We parked the car in front of the flat on Sunday morning, and on Monday morning it was easy to pack up and drive along the walls for a last look from Quatro Postes. It had been a good week, but I watched despairingly as yet another bus unloaded yet another crocodile for a flying visit. Then we took the road from Avila to Jarandilla de la Vera and the next stage of this adventure.
Our road took us along the valley towards Palencia. As always the surface was good and we drove through agricultural land, intensively farmed. But also in this valley is La Colilla, the town in which the ‘bleeding sandstone/granite’ is quarried for the Cathedral of Avila and the Basilica of San Vicente in Avila.
We turned off the Palencia road on to the N502, crossed the Adaja River which runs past Avila, and started to climb into and over the mountains, La Serrota. This is a mountain chain parallel to the Sierra de Gredos and apparently a very old mountain range. The road led up to the Puerta de Menga at 1,500m with wonderful views through oaks, holm oaks, poplars, and brooms. And all along the way we saw cattle and sheep. It was a fine morning and after several days in the town it was good to be out in the countryside again.
The road stays at altitude and we next came to the Puerta de Pico, at c.1,300m, in the Sierra de Gredos.
In the pass you can see the remains of a Roman road which used to connect Santiago de Compostela with Seville,1 apparently. However, ‘Roman’ is dispute and some sources says this is just a Mediaeval Road. Either way it is remarkable. It is also part of a transhumance route, the Canada Real Leonese Occidental, which we found in Soria.
We drove down into the valley through Mombeltran, with its castle, and on to Arenas de San Pedro.
Arenas de San Pedro
The most remarkable thing about Arenas de San Pedro was coffee and a large amount of tortilla! No doubt we were doing the town a grave disfavour.
The Vera Valley
And then there was a slow drive along the Tietar River Valley to Jarandilla. It was green and pretty.
The Paradore of Jarandilla de la Vera
The Paradore of Jarandilla de la Vera was easy to find and a very welcome sight as it had been quite a long day in the car.
The road from Avila to Jarandilla de la Vera was beautiful and far more interesting and historic than we realised at the time. But it was also a long day and it was good to arrive at the Paradore of Jarandilla at the end of the day.