Found (#001): Mural Art in Rio Jucar

Two-wheeled exploration often unearths interesting and obscure places that might otherwise go unnoticed, be they historical, architectural, or even artistic. In our series ‘Found’, we report on such discoveries… ones that can only made possible via slow, methodical movement through off-the-beaten-path corners of the world. Enjoy the first installment; if you’ve made a discovery of your own, and have photography to support it, then drop us a line.

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We knew a lot about southern Spain before this trip. Hell, we’d ridden three different routes here in the spring of 2014. We even retraced a few of those steps on this trip. We expected the standard breakfast of toast with olive oil and tomato puree. We were prepared for the relentless climbs. We looked forward to the tapa roulette in Granada, midday tubos of cervesa, endless olive groves, and maze-like towns. But, as we’ve seen time and time again, it is, in fact, the unexpected that we should most expect.

On our final day in the Río Júcar, we passed a large and long stone ruin of a building, probably from the mid to late 1800s; these are fairly common in southern Spain. Gin hesitated slightly when riding past, and I stopped ‘to see a man about a horse’. I noticed an intricate and stylistic painting of a figure, half human and half tiger. It could only be seen by peering in one of the building’s hundreds of decaying windows. We proceeded to look in several other windows, then walked behind the building and to its far side.

Within, we discovered over a dozen motifs by the same artist, all incredibly interesting and conceptual works. Such was the quality and vision that they could have belonged in a contemporary art installation, in some city far from this remote river gorge. It was perhaps the best art exhibit either of us had seen in a long while, and not something that could be found in the Lonely Planet Guide to Spain. Here are the paintings in photos…

Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti
  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti
  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti
  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti
  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti
  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti
  • Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

Bikepacking Rio Jucar, Graffiti

Where in the World

And here’s where to find this beautiful, intriguing mural art…

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