Nerja History Group 3 night 4 day trip to Leon, Zamora and Toro
At the end of March, a group of us, of mixed nationalities, set off from Nerja by coach to Malaga for the AVE train to Madrid, which is fast and comfortable. In Madrid, another coach collected us, to make the rest of the journey by road with a comfort stop en route. We checked into the NH Hotel in the Plaza Mayor, Leon, which is a great location. After settling in and a change of attire, we boarded the bus once again, for the short journey to the Parador (Hostal de San Marcos), which is an amazing building, steeped in history with a wonderful restaurant that offers beautifully prepared traditional cuisine. We partook of a welcome glass of cava in the“Sala Capitular”before enjoying our dinner in the stunning Dining Room, after which, we were taken back to our hotel.
After a delicious breakfast, our Guide collected us for a walking tour of the City, starting with the Cathedral. There are so many features which are notable, but, the stained glass is wonderful ! (In fact, a few people said it gave them goose bumps). We then sauntered through the pretty streets to the Museum of San Isidoro with its’beautifully jewelled Chalice, (now thought by Historians to be “The” chalice from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper) and stunning painted ceiling. En route, some of us sampled the most delicious hot chocolate and churros, others who were more restrained had coffee or tea ! From there, we saw the Gaudi House, the Roman city walls and other places of interest, pointed out to us by our excellent Guide. We then had a break for lunch at Restaurant Zuaga, which is in a beautiful building. Later, we went by coach again for our guided visit of the Parador. It is difficult to know where to start – the exterior of the building is quite stunning and makes an impressive statement for all. In the large Plaza in front, is a bronze statue of a Pilgrim. We were shown many rooms and salons inside the Parador with explanations, including the capitular, where we had enjoyed our cava the previous evening and also the small, interior chapel. It is a most wonderful building and there is a lot to take in ! Our coach took us back to the Hotel For a rest/freshen-up and then it was all action stations again. Because of the excellent location of our Hotel, there are many places in which to sample local tapas and wines.
After another excellent breakfast, we went by coach to the City of Zamora, which sits on the River Duero. We were met by our Guide for a walking tour of the major sights, including the castle, a collection of Tapestries, City walls and a couple of the 23 Churches (!) and the XVl C Palace which is now a Parador. In the Plaza in front of the Parador, is a network of trees, which have been grown and trained in such a way as to provide a canopy of shade. We also saw many, many storks which nest all around the City, sometimes in the most precarious of places. We had lunch in the wonderful “Capricho de Meneses”, which opened especially for us. This restaurant was recommended to me by a restaurant in Madrid and did not disappoint – we all agreed that it was a real gastronomic delight !
It was then time to join our coach for the return journey to Leon. Some hardy folk, took to the town once again to sample the local colour.
The following morning, after breakfast, we assembled with our cases which were then taken for us to the coach. Goodbye Leon and hello Toro !
Toro is also on the River Duero and has really made a name for itself for red wine – it now boasts 61 Bodegas, most of which are out of town. Our first visit was to the magnificent Collegiata with its amazing, colourful, carved doorway. This visit too, was arranged especially, as it was closed to the public for refurbishment. However, continued phone calls to Father Roberto succeeded and we were granted access and well worth it too ! We then sauntered along the pretty main street, where some partook of refreshments and others bought local fayre. Next was the inevitable visit to a Bodega with tasting and then on to our restaurant for lunch, run by a young couple. We sampled some lovely, local dishes and wine and then boarded our coach for the return journey to Madrid for our AVE train to Malaga. The local Nerja coach was waiting for us and we returned safely, but tired !
And where to next year ????