Atop the Walls of Ávila

Continuing our series of day trips, David and I recently visited the town of Ávila with my friend Elizabeth.  We had a really bizarre schedule for the second week of December, because the 6th was the Día de la Constitución, and the 8th was Día de la Virgen de la Inmaculada, so I only had class on Monday and Wednesday.  David was lucky enough to have class only on Monday, so he came down to Valladolid that night and we set out bright and early the next day on our adventure.  Ávila is just over an hour away from Valladolid by train.  We left a little after 10 (it was a holiday, after all), and got into the city around 11:30, plenty of time to do some exploring before lunch.  Home to a population of only about 60,000, Ávila is a tourist destination known for its well-preserved medieval walls that surround most of the old city.  We weren’t sure the best way to go about finding the walls from the train station; when we asked directions, we were told to just “ir todo recto hasta que los veis,” go straight until you see them.  The winding nature of the streets had us a bit confused, but just when we were about to lose faith in those directions, we rounded a corner and found ourselves standing in front of the wall’s guard towers.

The walls of Ávila are incredible.  We spent the morning walking halfway around the old city, and only stopped because, due to a construction project in the middle, we couldn’t go any further.  The weather was a bit colder than it has been in Valladolid, but we bundled well enough that it wasn’t uncomfortable.  After wandering the town for a while longer, we found a tiny restaurant with a cheap menú del día (only 10 euro), where I had judías del barco, a traditional white bean stew with sausage, and some wonderful trout, accompanied by local wine and delicious homemade flan for dessert.  After a couple of disappointing restaurant experiences in other cities recently, this lunch renewed my faith in tiny Spanish hole-in-the-wall restaurants, for both affordability and quality of food.  Because seriously, 10 euro for two courses, wine, bread, and dessert?  That’s awesome.  I love this country.

n.b.  Sorry I haven’t been providing you lovely readers with more pictures of the food I’m eating here…I’ve just encountered a number of fellow diners in the past few months who make a huge deal of taking out their camera and photographing every dish, often drawing at least curious looks from local people (at worst, angry stares).  I have a fear of being that person, so I’ve been sticking to verbal descriptions 🙂

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