms. Caridad Hernandez, manager of the Casa Manadero, a peaceful accommodation for anyone in search of a green and rural escape that is distinguished by its commitment to Responsible Tourism.
One of the typical characteristics of Robledillo de Gata is its architecture. What is a Manadero House? How does its construction set it apart?
The architecture of the town is very distinct for the area. The houses are built with high ceilings and wood adobe and have spacious balconies. Our accommodation fits the aesthetics of so called “black architecture” as we make common use of slate. The Manadero House was restored by an architect who was an expert in bioclimatics as we have always sought to be as respectful as possible to the environment. The materials used are all natural and indigenous. For example, the wood used is a chestnut tree that is typical of Extremadura.
– This property is located in a small village of just 140 inhabitants. What makes it so charming?
Robledillo de Gata has been declared a site of Cultural Interest, joining other towns in the area to create a stunning rural tour. The town is very quiet and everything is done by hand. The villagers have a winery where they can make their own wine. The town is immersed in a valley with a large slope, allowing a visitor to catch a glimpse of all the local houses and the surrounding environment. They can also wander through the town’s narrow streets. The Museum of Oil is another interesting location to visit as one of the town’s points of pride is this liquid gold.
When speaking about the natural environment, what would you highlight?
The natural environment surrounding Robledillo de Gata is truly awesome. It is located in a valley surrounded by vegetation of all kinds in the north of Extremadura and the Atlantic climate always makes everything very wet. Chestnuts, olives and grapes are the main crops, helping to create a spectacular scenery around this special town in the Sierra de Gata.
– What kind of contribution does Casa Manadero make to environmental conservation?
We are always aware of our impact and contribution to the local environment and always try to do everything we can do. We use low consumption light bulbs and separate our waste, but that’s not all. Our most important task is to be informative. We offer environmental awareness lectures for our guests and we try, every time we organise an activity, to make clear the importance of respecting the environment. At the Casa Manadro, we also have a Mesón, which serves organic food taken from our garden and farm.
What can you say about the local fauna?
This area is characterised by having one of the largest reserves of lynx in the world. There is also a well-known black vulture reservation in the area, as well as a wide range of bird species. We offer our guests the opportunity to catch sight of these birds with a guide along with them to provide explanations throughout.
– Many visitors are searching for activities and sports that get them closer with nature, along with relaxation. What opportunities are available in the area? Are there walking routes?
The area offers a number of possibilities for hiking routes that highlight both the natural and cultural amenities of the local landscape. Robledillo de Gata is a municipality with steep narrow streets, including passages so narrow, they are only accessible by foot. It is very comforting to walk in this environment. In addition to hiking and walking trails, we also recommend trying a “tandem kayak” on the Alagon River, which is accessible from our location. This allows a safe and organic journey through the local lakes.
– What other activities could you highlight?
At Casa Manadero, we have organised a number of activities for our guests. One of them is the mycological conference, or the study of mushrooms. During this time of year, the climate and topography make mushrooms appear throughout the local area. We encourage those who want to to venture out to explore and provide a monitor to accompany them, offering explanations as they go. We also do wine tastings, which are very important in this area thanks to the number and quality of the local vineyards.
– On that note, what can you tell me about the local food? Is there a special dish? Is the food organic?
At the Casa Manadero, we host a Mesón, serving food we’ve gathered from our local gardens and farm. The most outstanding dishes included the orange salad, the escaberche trout and delicious chestnut pudding, among other local dishes like goat stew.
Not far from the Hurdes, in northern Extremadura, one can find a small picturesque village in the Sierra de Gata. The combination of traditional architecture and the often wet surrounding nature help make this an unbeatable point of rest and relaxation. This is a quiet getaway complemented by close contact with nature and fine wine in equal measure.