|Despite being the only guests at the Hosteria, our host manages to put together a generous little breakfast. And, we’re off to Avila on a freeway so new that GyPSy computes we’re driving through open fields – “Turn right, turn right”. Sure, we are on a freeway and we pass over a dirt-track road. Sometimes I wish our GPS would shout at us but she seems to understand.
We see Avila in the distance, rising up from the rolling countryside, and we understand why it is not only a National Landmark, but one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, begun 20 centuries ago.
We stop about ten minutes from the city on a hill looking towards the old city and lucky we come to a famous landmark, ‘Los Cuatro Postes’ (The four posts) where supposedly Santa Teresa saw a vision when she was seven.
It is an old city which is completely encircled by perfectly preserved 11th century wall over two kilometers long. There are openings for archers and spouts for hot oil to be poured over the invaders.
The wall was built over Roman fortifications which were also built over Celtic fortifications. Many cultures lived here and embraced each other culture.
The spirit of the city is St. Teresa, a Carmelite nun who was born here in 1515 – Romanesque churches, Gothic palaces, plazas, and the fortified cathedral are all part of our easy walking tour.
We go beyond the old city to the new city that has developed and have tapas and beer/hot chocolate. We have to visit the train station for Mark, and then we find an incredible pastry shop for Linda. The concoctions are so exquisite that even Mark finds them irresistible and we buy several, taking them to a local park to devour.
We stay in the Hospederia de Bracamonte, a 400-year old building, remodeled into an inn. They’ve gone all out to make it picturesque including the fake four poster bed in our room. It is comfortable, inexpensive, and right in the middle of the old town. We find a paellador and have plates of paella to finish our day…..a sweet place in this old town.