Blogs from Ávila, Castile & León, Spain, Europe


Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila August 17th 2019

We decide to have a quiet morning, so I take the opportunity to read up a bit about the history of Avila. It is thought to have been originally settled sometime around the 5th century BC by the Vettones who lived in this part of the Iberian Peninsula in pre-Roman times. They were apparently particularly notable for leaving large granite statues of pigs scattered around the countryside, and there’s one of these in our hotel’s garden. We also saw one at one end of the Roman bridge in Salamanca without having much idea what it was. Issy said it looked like a beheaded gorilla while I opted for a beheaded bear. It seems that neither of us got any points for those guesses. Avila was captured by the Moors when they came to Spain, and it ... read more
Basilica de San Vicente
Basilica de San Vicente
Parroquia de San Pedro Apostol

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila August 16th 2019

First stop this morning is the 12th century Avila Cathedral. One of the most notable things about this event is that I’m able to get Issy into a Cathedral. She went into a chapel in Salamanca for a few minutes a couple of days ago, and the fact that the roof didn’t fall in has clearly encouraged her to try her luck on bigger and better things. The roof seems to be holding firm today as well, which is good for her, as well as for the hundreds of other tourists who are here. I’m quite pleased as well. The Cathedral is impressive, if not quite on the same grand scale as those in Segovia and Salamanca. The rear of it forms part of the town walls, complete with turrets. The stress of waiting for the ... read more
Avila Cathedral
Avila Cathedral
Avila walls

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila August 15th 2019

Today we will be taking a short train trip to our next destination, the town of Avila, which is about 150 kilometres east of Salamanca. We’ve got some time to kill at the station so I do a clean out of used train tickets and other miscellaneous redundant paraphernalia. I ask Issy whether she still needs her mobile phone contract for Jordan. She says she doesn’t remember buying a mobile phone contract in Jordan, so I take this to mean ‘no’ as the answer to the original question. The contract has a copy of the front page of her passport in it so I tear this up into small pieces and head off to put it in the nearest waste bin. Issy stops me. She asks me if I realise that people prowl train stations looking ... read more
Looking south from Avila
Church tower - note stork nest
Market stall

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila May 7th 2016

Il nous faut quitter Caceres, bien belle ville, pour reprendre la route du retour. Notre programme change un peu ici car nous entendons du mal du seul camping qui se trouve à Tolède... Nous préférons alors ne pas nous y rendre et pourquoi pas visiter d'autres coins ? Nous commençons par nous arrêter à Plasencia :qui est située sur les rives du Jerte, dans la province de Cáceres. Sa vieille ville occupe une position stratégique sur la Ruta de la Plata (la route de l'argent). Cette ville fut peuplée par les Romains et les Arabes puis, au XIIe siècle, fut reconquise et repeuplée par Alphonse VIII. À partir du XVe siècle, la noblesse de cette région s'installa en ville, lui conférant ainsi sa physionomie actuelle. La vieille ville est jalonnée de palais, de demeures seigneuriales et ... read more
la Puerta del Sol

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila November 4th 2014

The ticket process at new Salamanca Rail Station was more relaxed than Chamartin. It had been redeveloped with the proceeds of a cinema and fitness complex attached to either wing. The comfortable seats were clearly to the liking of the grey population of town, who sat around observing the proceedings of the day before their afternoon nap. A train sat on the allotted platform, but disturbingly showed no sign of where it was heading. The other half is always nervous about such lack of information, as indeed were half the people waiting who urgently sought out anybody vaguely resembling a member of train related staff. After multiple reassurances that the train was heading in the correct direction, the assembled masses climbed aboard. We set off across the open flatlands again towards Avila. Have you heard the ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila September 11th 2013

zz Segovia to Avila For those in the know Avila is famous for many things but one in particular the 1957 film The Pride and the Passion which starred a young Frank Sinatra, a pouting Sophia Loren, Cary Grant and a bloody big gun. The film was set at the time of the Napoleonic Era and the story centred around taking the cannon to the British forces in Avila . Having seen the film many times the walls held a certain sort of fascination and today was going to be our chance to see them. The weekend had arrived and it was now Sunday morning. Our destination today Avila with its walled city. The journey was the usual ribbon straight roads with few cars on them. We got stuck at the first toll we came to. ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila » El Barco de Ávila March 8th 2013

Today we visited El Escorial, which is where the Royal family lived and where many of its members’ tombs are located. We left before the sun had risen are were able to see the sky turn beautiful oranges and reds El Escorial is a beautiful building with over 2,000 rooms! The tomb chamber is bronze and marble (the entire place is very cold, specially in the winter) where the Charles and Phillips tombs are. It was rainy and cold day but we were still able to appreciate the incredible palace and monastery built in the Late 16th century. We were not allowed pictures inside but I was able to take some of the outside. He architects were Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herra. We even had some free time to roam around the streets ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila April 13th 2010

Went on an organised tour leavingMadrid at 9.15am in terrible traffic and pouring rain forAvila – really looking forward to visiting the place after teaching about Teresa the mystic from there. We were dropped at the visitors centre at the foot of the walled town and had a guided tour of the Basilica and then through the town to the main square and church and museum dedicated to St Teresa. The most beautiful gilded icons and her room within the museum was a treat to see. However, the greatest and weirdest thrill was seeing her relics… a patch of her dress and a finger! I so wish I could have taken photos to use as a teaching aid. Lovely monument toSt John of the Cross and fabulous views over the valley from the town walls. The ... read more

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila June 19th 2009

Today we went to Avila. It was a 90 minute trip, hoping to not only see the town and Cathedral, but also to visit the tomb of St Teresa. The fact that it is an UNESCO World Heritage listed site because it has the best preserved city wall also attracted us to the town. We only discovered once we got there that her tomb is in Salamanca. Nevertheless, we still made the most of the medieval city and its attractions. We spent a couple of hours exploring the Cathedral, but we weren’t able to take any pictures or video. One interesting part of the Cathedral was the number of storks nesting on its towers and pinnacles. We were also able to climb up and explore the town’s walls. At this stage, only about half of all ... read more
The Cathedral.
Where do babies come from?

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila December 16th 2008

I'm back in Spain again, this time with Lara! We flew to Madrid, and had a good look around the city, but Lara didn't take my photo anywhere. We were enjoying the slightly warmer (and definitely less wet) weather than we'd left behind at home, but when we set off to drive West, into the mountains, we found that it had snowed! The road was, fortunately, cleared very efficiently and we drove to Avila. Lara took me to see the cathedral, and I had a play in the snow, before we admired the medieval city walls from a short distance away. From Avila, Lara took me back to Salamanca where I'd been with Laura quite recently. It was fun to go back there, but this time it was snowy in Plaza Mayor and I knew where ... read more
The medieval walled city

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