A Great Little Town is Ciudad Rodrigo
Ciudad Rodrigo Travel Blog› entry 44 of 62 › view all entries
July 12th, 2008 – by: mkrh
I have always enjoyed the Bernard Cornwell historical fiction books set in Napoleonic Spain and one of my favourites is set in the city of Ciudad Rodrigo.
We walk through the tunnel in the wall that is one of the old city gates. And find the information centre. I now have 4 or 5 stock phrases for asking about information or advice. My travel companion speaks better than I do but both of us can understand the advice for visiting the town.
There is an excellent museum with an exhibition of the Napoleonic Wars around the area - paintings, stories, diaries, swords and other things.
We then walk to the Parador. Now Paradors are system of hotels set up in Spain during the 1920´s I think. They are setup by the Spanish government, they may be run locally. They are usually a bit more expensive (sometimes a lot more expensive), they tend to cook local dishes to show off the region and most times are located in famous buildings. The one in Ciudad Rodrigo is in the towns castle which is part of the city walls. Took a short walk through some of the public areas of the parador but could not go up the tower of the castle as it is only for hotel guests.
We then climbed up onto the city walls and did the circuit of the town which only takes about 45 minutes but gives great views of the city. The thing I liked about Ciudad Rodrigo is the peacefulness yet having a strong sense of history. There are lots of ancient things from Roman times. The town for a long time has been a border city protecting the region on the border with Portugal and controlling trade routes.
Lunch was needed and after a short search an acceptable place to eat was found in the Plaza Mayor. Much smaller than Salamanca and other main plazas of a town or city it still felt lively and a good place to be. There were tourists but it felt like most of the people eating there were locals. Key things to do when looking for lunch in Spain are, i think,
2. Most of the tables occupied with people speaking Spanish - it means locals are loyal to the place
3. A good clear menu displayed to give you an idea of price and what can be offered really helps. I like to look for a well priced menu of the day (no more than 10€ but less if I can)
The place in Ciudad Rodrigo had good shade and I chose the platos combinados option with lomo fillet and the best morcilla (black pudding) that I have had in Spain so far. Cooked crisp on one side and sift on the other. It was spicer than the others I tried. There were tomatoes and eggs to go with it plus of course a big bowl of bread. I chose the red wine to go with it. When I read the menu you make you choice and it normally says pan and bebida (drinks) included which can be beer, water, coca-cola or wine.
Afterwards I took out my guide book of the city during the napoleonic wars and for the first time in a city could walk along the walls to the exact spots where events took place and people with real names did things. I had a real sense of the history having taken place here.
A great little town not at all boring and worth a short visit.
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