May 052013


Mountain Biking the GR-236 Monastery Route Part 1
For today’s mountain biking trip, we decided to take in the first 2 of the 5 monasteries, the Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba, in Alfauir & the Monastery of the Corpus Christi, in Llutxent, and returning home via Pinet, a route of 45km.

We set off at 11am and cycled down to the first monastery, Sant Jeroni, only 5km from the villa, a nice gentle way to start the day. Cycling through orchards and a mixture of tracks and semi-surfaced paths. A quick photo opportunity and then time to set off in the direction of Benicolet.

Following a well sign-posted route we meandered through the Spanish countryside on undulating tracks and paths, for another 10km and finally reached the village of Bencolet, from here we followed the main road for another 5km and reached the second of the Monastery, Corpus Christi, in Llutxent. We stopped at a local bar for refreshments and a well earned break.

Next it was on to Pinet, again following well marked tracks and bridal paths, for the next 6km. We stopped again for a break and to rehydrate in the village and to gather ourselves for the next section of the route,…some serious climbing for the next 6km. We set off at a steady pace and soon started gaining altitude, the views on this section of the route are breathtaking, even when not pedalling!

Again, we stopped for a break in the shade of a tree and prepared ourselves for the final leg of our journey, the descent! The last stretch of 10km was mostly downhill with some exhilarating riding on a mixture of paved and unpaved roads and tracks.

We arrived back at the villa by 5pm, with feeling of great accomplishment, and just in time for our afternoon cuppa! A fabulous day out in the Spanish spring sunshine.
Totals for the Day:-
Trip :- 44.7km
Max Speed :- 42.6
Ride time :- 3:19:20
Odo :- 961km

The GR-236 Monastery Route (Route of the Monasteries of Valencia (GR-236))
The “Monasteries Route” – or “Ruta dels Monestirs” as it is called locally – provides an itinerary which passes through the central areas of Valencia, linking five ancient convents or monasteries. It can be done easily by road with direct access to the monasteries, or equally well on foot or mountain bike using the GR-236 hiking path, which follows medieval mountain paths (the Pas del Pobre), authentic old tracks, and old railway lines. Along its 90km length from Gandía to Alzira we pass through a wide range of villages, valleys, rivers and mountains.

CIMG2924 The Monestir de Sant Jeroni near Alfauir was built by Alfons el Vell (Duke of Gandía) in order to take in the Jeroni monks of Javea in 1388. A particularly outstanding feature is the gothic style cloisters, and also well worth visiting are the Romantic style gardens which were constructed by the Trénor family, who are still the current owners.
Convent-del-Corpus-Christi The Convent del Corpus Christi near Llutxent dates from 1422 when Dominican monks began its construction, and in fact the first Valencian university was housed here. Right by the monastery you will find the Corpus Christi Church, built in a mediterranean gothic style, and which was declared a national monument in 1982.
05-Fountain-and-monatsery-gatehouse-Simat There is a wide variety of architectural styles to be found at the Monestir de la Valledigna in Simat, including gothic influences of the 14th century, and baroque influences of the 17th & 18th centuries. In 1991 the Valencian Government acquired the monastery in order to carry out restoration and refurbishment works, which were completed in 1998 when the building was re-opened.
Convento_de_Aguas_Vivas The oldest of the workings at the Convent d’Aigües Vives in the area near Carcaixent date back to the 13th century, but the construction of the current building was originally undertaken in the 15th century. The cloisters, which have vaults with baroque-style interior decorations, are especially welcoming to the visitor, whilst the convent’s tiling is a fine example of 18th century Valencian ceramics.
Alzira The Monastir de la Murta near Alzira was founded between the 15th & 16th centuries. Especially noteworthy is the tower known as the Torre dels Coloms and also the renaissance style gate, above which a coat of arms is still to be seen. This belongs to the Vich family who were owners and benefactors of the monastery for many years. In 1989 the Town Hall of Alzira acquired the property and began the restoration of this historic monastery

Technically, the GR-236 begins in Gandia and finishes in Alzira passing by these monasteries:

  1. Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba, in Alfauir.
  2. Monastery of the Corpus Christi, in Llutxent.
  3. Monastery of Santa María de la Valldigna, in Simat de la Valldigna.
  4. Monastery of Aguas Vivas, in Carcaixent.
  5. Monastery of La Murta, in Alzira.

All the paths are perfectly signposted from the Train Station of Gandía to Alzira. There are road signs in problematic forks with location signs and direction signs. The signs are white and red and they all have the path code (GR-236).

Mountain Biking the GR-236 Monastery Route starting from the Villa Florencia, is a total of 104km, see map below,..

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