After Franco's death in 1975 Spain quickly made the transistion to a democratic state.
Under the new Constitution of 1978
autonomous communities were formed, among them Castilla la Mancha with Toledo as its capital.
The southern and largest part
of the autonomous community is La Mancha, located on a harsch but fertile plateau. In summer the temperatures can easily reach
40 degees and It is in this simmering climate that Servantes situated his famous story of Don Quixote.
Mancha has a long and rich history. It was part of Roman Hispania till the Visigoths took Iberia and in the 8th century made
Toledo their capital.
Then the Moors conquered the land and held on to it till deep in the 12th century when they were finally defeated
by Alfonso VIII.
Toledo is a real medieval gem loaded with history and
culture and very well worth the visit.
If you feel like Don Quixote and want to fight some windmill, head strait for Consuegra,
where they have 12 of these giants lined up and waiting for you.
To the south, the Lagunas de Ruidera are of a surreal
and quiet natural beauty.