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Avila

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Offline Dave

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« on: September 22, 2009, 20:00 PM »
Hi All
 following on from my Segovia trip report, here is one on Avila
Avila is around an hours drive from Segovia, and the approach, through the new part is a great disappointment, I had last seen Segovia, in the evening light from a train from Madrid to León, and it is visually stunning, it is,  at 1117 metres, the highest provincial capital in Spain, but you get no idea of this coming from Segovia. Following the signs, we were confronted by the imposing gateway of San Vincente, entering this gateway you enter another world of narrow streets and serenity, far from the bustling modern city. There are three things Avila is most famous for, it amazing medieval walls, built in 1070, Saint Teresa of Avila (1515 to 1582) , the carmelite reformer  and of course its altitude. Not having booked a hotel, we went in search of one, and finally found the delightful, Hospederia de Bracamonte, set close to the San Vincente gate, and in a very quiet corner of the city, with a car park only 50 metres away. The hotel was originally a wealthy merchants house and is furnished in a very medieval style with a splendid suit of armour at the foot of the stairs. The bedroom boasted a four poster bed and period furniture, the en suite was modern and clean. The old part of Avila is very quiet, and apart from some nice buildings, has little vitality, certainly for anyone with a religious bent, it is a must see, as Teresa must be one of the most famous saints in Spain, and the little museum dedicated to her is quite good, if a little macabre, with its relics. Once again we took the tourist train, which helps you get some idea of what to visit, on foot, this time the train goes through the streets of the city, how it does it I do not no, it fitted in places that I would hesitate to take my car, and that´s only a Fiesta. The trip last about 40 minutes and goes outside the walls to give some external views, with commentary in Spanish and English, it gives some insight into the history of Avila, though sadly on the cobbles of the old city, it is unintelligible.
Later on after lunch and a siesta, we went for a stroll around the city, before deciding to go and buy some food for the evening, as we were both suffering from a bit too much rich food, so the makings for a sandwich were purchased and a couple of drinks, to eat in our room later. The cathedral in Avila is quite small and forms part of the walls, we could not go in as it was closed. One word of warning, Monday is a bad day to visit monuments in Spain, as this is usually the day of rest after being open all weekend.
So to sum up Avila, The walls are wonderful and worth the visit just to see them, the rest of the old town is interesting but ultimately, dare I say it, boring. The saying about Avila, Tierra de Santos y Cantos, which correctly translates to Land of Saints and chants or hymns, is very true, you are struck by the religious air that permeates the old town. If you want to escape from the world and enjoy peace and tranquility, I recommend it, if you want a place with some life and plazas full of bars and restaurant, avoid it. But finally we found the Plaza San Pedro, just outside the city walls, there families were enjoying the warm evening air and the plaza was full of life, we lingered a while, at a terrace bar before returning to the Hotel for Supper. Next day it was back to León, with a bit of a diversion, on account of Marias Family, more soon
Regards
Dave

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2009, 00:23 AM »
Thanks for that, Dave :clapping:
Wot? No tapas to speak of?
Have made a note of yer
Quote
delightful Hospederia de Bracamonte
- do you have to order the four-poster specifically or do all the rooms have 'em?

Does anyone else, apart from Dave (who I imagine is now an expert), know the one about Sta Teresa & relic & Franco? :angel:

Been-talking-'bout-revisiting-the-place-for-years-an'-you've-just-rekindled-the-interest-relics,-santos-and-cantos-notwithstanding regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline nick

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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2009, 00:30 AM »
Thanks for these tips. Would love to visit one day!
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
http://iberianature.com/brita

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2009, 01:23 AM »
Greetings All,
One of my Usually Reliable Sources has just this evening told me that they've just pulled out of the team which is going to do Ávila's new Plan General (Sp. anyone?) because one of the items included in the brief is to legalise the existing illegally-built houses just outside the city walls - occupied in the main by local council civil servants - the ones that spoil the impressive view of the city walls when approaching the city from I forget which direction. My URS reckons that if the additional construction that the council (PP, of course  :o) is planning goes ahead as planned, UNESCO will withdraw Ávila's status as a World Heritage Site - but who cares - the local politicos will have the money in their pockets by then...

Hope-you've-all-noticed-the-humungous-efforts-yours-truly-has-been-making-recently-to-be-politically-correct* regs.,
Technopat

*I will not bring up the matter of Valencia, the Americas Cup, Formula 1 etc., I will not bring up the matter of Valencia, the Americas Cup, Formula 1 etc., I will not bring up the matter of Valencia, the Americas Cup, Formula 1 etc., I will not bring up the matter of Valencia, the Americas Cup, Formula 1 etc., I will not bring up the matter of Valencia, the Americas Cup, Formula 1 etc., I will not bring up the matter of Valencia, the Americas Cup, Formula 1 etc.,
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266