Monday, May 25, 2009

Aranjuez, Chinchón and Arévalo

Over the weekend, I went to 3 places; Aranjuez & Chinchón on Saturday and Arévalo on Sunday.

Aranjuez is just about 50km south of Madrid and is known for its Palacio Real, the summer residence of Spanish kings. It is also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad on Saturday and it prevented me from exploring the Royal Palace grounds. Still, I could see how much effort had gone into creating the gorgeous landscape and French style inspired gardens with several elegant fountains. Aranjuez would have been a great place to explore on foot, hence I will make it a point to return on a good weather day and do the town justice with some proper shots.

The rain in Spain…

Thankfully, the bad weather cleared up as I got to Chinchón, just another few kilometers away. It’s a pretty simple, small town with its key landmarks being the Plaza Mayor and the old Castle.
The roughly circular Plaza Mayor is Chinchón's most emblematic landmark, surrounded by 3 storey houses all connected with running balconies. Sometimes used as a bull ring, it is where most of the town’s activities take place.

The ruins of Castillo de Chinchón, overlooking the cluster of houses in its town.

Around Chinchón

On Sunday, I had slightly better luck. Though I could still see rain clouds hanging above, the weather held up pretty well throughout my trip to Arévalo, in the province of Ávila. This town is north-west of Madrid, about 1.5hours away.

Arévalo's ‘USP’ would have to be its Mudejar style (Romanesque with Arabic influence) architecture and buildings made mainly with bricks.

And oh yes, how can I forget. There’s also the Castle of Arévalo (where in Spain is there no castle?!), which has been around since the 14th century but is currently undergoing a facelift, losing its originality much to my dismay.

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