We are so glad the tourist information lady in Santiago de Compostela pointed us in the direction of Zamora. Seems like its a hidden treasure, so much so that we decided to stay two nights! We weren’t too sure what to expect, but boy were we pleasantly surprised when we arrived. Zamora is 62km north of Salamanca, and according to the guide book is one of the quietest of the great Castilian cities, with a population of just 65,000. It’s old quarters are walled and medieval in appearance, with orange/yellow sandstone. They are a spectacular site as you enter the city! The other half of the city is more modern and has all the makings of a nice Spanish city.
The city is crossed by the Rio Duero at is widest point by a lovely sixteen-arched bridge that we stayed right next to. We found our overnight stay on campercontact.com and when we find them we are never too sure they are the right place. But after having it confirmed by the tourist information, we were happy to stay. It was a car park again, but free and welcoming to motorhomes. With a short walk along the river, you’re right in the heart of this medieval city!
The first thing we noticed about Zamora is how quiet it really is. People were ambling by our motorhome as they walked into the city along the river, mostly with their little dogs in town. Some running, some cycling, all seemed to be taking full advantage of the open spaces and fresh air of the river. We made some dinner and set up bed for the night, so we could get up bright and early to venture into the city.
As morning came, we took a slow walk into the city over the most beautiful bridge.
We weren’t too sure where we were going as the guide book was missing a map (and our phones were dead) so we just walked (and walked) until we found a hotel next to a gorgeous Church, full of Canadians (the hotel, not the church). A bit random we thought to find so many North Americans in one place, must be some kind of seminar or company meeting we thought. The other thing that struck us was that there was a tv crew parked outside, seemingly waiting for someone!
I went in and asked for a map so we knew where we were in this little city, and made our way to the Plaza Major where we found the most beautiful cathedral via a steep, gorgeous street with balcony-clad, seemingly deserted, houses.
We’ve learnt already that you cant really call out one cathedral over another as beautiful, as my oh my they all are in Spain! Such lush architecture and grandure.
The joy of Zamora lies in its quiet, western old town quarter, where you can find 23 pale stone Romanesque churches, yes 23 in one city. Each with its own beautiful architecture, the majority of them date back to the twelfth century.
Not only does Zamora have 23 churches, (verified by Tourist Information) but it also has it’s very own castle. Next to Zamora’s cathedral lies the impressive moated remains of an eleventh-century Castillo where you can wonder around and take in the history. Also free to enter, which is a real bonus and housing some really cool art pieces/sculptures to compliment its history. It is clearly well looked after. It is surrounded by a beautiful park, and so we let Ethan have a little crawling/practicing walking time whilst we set a plan of action for the rest of the day…with one particular mission in mind!
We keep reminding ourselves of how important it is to let him have time to move about, as the motorhome is short on baby/toddler/crawling space! Of course, this will improve greatly when we get some sunny weather and we can stay in one place long enough!
The mission further discussed, we had a major priority on our hands. After 9 days of being on the road, we had built up a crazy amount of washing. From muddy trousers to strawberry stained jumpers, we really need to do some laundry. Luckily enough we found a great self service laundry in town, and after going back to the motorhome so Jen could do some blogging and Terry walking Ethan up and down the river for two hours whilst he had his afternoon nap, we all headed to the laundromat and sat and entertained Ethan for an hour as our clothes got some bubbly treatment! Interesting, in ‘smart’ laundromats, you do not need to put your own washing powder in, its included. Thank goodness as we forgot ours!
Whilst heading back at the motorhome once more, we caught a glimpse of the evening sunset which was just gorgeous. Our first stunning sunset since we’ve been on the road. Wow, just wow.
All in all, we just loved Zamora. We have realised since staying in the smaller cities, that they are much more accessible and easier to navigate and therefore enjoy, with a baby than the larger cities. We are off to Salamanca tomorrow so will let you know if we are proved right! Zamora felt like a little secret, yet to be truly discovered. If you have the time, go. It won’t be a secret for much longer.
Travel as they grow verdict: Definitely worth the trip to Zamora! Easy access for babies, even with a pushchair. Some steep walks, but not too many steps to conquer.