Castilla y León
(AS SEEN IN EPISODE 109, “Castillian Hog Heaven” AND EPISODE 110, “Gawking at Gaudí and Asturian Adventures”)
Castilla y León, Spain’s largest autonomia, has something nearly mystical, even mythical about it. It’s said that the castles (castillas) near Ávila inspired Walt Disney when he constructed Sleeping Beauty’s famous castle. Salamanca, one of the area’s most visited cities, if often referred to as the ‘golden city’ since its buildings are all constructed with villamayor stone, a type of rock that almost blushes. Segovia’s Roman aqueduct is in such good form, it feels as though you’ve stepped back hundreds of years when you stand under one of its many arches. The Castillian pigs are perhaps the most mystical inhabitants of the area—this is where Spain’s best, most famed jamón comes from, where black-footed pigs roam through fields of acorn trees and Claudia’s porcine affection proves to be just about as serious as Mario’s.
Mesón de Cándido
After a tour of the aqueduct, Mark and Claudia ate at this restaurant and enjoyed its famous suckling pig that’s so famously crispy, it can be 'cut' with a dinner plate.
Practical Information: Plaza del Azoguejo, 5, Segovia, +34.921425911, www.mesondecandido.es
A wonderful restaurant in the otherwise not-too-exciting city of Valladolid. Mark and Claudia savored the amazing lechazo. Also have a bottle of the Vega Sicilia if you can.
Practical Information: Calle Fernández de la Torre, 2, Valladolid, +34.983373822, www.restaurantelacriolla.es
Parador de Ávila
A sixteenth century palace, this Parador sits conveniently in the center of Ávila and has a beautiful garden.
Practical Information: Marqués de Canales de Chozas, 2, +34.920211340 www.parador.es
Hotel Ávila Golf
This hotel is located on a golf course; needless to say, Mario loved staying here.
Practical Information: Carretera Antigua de Cebreros, km 3, +34.920359200, www.fontecruz.com/avila-golf-hotel
Parador de Ciudad Rodrigo
A fourteenth century castle overlooking the Águeda River, about fifty miles from Salamanca, this Parador is a thinker’s paradise—sit in the courtyard or on the grounds and contemplate the landscape.
Practical Information: Plaza Castillo, 1, 37500 Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, +34.923460150 www.parador.es
Parador de la Granja
An old royal property about seven miles from Segovia, this Parador consists of the prince’s house (now the hotel) and bodyguard barracks (now a conference center).
Practical Information: Calle de los Infantes, 3, 40100 La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, +34.921010750 www.parador.es
AC Palacio de Santa Ana
Another reliable hotel from the AC group. This one has a nice swimming pool.
Practical Information: Calle Santa Ana, s/n, Valladolid, +34.983330300, www.ac-hotels.com
The Aqueduct, where Mark and Claudia learned about Segovia’s interesting history.
Practical Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqueduct_of_Segovia
Finca el Gejo, pig heaven where Mark and Claudia learned all about Spain’s best jamón.
Practical Information: Ctra. Matilla de los Caños, Km.17 - Barbadillo, Salamanca
Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, where the film Vantage Point was filmed and where Mark and Claudia spent an afternoon.
Practical Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Plaza_Mayor_Salamanca.jpg
Aldeamayor Club de Golf, where Mario played a round of golf in a laid-back links course.
Practical Information: 47162 Aldeamayor de S. Martin (Valladolid), Tel: +34.983552463