While it is important for us as lesbians to remember Gloria Fuertes for her lesbianism to better see ourselves reflected in history and Spanish society, she was also a hugely famous and influential author in her day who was able to be relatively out of the closet despite the constraints of Francoism. The power of her words continues to be felt today, with her poetry books still being easily found in bookstores and taught in schools to a new generation of readers. Her influence is such that, posthumously, a large number of streets and plazas across the whole of Spain have been named in her honor.
This route is only doable if you have a car, and a keen interest in seeing the sort of towns in the region that would name a street after a poet and lesbian. These towns are very different.
If doing this route, you should allocate at least four hours, and a whole day if you plan to make stops along the way. The starting point is Calle Gloria Fuertes in Valdemoro. Churreria San Telmo is located nearby and is a good place to have breakfast before starting out. Hostal Doña María-Valdemoro, located at Calle Tenerías, 2 is a well situated hotel to stay at for the start of this Gloria Fuertes roads road trip.
From Calle de Gloria Fuertes, it is a 10 km drive to Plza Gloria Fuertes, in Ciempozuelos, which is located in a residential area. The next leg is a 36 kilometer drive down the M-506 or a 55.8 km drive down the M-50 to Calle Gloria Fuertes in Campo Real. Both route options generally take about 40 minutes. The road is located in another residential area, with a supermarket not far from a small shopping area.
From there, it is a 9 to 12 kilometer drive north depending on your route option to Calle Gloria Fuertes, Torres de la Alameda. This is another short leg, taking 10 to 15 minutes depending on traffic. The area where the street is located is residential. The next street named in Fuertes’ honor is due west at in Loeches, a short 7 kilometer drive of around 10 minutes. The street parralell in Loeches is named after Rosa Chacel, another famous historic lesbian. Both streets are located in a residential area.
Departing Loeches, the next drive is north to Calle Gloria Fuertes, Alcalá de Henares, around 16 kilometers away. The drive time is around 18 minutes. The area is very suburban. There are a number of fast food places close by if you want to grab a quick bite to eat or use the toilet as the next leg is a 45 minutes drive, bit longer with traffic west, north west first to Calle de Gloria Fuertes, Torrejón de Ardoz and then onwards to Alcobendas down either the R2 or the A2. The area where the street is located is typical of Spain in that it is mixed residential and commercial. It is not a bad option to stop for lunch as there are a number of food options one or two streets away.
The road continues into San Sebastian de los Reyes. Departing Alcobendas, the route continues west down either the M40 or A6 for 26 to 35 minutes for around 30 kilometers on either route towards Las Rozas de Madrid. The street is in a mostly residential area, situated between two major shopping hubs in the town. The next part of the journey is around a half hour do north to C. Gloria Fuertes, Moralzarzal for around 27 kilometers down either the A-6 or the M-505, passing through Collado Villalba first. The road named in Fuertes honor in Moralzarzal is a small road located in a mostly residential area.
The last leg of the journey is a 35 minute drive northeast to Miraflores de la Sierra. The road is located far from the town’s city center in a residential area. It is a good town to spend the night in before heading back to Madrid or going onwards. There are a number of options including the 5-star hotel Palacia de Miraflores, and a number of 3-star hotel options including La Muñequilla, El Encanto de Miraflores, and Hotel Miraflores.
Some parts of this in “theory” are doable via public transport, but a half hour car ride ends up being a 4 hour public transport odyssey of Cercanías to Metro to Cercanías and then a 2 kilometer walk.
Alcobendas is a town in Agricultural Comarca of Área Metropolitana. Situated 15 kilometers north of Madrid capital, it is 700 meters above sea level. Alcobendas was founded in 1208 and has a population of around 116,000 people.
Las Rozas de Madrid is one of the largest towns in the region by area, covering 59 square kilometers. Exactly when the town was first founded is not known, but people have been present on the site since the third century. It sits at an elevation of 718 meters and has a total population of around 96,000 people.
San Sebastián de los Reyes was founded in 1492, and is located 20 kilometers north of Madrid. It sits at an elevation of around 730 meters and has a population of around 88,000 people.
Torrejón de Ardoz is an important city in the region, serving as the home of the European Union agency European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) and the home of the Spanish space agency, Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA). The town, located 568 meters above sea level, was first settled in the 12th century. It currently has a population of around 130,000 people.
Alcalá de Henares is a town located 35 kilometers northeast of Madrid, and was settled in the Roman period on the right banks of a river. The current city has a population of around 194,000, making it the third largest in the region. During the Franco period, the town was home to one of the largest women’s prisons in Spain. Unlike men, and especially gay men, women whose sexuality was suspect were never charged as political prisoners; instead, they were charged for offenses like prostitution.
Campo Real is a municipality with a population of around 6,100 people. It is located around 35 kilometers east of Madrid. The area was inhabited in the Neolithic area, and was given its name in the tenth century.
Loeches is a municipality of around 8,800 people located 647 meters above sea level east of Madrid. The town likely dates to around the twelfth century, when it was settled by Basque shepherds during the Reconquista period with the name of Madoz.
Torres de la Alameda is a municipality located 41 kilometers east of Madrid. Founded in the pre-Roman times by Carpetan settlers, the town sits at an altitude of 654 meters and has a current population of around 7,800 residents.
Moralzarzal is a municipality located about 47 kilometers northwest of Madrid at the foot of the Sierra de Guadarrama at an altitude of 979 meters and a population of around 13,500 residents. The town was founded as two towns, Fuente del Moral and Zarzal, some time prior to the Reconquista period. Following the Reconquista, the area was depopulated and then repopulated by people from the Segovia region.
Ciemposuelos is a municipality located 35 kilometers south of Madrid at an altitude of 568 meters. The origins of the town likely date to the Roman period. It has been served by a rail connection to Madrid since 1851. It is one of the only towns to have a plaza named after Gloria Fuertes instead of a road.
Miraflores de la Sierra is located 49 kilometers north of Madrid on the south slopes of the Sistema Central mountains at an elevation of 1147 meters. The town of 6,400 people was founded sometime in the Middle Ages, with its existence documented by 1287. Rey Carlos I officially granted the town status as a villa in 1523.
Valdemoro is a town located 25 kilometers south of Madrid, in the historical Castilian region of La Sagra. The town was granted Villa status at the end of the 14th century, though humans have inhabited the area dating back to the Iron Age. The town was greatly impacted by the Civil War. It is at an elevation of 615 meters and has a population of around 77,500 people.