One of the problems in Spain and in particular for little villages like Amaya, that are very out of the way is that they can be dying villages. Typically the houses will be lived in by old people. The younger ones go off to the big city (e.g Madrid or Valladolid or Burgos) to get work and then when their parents die, nobody wants the house and it is not very sellable, so it just falls into decay.
This is of course a bit of a shame, but how do you rectify the problem? The work is not likely to leave the big towns, and younger people these days don't all want to work the land. Well since I wrote this, I just spotted one solution that another Spanish village with a dwindling population has employed - check out the link to the BBC!
This is another example of the sort of decay you can see in villages like Amaya. Some houses are left to rot, others are refurbished. I'm guessing that buying a house here is very very cheap, so there is some attraction to buying in a village like this. The down side of course is that you will be miles from anywhere.
This is a good example of old and new juxtaposed. The semi-detached house on the left has been lovingly restored, it's neighbour on the right is looking rather delapidated.
Spring/Easter time is a nice time to visit as there are quite a few flowers and blossom out. This looks like a fruit tree and was in one of the gardens. Some gardens seem to be orchards, not large ones, but orchards all the same. There are numerous ploughed fields around Amaya during the spring time. Not sure what they were growing as nothing had started to really grow whe i was there.
With the lack of shops and a reasonable drive to go and buy anything, I suspect most people try and live off the land as much as they can.
It's quite hard to date the town of Amaya. The church was built in the 15th to 16th centuries, and some of the houses are either quite new or have been radically refurbished. This house looked refurbished, but had left some of the more interesting original parts still exposed.
If you enlarge the picture, you will see that this house dates from 1825.
Unfortunately several houses here are not maintained at all, so the village has a rather disperate feel to it.
This has got to be the world's most pointless Stop sign. A dirt track leading on to an almost unused road. What would happen if you failed to Stop? I hate to ask. Probably swarms of Guarda Civil (Spanish Traffic Police) that were hiding behind blades of grass would swoop out and arrest you. More likely however, you would just have to live with a guilty conscience for the rest of your life.
I'm not advocating that people break that law, just pointing out that in daylight, this sign is not really necessary!
Amaya is incredibly rural and absolutely off the beaten path.I'm guessing that most people live off agriculture, certainly a good number of them do. It is not uncommon to see ploughs like this one by the sides of roads, and they are not there just for decoration!
I suspect they are tractor pulled though rather than by horse... This one is a bit older in design than others I saw which looked a good deal more modern.
Still this isn't an everyday site these days, especially if you live in a city.
This church is in "La Parroquia de Amaya" It is the "Iglesia de San Juan Bautista" which translates into the Church of Saint John the Baptist. It was built between the 15th - 16th Centuries and has 3 naves, and I know nothing else about it except that the back of it is used as a storage area. It still is in active use as it had posters detailing the Easter Celebrations.
Many other churches in the area appear to be falling into disrepair as there are so few people and no doubt not enough priests to go round them all.
Watch out for the Car Guzzling Space Aliens. I parked my car bext to one, and seconds later it was gone! Seriously there doesn't appear to be much to be careful of in Amaya. Probably the biggest danger is a lack of shops and being caught short with no food/drink/toilets/place to stay.
Unless you are really serious or want to go rock climbing or hiking I suggest you just drive in and drive out again.
If you do want to stop, it is extremely easy to park, you can pretty much park anywhere you want.
Amaya nestles under a huge slab of rock which coincidentally is also called the Amaya Rock. Probably a chicken and egg situation as to which of them was called Amaya first, the other in all likelihood just adopted the name too.
It does make for quite an impressive backdrop and for good hiking and climbing experiences though. The latter two points being the only real reason to stay in the town that I can think of (unless of course you have friends living here).
Has David Bowie visited here? (the lyrics to the song even contain the word "Leon", even if they had nothing to do with Castilla in the contect it was used, and the fountain actually predates Bowie's song by a couple of years).
This rather bizarre fountain can be found outside the church in Amaya. It looks like it was built to commemorate Space Aliens, but I'm sure it is actually for something else. It was built in the early 1980's, but has no indication as to what it is actually meant to be. Perhaps they were fascist Space Aliens, as the war memorial is almost next door...
This is pretty unusual in Spain these days, a lot of old Franco memorials have bitten the dust now. I suspect it has been left alone because it is in the middle of a little village that almost nobody visits. Obviously this village has had fascist tendencies in the past. The emblem at the top of the cross (with the arrows) is the symbol of the "falange". This is a fascist emblem used by Generalísimo Francisco Franco (Generalísimo was a term invented by Franco for himself, it is the Spanish superlative for General, therefore translating to something like Super-General, interestingly his brother-in-law was given a senior rank in the government (nepotism anybody?), the Spanish irreverently named him the Cuñadisimo [cuñado is Spanish for Brother-in-law] literally the Super-Brother-in-law).
This is therefore a War memorial to people who died in the Spanish civil war fighting for Franco. It looks like it was built in the 3rd year after Franco's triumph which would have been approx 1940. For loads more info on the Falange, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falange