Village of Pedraza

Village of Pedraza

Pedraza, Spain – April 3, 2012


Leslie and I had an enjoyable outing today. She had recently been talking with a friend about places to go in Spain. The friend suggested the small town of Pedraza. We decided we would do that today. Tyler opted to stay home. At about 08:45, when we left the house, it was a chilly, gray day. Now and then there was a raindrop on the windshield, but it was not raining hard.

I decided that on the way to Pedraza, we would take the direct route (back roads) and then coming home on the Autopista (Interstate). To help accomplish that I sat the GPS for the small town of Miraflores de la Sierra. We had gone through there once before when we went to the small village of Rascafria. This time we decided to stop and have a coffee. After walking around a little, we ended up at la Parroquia Restaurante (Parish Restaurant). That was at about 10:00.

I ordered a café americano. Leslie asked for a café con leche. Also, we decided to have pan con tomate. That is toasted bread with a tomato-based sauce that goes on as a spread. They serve olive oil and salt with it. The tomato sauce is cold. While we were waiting for the toasted bread, the bartender gave me the coffees. I took them to our table and went back to the bar to get a small black pan with two cubes of bread. It looked like cornbread; however, it was sweet. I asked the waitress for the name of the bread. She said it was biscocho (biscuit). I told her we liked it, so she brought us two more pieces!

The fountain and a pigeon in the courtyard of the Casa de la Cultura in Miraflores de la Sierra.
Beyond the water-fountain is the main church in the town.
Our walk toward the Plaza de España in Miraflores de la Sierra.
A panoramic view of the Plaza de España.
A typical home with a not so typical sign.
Detail of the sign.
A butcher shop in Miraflores de la Sierra.
Pan con tomate.


Just after we finished the biscocho she brought the pan con tomate. The bread comes dry, with a dish with the tomato sauce. The sauce also contained small diced onions. One drizzles olive oil on the bread first. The sauce is then spooned on and spread. Lastly, one lightly sprinkles salt on top. It was delicious. Quite frankly, that surprised me because I had tried it before and did not like it. It all cost only 4.50€ (US$5.50).

The restaurant atmosphere was rustic, with knotty pine paneling. Pine was the choice for the chairs and tables too. While we were there, at any one time, eight locals were at the bar.

When we left the restaurant in Miraflores de la Sierra, I set our GPS for Pedraza. That took us up the mountain via Puerto de Canecia (mountain pass) with a summit of 1,524 meters (5,000 feet). It was cloudy with a little drizzle.
On the way down the other side, we could see there had been a lot of trees cut down. We assumed it was done primarily for fire control. Then, around one hairpin turn, we encountered a logging truck with a crane/boom, and a giant bulldozer. The vehicle was on one side of the paved road. The other lane was taken up by several felled trees. We sat and waited while the workers cleared a path. The boom picked up several logs at once and placed them on the bed of the truck to open our way. The bulldozer pushed several other trees off the side of the road. When they finally waved us through, I had to fold in my driver’s side mirror to make it by the truck.

A logging operation on the road M-629 between the town of Miraflores de la Sierra and the town of Lozoya.

We ultimately made it to Lozoya, a small town, and began our trip over the next mountain range via the Puerto de Navafria. This summit was a little higher at 1,773 meters (5,816 feet). At the summit, we crossed from the province of Madrid to the region of Segovia. It was lightly raining.

A portion of the town of Lozoya with the Pinilla Reservoir in the background.


In the forest, on the way down, we kept seeing a sign that said “Zona de Caza Controlado,” which means a controlled hunting area. I am not exactly sure what that means.

We made it to the Village of Pedraza at noon. We parked just outside the city walls and walked into the village through the only gate. Once inside the walls of the town, we walked toward the castle. Along the way, we stopped at several shops.

Our first view of the village of Pedraza from the road SG-V-2316.

In one of the shops, la Tienda, located at Calle Mayor 6, we bought a postcard. The postcard was a drawing depicting one of the main gates into the city, Arco de la Villa de Pedraza. The coat of arms above the arch is dated 1561. At the arch, there is only enough width for one vehicle to pass at a time. Just inside the gate are two old wooden doors. They look like they could easily close at any time.

This is the only entry point to the village of Pedraza. It is tall but narrow.
A closer view of the Puerta de la Villa.
View of Casa del Águila Imperial (Imperial Eagle House) from the gate to Pedraza.
Detail of the coat of arms above the village gate. The date on it reads 1561.
A man entering Pedraza through the gate.
Leslie waiting for me as I take photographs along Calle Real.
A Telefonica van parked on Calle Real.
A car navigates the narrow road, Calle Cordo Villa. The bell tower of Iglesia de San Juan Bautista is visible in the distance.
The church bell tower as seen from Plaza Mayor.
The flags are at the entry to the village hall.
A building on the north side of Plaza Mayor.
View of the church from Calle Mayor.
The beautiful and quaint street, Calle Mayor.
A very unique door knocker on Calle Mayor.

