There at its heart is Madrid, with its wide roads and wedding-cake structures, and there to its east is Barcelona, with its palm trees and syrupy evening sun. Between them toward the north is a bunch of the nation’s most fruitful areas: Castile and León, La Rioja, Aragón. These are spots that give the nation its wine, its organic product, its grain — and thusly, one may contend, its extremely Spain-ness: a nation that once measured time by the amount of the world it vanquished, by the amounts of gold it gathered, and now does as such by how late a night can last before it saturates day, and by to what extent a feeling of drowsiness can be convincingly kept up, even notwithstanding monetary hopelessness and national weariness.

But instead than setting off to those spots, suppose you choose to advance toward western Navarra. When part of a previous Basque kingdom, it now creates a significant number of the nation’s vegetables — its cardoons and asparagus and artichokes. From that point, you take after the River Ebro south, passing sections of land of flawlessly planted fields and low mountains finished with little towns (all delicate edged and brittle against the level white skies), until you suddenly get yourself elsewhere totally: the Bardenas Reales, the nation’s 100,000-section of land barren wasteland, a region kept from water because of a geographical variation. Gone, abruptly, are Navarra’s Romanesque holy places. Here, rather, are miles of hard dirt and silty soil, channels of shake, sandstone slopes wrinkled with creases into liquefying, Gaudían arrangements; here, the wind and rain are fierce to the point that they have followed their nearness onto the stones themselves, which are in some cases smooth however some of the time scarred with such a large number of thin runnels that they seem wrinkled, similar to a rhino’s stow away.

What you’ll see next is a specific nature of hush, the kind that may persuade that sound, similar to water, is something that is just not intended to exist here, that may fall into the earth and be consumed before you’re even ready to enlist it. For a minute, you may think you’ve ventured out back so as to a ur-earth, when the planet was just sea, stone and sky, when air and water, not creatures, were the main invigorate strengths. The Bardenas might be Spain, however it is additionally not-Spain: It is an update that even in the most accommodating, the most known, of nations, there still stay mystery places untouched by man.

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