The Walk of Antonio Machado or of the Walls
“wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking”, says one of the most famous verses of Antonio Machado, and walking is the best way to enjoy this Paseo de Antonio Machado or also known as the Walls.
The great Spanish poet has been one of the illustrious neighbors of Baeza. He settled in the city in 1912, a few months after his young wife Leonor died, to teach French at the Baccalaureate Institute, located in the Old University. A Machado flooded with grief took refuge in the rural environment of this city and in his walks around the outskirts, which often ended at the old wall or on the road to San Antonio.
In the passage of the Walls or Antonio Machado, there is a bust of the poet made by Pablo Serrano in 1965. It is a bronze sculpture inside a concrete cube that was inaugurated in 1983. This bust of the author of Campos de Castilla can be seen along the walk, but it is also a perfect time to enjoy the spectacular surroundings of Baeza, where you can admire the Guadalquivir valley covered by a carpet of olive trees and with the silhouette of the Sierra de Cazorla in the background. The walk is recommended almost at any time of the day, but doing it at sunset is a captivating experience. Athletes will also have a perfect route for running here because exercise combined with good views is always more pleasant.
Of course, this route is part of the traditional Macadian walk, which is usually held in February. The walk starts from San Pablo Street, next to the sculpture of the author made by Antonio Pérez Almahano, and goes through the historic center, passing through the old house of the poet, the Palace of Jabalquinto, before going out to the walk along the walls. The act concludes next to the bust of the Walk ot the Ramparts, where an offering of flowers is made and some of the writer’s poems are read.
The ramparts are also something worth admiring during the walk. Only a few remains of this medieval construction indeed remain, which once had a perimeter of 1,975 meters, since Isabella the Catholic ordered its partial destruction in 1476 intending to avoid infighting between nobles. The most striking parts of the wall are, without a doubt, the Aliatares tower, an old Arab tower from the 12th century, the Barbudo arch, the Villalar arch or the Úbeda Gate, the latter already inside the city.
The walk inspired and helped Antonio Machado during the hardest moments of his life but that was reflected in some of the most beautiful verses:
Of the Moorish city
behind the old walls,
I contemplate the silent afternoon,
Alone with my shadow and with my sorrow.
The river runs
among shady orchards
and gray olive groves,
through the happy fields of Baeza
Roads. Antonio Machado,1913.