Head north east from Madrid, you will quickly find yourself in Guadalajara, a province in the northernmost limits of New Castille and often unjustly ignored by the traveller. The vast expanse of the wide-open landscapes fills you with a sense of freedom., Camino Josè Cela, the Nobel-prize-winning Spanish novelist, wrote in simple but succinct terms, that Guadalajara "a beautiful country where people do not want to go. I spent a few days there and I liked it." Wise words!
If you want to get away from it all, to places where you are unlikely to meet another human soul for miles, then Guadalajara's raw and rugged country is the place for you. There are plenty of casas rurales where a few days' stay will cleanse you of the stresses of a hectic life. Many of the villages are almost deserted, providing a surreal ghost-like ambience to a drive through the countryside. The stunning views are enhanced further if you take in the large resevoirs of Buendìa and Entrepeñas, which contrast spectacularly with the arid landscape, as you travel around the sierra.
Among the towns of special interest in the area is Pastrana, one of the many honey-producing centres in the region. The town is positively overflowing with historical buildings such as convents, palaces, museums squares and an ancient bullring, making a visit highly recommendable. Brihuega is another town offering culture, history and fine gastronomy in a delightful truly Castilian atmosphere. Sacedòn, also steeped in history, offers us the 17th century parroquial church and the Ermita de la Cara de Dios, which, according to tradition, contains a painted face which miraculously appeared when a blasphemer stabbed the wall with his knife.
A popular stopover is Sigüenza, exactly 120km north-east of Madrid, a historic and typically Castilian small town. The thousand-year-old castle here has been remodeled many times during its history, the last time to convert it into one of the most luxurious of the paradores, the state-run top quality hotels.
There is not much to keep you in the capital of the province, Guadalajara, but among the historical buildings still standing (Guadalajara suffered terribly during the Civil War) is the Palacio del Infantada, home to a local art museum. There are also many churches to be seen and eating and drinking-holes are in plentiful supply.