Pit-stop in Vitoria to Meet Friends

Today was the last day on the road trip. After a rest at the Parador in Santo Domingo de La Calzada, we made our way to Vitoria-Gasteiz, a mid-sized town in the Basque Country. We didn't really plan to visit this place a destination, but we thought it would be a good meeting point for a few friends that we had planned to meet. They were already in San Sebastian for Christmas, so it was easy enough to get here. It was the second last stop before going home (last stop being Frias) so we were looking forward to relaxing a little bit.

Vitoria-Gasteiz is another medieval town in this mini road-trip of ours. Its a grungy town, with a lot of street art and old world architecture intertwined. Basque country is a pretty popular tourist destination, but whenever people visit this region, San Sebastian is usually their primary destination, so Vitoria is a little bit off-the-beaten path destination. There are plenty of things to do here, but with time being short, we decided to walk around Virgin Blanca Square, and then visit the Artium Museum, a modern art museum where they have a collection with works from some of the most important Basque and Spanish artists.


We met our friends around noon, just in time for some 'txikiteo' - if you didn't know already, 'txikiteo' is a Basque tradition similar to a pub crawl, the focus being mainly on drinks and pintxos/tapas. The Basque Country is one of the areas with the most bars per capita, so it seems fitting that this tradition started here. Our friends also brought their daughter along, and even though she seemed to not be too happy with the camera, I managed to get some snaps.


An Even More Freezing Day in Pedrazza

After a cold and rainy day in Segovia, we were headed to Pedrazza, a smaller town in the same province, but not quite as popular. A lot of people have heard of Segovia, and the Alcázar of Segovia, but not too many people have heard of Pedrazza. Segovia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while Pedrazza is not. Its not too big, and not very populated, which makes it a perfect little town to visit for a non-touristy feel. I really wish we had stayed over, but this was a pit-stop in our road trip, and we could only spend a few hours. But I think we will go back for sure.

An approach to Pedrazza via Bandas Sonaras

Like a lot of the cities in the world heritage site list, Pedrazza is also a Medieval Village. The village really was almost abandoned in the 70s and 80s, because there are no jobs nearby (other than tourism related) and so a lot of the younger people left to go to bigger metropolitan areas. Recently the economy took a upturn, as a lot of the urbanites have come back to purchase homes and have renovated them to be weekend escapes. 

Pedrazza falls in the province of Segovia and autonomous community of Castilla y Leon, but most of the visitors head towards Segovia; so when we went, it was almost empty. Not to mention, it was raining very heavily with a lot of wind and so most people were indoors. Nevertheless we got to walk around and take in some of the medieval architecture. Towns like these have always appealed to, because they are very different than what I am used to - growing up we heard many fairy tale stories about princes and warriors from medieval times, and walking through these town I can imagine what it would be like to live in one of these towns. They've been modernized since then with indoor plumbing and such, but the old school charm is still there.

After walking around a little bit in what turned out to be almost a ghost town, we got a little hungry. There aren't many restaurants around town, and it was off-season, and cold and rainy, and we didn't think any place would be open. But then we wondered into a small side street, and lo behold, we saw one small place with steamed windows, which could only mean they are cooking inside.

Restaurante Reberte sighted!

We found Restaurante Reberte, which looked like it just opened. It was small place, family owned, it looked like - it felt exactly like what you would want to find in a small medieval village. Spanish lunchtime - especially on a weekend - is really late, around 3PM, and it was still about 2PM, so when we walked in, we were still pretty early and they didn't look prepared. We asked nicely if they could feed us still, and Señor Reberte himself said "of course!". So then we sat down for a nice hearty meal of cordero (lamb roast), sopa castellana and flan. Reberte tended to us himself, all the while roasting and fetching.At the end of the meal (even though we couldn't really stand) he even agreed to take a picture with us. 

After the meal, we were warmed up a little bit, but really full. We walked around a little bit more to see the rest of the town, which included the town pharmacy, some other small bars, and the town prison (yes, a prison).

Sights around Segovia

When we visited Segovia, it was just bad weather all around. Drizzle and rain mist covered almost everything, and the cloud was just overcast and flat. It gave us time to visit a lot of restaurants and cafes, admire the establishments and enjoy some good food. 

Because of all the rain, I saw umbrellas everywhere. So - here is a collection of pictures of one of the main sights of the trip: Umbrellas!


Street Signs

Segovia being a World Heritage Site, its pretty touristy. There are signs all over the place, making sure the tourists don't get lost. Given that the tourists come from all over the world. I guess you expect the signs to be various languages. In Spain, almost everything is translated, and there are hardly any signs in english. So in Segovia, you would expect to see all the signs in Spanish, right? Yes, and also in - Japanese! My friend Francesco explained to me why that is - it seems Japanese tourists are crazy about World Heritage Sites, and they visit them places in this list more than any other destination. So it would make sense to cater to the Japanese. 



Starting with this post, I've decided that I want to incorporate some of my iphone pictures into this website. Sometimes the phone is just handy enough to capture a moment that I might have missed with the big dslr. So, throughout the site, expect to see SNIPPETS! in various areas.


Stalked Locals

Tapas at Duque Maestro Asada

At the top of the Aquaduct

The lobby of our hotel - 

Princess sighting at the post office

The view from the hotel balcony

Alcazar of Segovia

Wine from Restaurant Jose Maria restaurantejosemaria.com

Cochinillo - cooked so soft, it can be cut with a plate