From our vehicle to the castle, we walked about one kilometer. When we arrived at the castle, there was a sign on the door that said the next tour would be at 13:30. It was about 13:00, so we sat near the door and waited. Massive four-inch iron spikes covered most of the door. It looked very formidable.

The Pedraza Castle in the distance.
Looking to the northeast from the main entry to the castle.
The valley on the north side of the castle.
View to the southwest along the front of the castle.
Looking southeast along a portion of the village wall.
A portion of the southernmost turret.
Cattle in a paddock in the valley of the Arroyo del Vadillo (Vadillo Stream).
Mountains to the south.
The main entrance to the Pedraza Castle.
The coat of arms above the castle entrance. It is the same as the one above the village gate. The only thing missing is the date, 1561.
Detail of the spikes on the castle entry door.
Looking back to the village from the castle.

When the door opened, we paid a total of 12€ (US$14.64) to enter. As it ended up, it was mainly a museum for the painter Ignacio Zuloaga. I had not heard of him before this. He was born in 1870. It seems, he was good friends with the French artist, Toulouse-Lautrec in the 1890s. Beginning in about 1903 he became friends with the sculptor Auguste Rodin. A few years later he exchanged some letters with Pablo Picasso.

Our tour guide said some of the arches in the castle are from Roman times. The villa itself dates from the 15th century.

The tour went through some of the grounds. It included a trip into the cistern, originally used for a domestic water source. Much like the Alcazar in the city of Segovia, the castle is at the point of a cliff, so three sides are impossible to assault. The only possible entry is the one we used.

One of several doors inside the walls of the castle.
A bust in the corner of the castle garden.
The main entry to the castle.
A pathway through an archway.
A view down the path.
These stairs lead to the cistern.
A poster at the entry to the castle advertising a bullfight on April 17, 1897.
Our tour guide standing near an odd-shaped tree.
A niche in the courtyard.
The north tower of the castle.
Looking north down the valley where the Arroyo del Vadillo and the Arroyo Encinarejo join.
Another courtyard niche.
The niche contains several crosses and a pieta of Mary and Jesus.

From the internal courtyard, we climbed the stairs to the upper floor. At that level, we entered into a room with several works of Ignacio Zuloaga on display. Some of my favorites included:

We returned to the ground level and entered into another room with several works by the artist. The one that struck me was:


The tour, while interesting, was not worth 6€ each.

When we left the castle, we walked a few hundred meters and found el Corral de Joaquina. While we were walking toward the restaurant, we could smell the smoke from its fireplace. Since it was such a chilly, gray day, it really smelled good.

Interior of the restaurant, el Corral de Joaquina.


We went into the dining room and prepared for a good lunch. For the first course, Leslie ordered a mixed salad. It was huge! It contained lettuce, tuna, black olives, onions, tomatoes, and hearts of palm. I ordered the sopa castellana, a hearty soup. The broth is light brown containing bread, lamb fat, diced ham, and a boiled egg.

For the main course, Leslie and I split a bacalao plate. Bacalao is a firm white fish. A large piece, about two inches thick, was in the center of the plate surrounded by several mussels and a couple of roasted red peppers. It was all covered in a light red sauce that tasted like the red peppers. It was incredibly delicious.

When we finished lunch, we opted for coffee instead of dessert. Our total bill came to 35€ (US$42.71), including a half-bottle of red wine. We were delighted with our restaurant selection.

A coat of arms above a door at Plaza Mayor.
A small barred window along Calle Real.
A unique corner window on this building.
The archway leads one back through the village gate.
Outside the gate, one can see the height of a portion of the village wall.

We walked back to our car and headed toward the A-1 Autopista. As we were driving the heavens opened up. It rained very, very hard. We were lucky this did not happen while we were out walking around.

We made it home at about 17:00.

For dinner, Leslie made a killer baked chicken. In the cavity, she placed 1/2 of an onion, 1/2 of an orange, and 1/2 of a bunch of garlic, then rubbed the chicken with herb butter. Over that were strips of bacon covering the chicken. She placed the other half of the onion and the garlic, cut-side down in the baking pan. About every 20-minutes she pulled the chicken out of the oven and basted it in its juices. After a little more than an hour, she took off the bacon and put the chicken back in the oven to allow the skin to get crispy. When the chicken was ready, she made gravy with the juices in the baking pan and served it with mashed potatoes and corn. Wow! It was heavenly!

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