Travelling from Zamora to La Granja was a fabulous day, packed with wonderful sights! We stopped in Toro, visited two amazing castles and saw some of the scenery in the mid-west of Spain. We had a last look at the storks from our window in the Paradore and then set off.
I have given some brief impressions already so this is just a reminder!
Our first destination after Toro was a castle.
La Mota castle in Medina del Campo was one of the largest castles in Castile. There may have been a castle here in Roman times because the town is on a Roman road. The foundations may also be Moorish. Today’s castle dates from the 15th century. it was a fortress and also a military base and a prison. The castle on the hill was once the centre of the town but as trade grew the population moved down the hill to be closer to the river.
Queen Elizabeth loved the castle and lived here, and here she met Christopher Columbus and supported him in his voyages of discovery.
On the road
And then we set off again on the CL602 to see the castle at Coca. Soon, to our surprise, we were driving through extensive pine forests before reaching Olmeda. For many years the sap of the trees was tapped for rosin but apparently this industry almost died out during the 1990s when artificial products and cheaper natural products appeared from China. However, the financial loss has had various consequences. I must admit it wasn’t a pleasant sight and I would welcome a substitute. Perhaps string players do not agree.
Pine nuts are another local product and they come from the Stone Pine. Wood is the third product.
Coca is another town established during Roman times.
The castle in Coca stands on a hilltop overlooking the River Voltoya. It was built by Moorish architects and engineers, Abdallah de Medina and Ali de Lerma, and made from specially hardened bricks which would withstand bombardment.
The castle was owned by the House of Alba de Tormes until the 20th century when it was given to the government in 1954 and is now a Spanish National Monument.
You can only visit in a guided tour and so we just walked round this very impressive sight.
Back on the road we drove cross-country to the A601 which took us smoothly to the Paradore at La Granja.
Travelling from Zamora to La Granja was a wonderful day even though I was yet again strapped into a belt to keep my back steady. The roads in Spain were smooth and I survived!