Back in Spain

We came from Saint-Jean-de-Luz in France yesterday to Zamora, Spain. Now, I know I owe you posts on some day-trips we took last week, and one on Saint-Jean-de-Luz (“appalling” might sum it up), but our return to Spain has been pretty amazing, so I’m going to skip ahead. I will fit in those last two France posts Real Soon Now.

We stayed in Zamora ten or twelve years ago and decided to make it our first stop on our “Greatest Hits of Spain” tour this year: towns we’ve visited and loved in the past. No big cities or new places this trip, just smaller, loved places. Honestly, we had not expected Zamora to be as great as we’ve found it already.

Our first experience: we went out for a walk after we arrived and as it was a little warm (about 88F) we soon got to a point where we were tired, thirsty and hungry: time for refreshment and a sit-down. We found a small bar which was, miraculously, air-conditioned, and ordered two beers and some tapas. Over the next 45 minutes or so, we had those beers (muy frio) and eight tapas – four each. When the bill came I was shocked: 9€, about $11. And the tapas had been substantial enough that we skipped a full dinner. Not a bad start.

Then we walked down to the castillo at the western end of the old town to see the sunset. While there we heard from inside the castillo the overture to the famous opera Carmen (set in Spain), then the sound of flamenco dancers warming up. As there was a line of people at the entrance to the castillio (at 9 o’clock at night) we wondered what was up. So we joined the line, entered and found that we were part of the audience for a flamenco performance by a famous mother-daughter team of bailoras (women flamenco dancers) and their students. It was fabulous. Laurie and I know enough about flamenco to know good from mediocre, and this was far better than good. The daughter was great, and the mother absolutely hypnotizing. When she finished her dance, the audience went nuts. She is evidently quite famous in Spain (she’s from Seville, a center of flamenco), as we mentioned her to someone we met the next day and he was was amazed that we’d seen her. The cost for this performance, performed in a courtyard of a thousand-year-old castle, under beautiful warm skies, was extravagant: 0 Euros. Converted to dollars, that’s $0. Pretty amazing, we think.

The castillo of Zamora. We were watching this beautiful sunset when we heard flamenco dancers warming up inside the castillo.
Sure enough, there was flamenco! Really good flamenco at that.

Our hotel here is one of Paradores chain, in a converted convent from the 1700s. It’s nice. Very nice. As in, 4-star nice. After where we stayed in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, it’s a freaking palace.

So, we love Zamora! More tomorrow on the eleven Romanesque churches within ten minutes of our hotel, the walls, the plazas, the…whatever we find!

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One Response to Back in Spain

  1. Susan says:

    As you know, we absolutely loved Zamora, too. Don’t forget to check out the tapestries!
    Also, there is a museum dedicated to one of the local artists. I forget the artist’s name, but I enjoyed it very much.

    What happened in St. Jean de Luz? I just loved that town. We stayed in a cute, old-fashioned hotel, and had great food there.

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