Spain, Le Bodega de San Segundo, Ávila

The sun was still shining so we returned to the walls and climbed them again to visit the shorter southern section which in the late afternoon autumn sunshine gave marvellous views of the barren boulder strewn plain west of the city and the mountains beyond.  It didn’t take long to walk around this part of the walls and when we had completed the short route we returned to the cathedral square where the tall building was changing colour in a chameleon sort of way from granite grey to crimson red as the sun began to dip and bathed it in an warm rosy glow.

It looked as though there might be a sunset opportunity in a short while, which we calculated to be about an hour so while we waited we returned to the hotel and had a drink in a subterranean bar with an attractive waitress with the tightest, shortest skirt in Ávila.  I wasn’t paying a lot of attention of course but it was black and leather with decorative stitching around the hem and zigzag patterns around the waistband and sides and dainty silver buttons down the front and … then I was caught  so I’m afraid can’t go into any real further detail about the design.

We were right about the sunset but our calculations were not completely accurate because we had failed to take into account the effect of the mountains of the Sierra de la Paramera y Serrota that snatched the sun away sooner than we had really anticipated and we had to be quick to get to the elevated western side of the old city to get a good vantage point to enable Kim to take some pictures of the spectacle with her magic sunset camera and once the show was over we returned to the Palacio de Los Velada and our thoughts turned to evening meal.

After a short rest and a change of clothes we reassembled in the underground bar and had a drink before moving on and returning to Le Bodega de San Segundo for our evening meal where a table was prepared and waiting for us.  I think the staff were still rather perplexed by our insistence that they select the food and the wine and checked for a final time that we really meant it so we assured them that we did and the food began to arrive.  First a creamy mushroom tapas dish and then a selection of ham, a plate of mushrooms and a mixed salad and by the time the speciality of the region and the house arrived we were on our second bottle of house rioja.

The speciality is Chuletón de Ávila, which is a large T-bone steak cooked to perfection and made from Avileña-Negra Ibérica, the indigenous black cow of central Spain and famous for the quality of its meat.  Actually it was a bit too rare for Sue and Christine and Sue declined to eat it but Christine barely noticed because she was starting her fourth glass of red wine.  If the main course wasn’t completely to their liking this was certainly not the case with the tray of shared sweets which completed the meal and the plate of pastries and local delicacies didn’t take very long at all to clear.  It had been a good idea and an excellent meal so as we paid up we arranged a repeat performance for the following night and left replete and contented.

It was a dark night and we walked back the short distance through the city gates and the towering wall of the cathedral guarded by a row of stone lions illuminated by yellow street lights which gave an atmospheric waxy glow to the buildings and the cobbled streets.  It was the end of a good day in Ávila and over a final beer and another red wine for Christine we made our plans for visiting nearby Segovia on the next day and I promised to set the alarm clock.

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