DAY TRIP!!!!–Los Arribes del Duero y Fermoselle…

As you can probably tell by the title, we had another excursion this weekend–Only this time, it was only a day trip…And, as noted in the title, we first went to Los Arribes del Duero–a protected natural area that consists of deep valleys forged by the river Duero, located in the NE region of the province of Salamanca…It forms a natural border between Spain and Portugal–and as you can tell from the pictures, it’s not to bad to look at…

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In addition to all this natural stuff, the we also got to see some of the many species of birds-of-prey that they keep here in the park–eagles, and vultures, and owls (oh my)…

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After visiting the park, we went to “Durius-Zorita”, a modern-day bodega (winery–they also make really good olive oil)/5-star hotel, where we learned more about the complicated processes involved with making/drinking and appreciating wine–I felt like I was in the movie Sideways (which I duly recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it)…

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…Don’t know how well you can see it, but all of these are barrels of wine…

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…I personally prefer vino blanco (white wine)–but, oh well…

Then we headed on over to Fermoselle, a medieval city close to the Duero in the province of Zamora…But before we could see anything else we had to get serious business out the way first–lunch, of course!!!!

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…Gambas al ajillo (Shrimp with garlic)

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…Entrecot de ternera con patatas fritas y pimientos del piquillo (Sirloin steak with French fries and piquillo peppers)…And for dessert–

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arroz con leche (rice with milk [honestly the best part of the meal])…Simple, yet delicious

Then it was off to the Castillo de Fermoselle (yay, castles!!), which was once the fortress/residence of Doña Urraca (1148-1188), daughter of Alfonso I of Portugal (1109-1185)…During La Guerra de los Comunidades (1520-1522), the Obispo (Bishop) Acuña–one of the leaders of the rebellion against Carlos I–sought refuge here…Unfortunately for him, he was later tortured to death after the war, and (sucks for the rest of us) the castle was completely destroyed out of spite–so we only had ruins to look at, :-/…

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…The smallest olive tree I’ve ever seen…

Next, we hit up the bodega of “El Pulijón”–the largest seña (social club) in the town–but this wasn’t just any old bodega–it’s subterranean!!…It’s at least as old as the city itself (around 800 years), and it’s been recently affirmed to have been a safe refuge for many Jews after their expulsion in 1492…I’m not going to lie–I have the distinct impression that this place might be haunted…

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Finally, before heading back to Salamanca, we made a short stop at La Presa (Dam) de Almendra, which is located along the border of Salamanca and Zamora…

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All-in-all, it wasn’t a bad excursion–but I can’t say I enjoyed it more than the North…

So, for any of ya’ll reading out there: Have you ever been to Los Arribes–and if so, how’d you like it???…

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