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First Day in Spain- Avila

Today I arrived in Spain for the YTP (Young Travel Professional) Fam trip with Petrabax. Upon arrival, we boarded a bus and drove about an hour and a half to Avila, a 15th century medieval town. 

Avila Town View

We checked into our amazing hotel, the Paradores, which feels like it was build into the city wall. The hotel is beautiful and has a antique vibe, which fits perfectly within its' surrounding. My room has a beautiful view of the maze-like gardens, where I can imagine knights in shining armor riding through on their horses. 

After checking in, we had an incredible and lengthy lunch at Puerta del Alcazar where we feasted on salad with soft cheese and lardon; patatas revolcolas, fried pork over mashed potatoes (that were mashed in pork!!!); and- as if that weren't enough- we were then each presented a giant juicy veal steak. The veal came with a sign telling us that it was local. Unfortunately, my stomach has not fully recovered from my food poisioning of Friday, and I was only able to eat a few bites. Just when I thought I was finished, a butter ice cream with three yemas, a local egg yolk confection, appeared in front of me. Even my insatiable sweet tooth could not make a dent. Luckily, a digestive shot and cafe came to my rescue

Avila Cheese Salad  Avila Fried Pork  Avila Veal Steak 

After I stuffed myself silly, we were greeted by our guide, Mercedes, for a tour around the city. I was a bit disappointed that the wall itself was closed on Monday, but we enjoyed exploring the cobblestone streets just the same. The dusk lighting made for incredible photos and the air smelled of a welcoming burning fire.

Avila is the birthplace of Saint Teresa, an important woman well beyond her time. We toured the church of her birthplace and I began noticing a lot of similarities (of course!) between the cathedrals that we saw in Cusco, Peru and Spain. If I had not toured South America, I don’t think that I would pick up on these similarities and it made them all the more important. Spanish churches seem to have their religious icons created from doll-like figures. My guide explained that it was because in Spain Catholicism is so strong and they wanted the images to appear real.

Avila Walls

I really appreciate Europe on a whole different level after seeing other areas of the world. I have very fond memories of past trips to Spain, yet I already know that my previous trips will be very different from this one. I think there is value at seeing Europe at different ages. 

Avila Dinner

Dinner brought on a whole new adventure. We ate at the hotel, which is known for impressing their guests with many courses. The first course was an amuse bouche with olives and single serving fried seafood which tastied almost like calamari. We then feasted on a plate of three dishes; anchovies, cod with canelli beans and an eggplant dish. The anchovy dish was surprising; here, the fish were large, flaky and flavorful, tasting nothing like their American salty, fishy counterparts. The cod was buttery and satisfying. Our main dish was sliced pork with a cinnamon applesauce. The showstopper of the evening was the amazing lemon sorbet dessert. We finished the night with the customary shot and conversation. I had hardly noticed that over two hours went by.

Avila at night
The evening concluded with a walk around the walled city light up at night. The stars were vibrant and the city felt empty. The walk was reminiscent of staying at Mont Saint Michel in France. The clock struck eleven and the lights illuminating the wall went dark. Returning to our hotel, that fire of wanting to continue the night was building in me, as it always does when in Spain. Knowing that it was just the beginning, I reluctantly returned to my room to call it a night.

Read 4831 times Last modified on Monday, 17 November 2014 22:45
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