Oropesa, Spain – January 17, 2011
We began our day in fog in Pozuelo de Alarcón. We ended our day in fog in Pozuelo de Alarcón. In the interim, we drove over 320 kilometers (199 miles). At the start, not only was it foggy, but it was dark too. In fact, it was dark for a large portion of our drive to the southwest.
Finally, after nearly two hours, we made it to our first stop, Oropesa. It is a beautiful, small town centered around a Parador. A Parador is a hotel, usually in an old castle or palace, that the government subsidizes to a certain extent.
We found a parking spot and began walking toward the Parador. On our way, the first store we came to was Exposicion el Castillo (The Castle Exhibition) on Calle Hospital, 36. There were many beautiful items in the shop. We settled on and bought a beautiful, hand-embroidered table runner.
Leaving the shop, we continued our walk to the Parador. We stopped inside for a cup of coffee and to use the restroom. This Parador is in an old palace. It was very striking on the interior.
It was disappointing that the fog enveloped the entire countryside. From where we sat in the Parador dining area, looking out the large picture window, I am certain the view would have been spectacular. After leaving the Parador, we walked through several streets in town taking photographs.
Since we were near the town of Talavera de la Reina, an area renowned for its ceramic tile, there were many examples of ceramic tile on many of the houses and businesses in Oropesa. Some of them were quite striking while others bordered on gaudy.
When we finished touring the town, we returned to the car and headed toward Lagartera.
Lagartera, a small town only about seven kilometers (four miles) southwest of Oropesa. Prior to our trip today, we had done some research on the area. We knew Lagartera is renowned for embroidery on items such as tablecloths and bedspreads.
Once there, we happened into the store, Bordados de Lagartera (Lagartera Embroidery). The woman that greeted us was the owner of the store, Rocio Lozano Montero. She was extremely nice and friendly. We bought a tablecloth from her. It came with 15 embroidered napkins that matched the tablecloth. They were amazing in their detail and beauty. She enjoyed Leslie’s enthusiasm so much, that in addition to the items we bought, she gave us a gift of an embroidered toilet paper roll holder. It is an embroidered fabric that holds up to three rolls of toilet paper.
After our purchase, we decided to make the village of el Puente del Arzobispo (The Archbishop’s Bridge) our last stop of the day. The village is about 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) south of Lagartera.
In el Puente del Arzobispo, we found a quaint little ceramic store, Luis de la Cal Fernandez. According to the business card, it is known for ceramic “hecho y decorado a mano” (made and decorated by hand). At that store we bought twelve soup bowls, a large serving bowl, and some hand-painted tiles. The tiles had local scenes painted on them.
The son of the owner of the store suggested we try the restaurant el Alfar (The Pottery) for lunch. It was essentially across the street. We went there, carrying our purchases. I had the menu del dia (menu of the day). The first plate was a bowl of bean soup. It was delicious! For the second plate, Leslie had a pork dish and I had a small steak. We topped it off with coffee. During the meal, we also had a glass of red wine. All of that came to 16€ (US$19.52), quite a deal!
After lunch we walked through the town. One of the sites we saw was the church of Santa Catalina. According to a sign on the side of the church, it dates from the 14th century. From the church, we wound our way to the bridge from which the town takes its name, el Puente del Arzobispo. It, like the church, dates from the 14th century. The age of sites in Spain never cease to amaze me!
Finished with our exploring, we got back in the car and drove home. It was still foggy, but not as bad as the early morning.