Thursday, February 11, 2010

Buitrago Del Lozoya, Madrid

As they say, have food will travel.

Last Sunday, 10 friends in 3 cars travelled 45mins up north from Madrid city to a small town called Buitrago del Lozoya – in search of the recommended Cordero Lechal (suckling lamb) for lunch.

Buitrago del Lozoya is a quaint & picturesque little town surrounded by the meander of the River Lozoya, and noted for having the best preserved fortress walls in the province of Madrid.

As like many towns in Spain, Buitrago del Lozoya was first founded by the Romans and later taken over by the Muslims who were responsible for building the fortress before the Reconquest by the Christians. While the Castle is mostly in ruins now, the town walls are still intact. Today, the town has expanded and urbanized beyond its medieval origins enclosed in the 800m long wall.

Above: Aerial view of the town, picture taken from here.

Back to the lunch. The restaurant we went to was aptly named Las Murallas (The Walls) and it is located within the walls in Plaza de la Constitución.

Above: Check out the delicious roasted leg of lamb before he cuts it up for serving!

Above: We had a few dishes for sharing and THE most outstanding of all, was of course, the roasted suckling lamb. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. ¡Madre mía!
Check out their website here.

After the heavy lunch, it was time to explore the town and hopefully burn some calories!

Above, left: The Church of Santa Maria del Castillo.

The Church of Santa Maria del Castillo, which is the parish church of the town, has undergone some major restorations since being built in 1321. It has a Mudéjar style tower, a reflection of the Muslim influence in this town.

Above: The Clock Tower which used to function as a Watch Tower that protected the main entrance of the enclosure.

Above: Las Murallas (The Walls). The high walls can be visited between noon to 1pm from Wednesdays to Sundays. The walls together with the ruined Castle were declared National Monuments in 1931.

Outside the ruins of the Castle. The seemingly well-preserved exterior confines the former courtyard where it is now mainly used for bullfighting events and other social gatherings & festivals.

Above: Puente del Arrabal (The Old Bridge of Arrabal)

One other highlight of this town which is located outside the walls though, is the Town Hall building which interestingly houses a small Picasso Museum that displays some works of the famous artist, collected by his friend and barber (!) who used to live in this town.

Above: A distance away from the town there is the Dam of El Villar, situated at one of the network of reservoirs in that area. The height of the dam is about 50m and the water collected here is supplied as drinking water to most of the Province of Madrid.

Above: On the other side, downstream from the Dam.

For a little known town like this, they actually have a tourist office that provides maps and guides (although it is almost entirely in Spanish) and a pretty comprehensive website!

To find out more about Buitrago del Lozoya, check out their official website here.


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