Short story- the baby suckling lamb got eaten and the wolf remained hidden!
Mon 04/07/16: Time to leave lovely Segovia with again a few more stops on the way out to see if we could get that magical picture of the viaduct that Segovia is famed for-but No not for us. We had decided not to go too far, but rather than straight to Valladolid to head for a small village on the River Duero that is the ‘capital’ of that wine region- Penafiel. The Duero wines are up there as some of the most popular in Spain and would be the better known ones exported as well. As we drove the short distance to that area so the number of vines increased and increased, it was lovely to see as they actually had fruit and were full and bushy. Our new camp site was lovely and the weather warm and barmy, so we decided on a short orientation tour into the town as most of the bodegas were closed being a Monday. The town is overlooked by a magnificent castle of which underneath are the cellars and at the foot the headquarters of the lead wine maker of this region -Protos. The actual town besides this was a mix of new and old, wealthy and not so wealthy. The sky by then was turning a bit moody and so we decided to head back as we had left all the roof windows open and it was a good job we did as the heavens opened as we neared the camp and it was in a true tormenta that I knocked up a lovely chicken curry.
Tues 05/07/16: Time for a bit of wine tasting or wine touring. A lot of Spanish bodegas are only booked tours and tastings, so we made sure of our 1pm tour of Protos beforehand and then headed off to chance our luck at another vineyard as recommended by our campsite host. The drive up to it was amazing and there was certainly no money spared on the building, super modern, but unfortunately tours had to be booked and no tasting was to be had. So we took the word of our host and that of the lovely young receptionist as to her favourite and brought 3 bottles of white from Bodegas Pago de Carraovejas. Not a cheap date so it was good that we were stopping on an Aire in Valladolid that evening to help balance the books!. The Protos tour was very interesting and the cellars amazing, wines again very good and a good price range –so 3 at the cheaper end were purchased before jumping into NiKi and heading for Valladolid. Valladolid is more of a working city than Segovia and it appealed to us because we have been continually tutored on how to pronounce it and having mastered it (or so we think) we thought we should head there. It’s not a disappointment either, with the Plaza Mayor being quite lovely and the Aire only a short distance from it. After parking up we had another cook-in of chicken (being frugal, the 2 breasts purchased made for 2 dinners) with mint and orange. This is actually a Spanish dish and is one of my repertoires from home.
Wed 06/07/16: A visit in the town to a wonderful museum –Museo National de Escultura which houses the most amazing exhibition of polychrome wood sculptures. Not a clue, no me neither until I got there and essentially it’s carvings from churches, monasteries etc, the altars and figures that are painted on wood. Not everyone’s taste but some of them were jaw dropping and you had to admire the history as most of them dated from 1400-1500’s. This tour was the prelude to our lunch of the area’s speciality- oven roasted baby suckling lamb. David as you can imagine was more than keen to try this and we had done our research and opted for a lunchtime visit to La Parrilla de San Lorenzo- as per LP “A much lauded restaurant in the evocative setting of a former 16th century monastery” The lamb wasn’t really for me, a bit too big and a bit too young in my head, but the bit I did taste was really melt in mouth and David thoroughly enjoyed his little Larry the lamb. Oddity for us English people who are more use to lamb with roasties or new potatoes this came with a salad and no mint sauce! Unfortunately this was a menu del dia option and along with yet another visit to Decathlon on top of the wine purchases we had completely blown the budget.
Thurs 07/07/16: Time to leave Valladolid and continue our journey to the northern coastline and after a run of a few cities we opted for a bit of country living again in the Sierra de la Culebra famed for its beauty and being home to 30% of Europe’s wolf population. On route to end our city run we stopped at Zamora, which again was on the River Duero and turned out to be a delightful little town. We had a lovely selection of tapa’s here as per a LP recommendation in the old town. These were paid for tapa but the choice was unusual and we opted for mushroom arroz, veg lasagne, tosta de solomillo de tres mostazas. They were all such a decent size that they actually sustained us for that day. Or at least me with David opting for a homemade burger on our new campsite.
Fri 08/07/16: A rarity for us, up at 5.30 and out to go wolf watching in the local countryside. Unfortunately on that day the wolves kept themselves well and truly out of sight as did most other animals as well. We did however have a very educational tour of the area with our guide and learnt a lot about wolves, their habits and about the countryside which was all made much easier by fellow wolf watchers who helped with the translation and made it all very entertaining. We had already decided that as we had had an early start and didn’t get back until gone 1pm that we would have a BBQ more or less straight way – baby lamb chops (not too young this time) bbq’d to perfection by David plus salads. We did try and waft the smell out into the air just in case a nearby wolf wanted to pop and join us, but none did.
Sat 09/07/16: Time for some exercise so bikes down and a wonderful downhill cycle to the nearby border of Portugal and then onto a small but delightful ‘one horse’ Spanish town called Riomanzanas The country side here really is stunning, lots of forests, mountains and amazing vistas but like all downhills there has to be an uphill back and even with our electric bikes it was quite tough getting back to camp especially in the heat of the day, but the ‘Lecky Bikers’ made it back to base and we rewarded ourselves with a light refreshment in the site’s bar, restaurant. We were again to cook-in, so 2 nights in a row now and amazingly we had managed to plan ahead before we left the cities and have enough food, unlike normally where we leave huge supermarkets
and then have to shop in Arkwright’s corner store. Not an overly exciting dinner, pasta with fresh baby tomatoes and mint livened up with some fresh chilli. Not for everyone, but a quick spice fix for me and a lamb free option for David
Sun 10/07/16: Sea side here we come and again after reading LP we decided to keep to the border and head for A Guarda, a fishing port renowned for its seafood and overlooking Portugal on the River Minho’s estuary. So very top of Portugal and lower edge of Spain. A long drive of over 300k’s but the drive passed quickly as the landscape changed continually with more mountains, forests and greenness. The campsite is right on the estuary and we chose our pitch overlooking this with a delightful view across the water to Portugal. Even though after 4 when we arrived the restaurant was open and serving a good value menu at €10. Only 2 choices for starter and main and unusually we opted for the same starter of gazpacho. This was very interesting as it was served with bits of watermelon and I think flavoured with the melon as well, very nice. Main course for me was rice with prawns and David had some lovely small tender pork ribs. A good walk was needed after this and we did about 5 miles into the actual port and then along the lovely estuary beaches. The weather is distinctly cooler than the south but still about 25, but a heavy mist was hanging over the nearby mountain which also shrouded the port, making it not look as inviting as it might. We will try again tomorrow and see what the fish is all about here.
Well done Murray and Portugal.