I have been thinking about how it is a shame that we have not been to more of the "day trips" around Madrid. The weather is perfect right now, so I knew we had to go somewhere. There are so many day-trips from Madrid that we have not done, it was a little hard to decide. But in the end Ávila won.
|An old wall with wild flowers|
Ávila is a town North West of Madrid in Castilla y León. It is approximately 1.5 hours by train, or a little more then 2 hours (with a transfer) by Cercanias (the local Madrid train system). I convinced my husband to go on Friday. I figured less crowds, cheaper menús, and the weather was going to get hotter through the weekend.
|What I think of as a California poppy|
We have had an extra long Spring here in central Spain, and so there were still wild flowers and patches of green everywhere. Last year by this time everything had already been dry for at least a month. There were so many poppies that there would be fields of them on either side of the train. I could not take my eyes away from the scenery. Spain's countryside is so beautiful.
|A charming plaza|
Ávila is so photogenic that this might be a four part blog series. We had a great time wandering around with out much of a plan and taking loads of beautiful photos. Ávila is full of churches as there is a cloister and a rich Catholic history. This next church you will see from several angles. I love it's old red-blonde bricks and it's shape.
|San Pedro Church|
Wait, what is this? Ok sure, there are strange lions licking urns, but there in the background is the reason we came to Ávila...a medieval wall. The old portion of the city is still completely surrounded by it's wall (something you can see on Google satellite view, if you wish. Click the link, go to the satellite view option, and start zooming into the Northwest portion of the city).
There in the distance is one of the main gates, la Puerta del Alcazar. In the foreground is a monument to soldiers (it did not say which war, at least that I saw). On the right are charming Spanish buildings. On the left is a new building and in the left hand corner? A Burger King, but don't worry that is about as American-ized as this town gets.
|Charming winding streets|
They have kept most of the wall in very good repair. There are only some areas where it is crumbling. It is in such good repair, in fact, that you can walk along the top of most of it.
A statue of Santa Teresa (the town's saint), at the base of the wall, surrounded by roses.
In the next few posts you will see that I could not stop taking pictures of the wall...or of the mountains. You can see mountains in Madrid, that is, if there is not a building in the way.
I can not get enough of the Spanish tiled rooftops with the mountains in the distance. Another thing that we took of a lot of pictures of, were the Storks. Do you see them below? (click to enlarge). They like to nest on church/bell towers so there were always some circuling over head. If you see a big bird in one of my photos, it will be a Stork.
Next post: walking the wall.