This is basically what happened to our walk around the Royal Arms Factory near Orbaitzeta. The factory was built in 1784 on the site of a forge that had been in existence since the 1400s. After 100 years of production, the factory closed and was abandoned. Now overgrown with plants, it looks like something out of a fairy tale, maybe Sleeping Beauty. All of the information about Irati Park mentions the factory as a magical, must-see walking destination, and if you know me, you know I can´t resist a visit to historic ruins, so we put it on the list.
When we arrived, we were sorry to see the entire area fenced off. In the past, a guided walk was optional. It´s now essential and must be prearranged, due to potential danger of crumbling buildings and visitors taking "souvenirs". You can walk along one wall and look down into what was a workshop, but honestly? It looked a bit like a neglected barnyard. Nothing magical at all, and barely a walk. We watched a family look around and head back to their car, giving up. I, however, was determined to see something, anything, just a little bit magical, so we nosed around a bit more.
It was Baby who led the way, really. He had enjoyed the river so much earlier in the day we decided to let him splash around a bit before getting back into the car. We headed down to the water´s edge, and that´s when I noticed the little path. Could it be? It was. The view was ours and ours alone. Truly a beautiful area. Those arches! The plants! The light on the water! We couldn´t stop taking pictures, and I was half expecting someone to emerge from the tunnel in period costume. Maybe a blacksmith.
|one of my dozens of pictures of the factory|