A Great Little Town is Ciudad Rodrigo

Ciudad Rodrigo Travel Blog

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We had planned to go to Burgos this weekend but on the Thursday we saw the weather forecast for temps of 20 and heavy rain.  Low temps are ok but rain for sighseeing in a town is a real nuisance.  So I thought it would be good to finally go to Ciudad Rodrigo.  My travelling companion asked me what is there to see there it sounds small and very boring. Well we had a great day in the small town (only about 14,000 people and very quick to walk around).
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.
  It is a quick (less than an hour) and cheap bus ride from Salamanca.  The town is made of two parts.  A newer part of the town built over the last 50 or so years with modern flats shops etc.  Then the ancient part of the city.  The walls surrounding it are still intact. I would say that it is less than 1 sq km inside the walls.  To the south of the town walls there is a river with an ancient Roman bridge plus a few more modern bridges. 
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.
. the information office here is good the Spanish is clear and with a new map marked with the key places plus a leaflet with opening times and prices we are set for the day.  First stop is the catherdral tower (the catherdral is not available that day as it is being used for a wedding and some other form of mass).  There is a video about its history and construction over the centuries, a model and a great view from the top where it is possible to see the countryside and all of the city within the walls.  Down the bottom of the tower I look up and can see the where the English cannon shots hit the tower - the holes and the damage still remain today. 
There is an excellent museum with an exhibition of the Napoleonic Wars around the area - paintings, stories, diaries, swords and other things.
  Like a lot of museums in Spain they are free to enter all the time or have free days - the weekends are often free.  Of course I am very pleased to be able to see so much. 
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,
Shade outside - sitting inside is ok but can be too hot
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.
  But sometimes when you ask for wine I am nenver sure how much I will get.  In some places it is a good size glass, others a small glass, others a half bottle and in Ciudad Rodrigo they brought out a clay pot painted blue yellow and green with the word vino on the side.  perhaps a bit more than half a bottle.  Fortunatley there was plenty of bread so that I only needed to sit quietly after lunch for half an hour to have a virtual siesta in the square as I watch life go by.
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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Ciudad Rodrigo
photo by: mkrh