Tue 17th Oct., Zamora
Where to start? Perhaps with a weather report. We had slept for something like 11 hours, which tells just how much we needed the break. We awoke to blue skies, which within half an hour had turned into rain, then general grayness, then, a bit later in the day, million kph winds, then an attempt at rain, and now as I write this blog to general grayness. The "million" might be a slight exaggeration, but I do hope that it's a bit gentler tomorrow when we're back on the track.
Yesterday Janet had made an appointment for a visit to la peluquería, which gave me some time to wander around aimlessly. So I went and purchased two new credeciales (not sure we'll need them, but they are a good backup) and the various men who directed me to the right place to do so were delightfully friendly, got a sello in the current credenciales, and then wandered.
For anyone who hasn't quite been tracking us geographically, the map below shows where we are. In two days we'll turn left at Granja de Moreruela, and then slowly wend our way west-nor- west to Santiago, sort of hugging the northern border with Portugal before turning deeper into Galicia.
As with yesterday’s post, there's almost no in-depth commentary today, just a few photos with some annotations.
Above: I love the architecture of this place
Above: some Romanesque churches (nos. 2 and 3 are the back of the cathedral). Got the Romanesque mostly figured out now (thanks @graemeh and a bit of Googling). I can now distinguish in my mind these buildings from, say, the magnificent León cathedral , with its stunning leadlights.
It dawned on me this afternoon that these churches are remarkably clean and in good condition, given that most of them are 8/900 years old. It's therefore fairly obvious that either the diocese or the ayuntamiento have put some fairly recent effort into restoring them to this level. I then noticed that all the new buildings nearby are in a very complementary style and appearance - extensive use of limestone and the like so that nothing in the whole precinct jars aesthetically. Very thoughtful town planning it seems.
A fun shot. The back of la Iglesia de San Pedro y San Ildefonso. At the end of this small calle the little apartment you can see on the left has been our home for 3 nights.
Because this town sits high over the River Duero it provides some fabulous views. Below are three from a vantage point close to where we are staying:
The bridge in the first photo is called the Stone Bridge, or maybe the New Bridge. Here's a bit of history:
The origin of the current bridge dates back to the 13th century, but over time it has undergone numerous reconstructions and repairs.
Of the first bridge or Old Bridge, which is mentioned in numerous documents of the time and which could have collapsed, according to some authors, during the earthquake of the year 939, the remains of six piles and the foundations of others are barely preserved, in addition to the removal of a pair of barrel vaults.
A legend cited by Fernández Duro in 1882 relates that Saint Atilano, first bishop of the diocese of Zamora (c. 850-916), fleeing from the Muslims, crossed the old bridge, which collapsed after his passage, so that "he reproduced the miracle of the Red Sea, the pursuing troop perishing in the Duero."
From its earliest moments, the bridge towers were considered one of the keys to the city's fortification. At the beginning of the war of succession to the throne of Henry IV of Castile (1475-1479), they were kept by Fernando de Valdés, who had sworn loyalty to Isabel de Trastámara, and since 1476, by royal privilege, Pedro de Mazariegos, to whose family it was left, linked to the mayor's office of the towers. That same year of 1476, shortly before the battle of Toro, the Portuguese destroyed some arches in their retreat to prevent the troops of the Catholic Monarchs from pursuing them.
At the beginning of the 17th century, the north tower was in a state of ruin, so in 1614 it was rebuilt as a classic triumphal arch, a simple door with two sections, the lower one with a semicircular arch and the upper one with the shield. royal and the arms of the city, all topped with a triangular pediment with molded cornices and three pyramids with balls.
In 1812, during the War of Independence, the central vault of the bridge was blown up to prevent the entry of Napoleonic troops. After the war, the beneficiaries of the portage, who at that time were the nuns of the convent of Santa Clara de Terdesillas, refused to finance the reconstruction, so a provisional wooden passage was enabled.
The Royal Academy of San Fernando commissioned a report on the state of the bridge. In the plan that accompanied it, made in 1820 by the architect Blas de Vega, it can be seen that at the northern end there was an arch that gave access to the bridge from the city and surely prevented the parking of carriages on the deck during the hours nocturnal.
The remodeling works on the bridge were constant throughout the 19th century and its cost represented a continuous expense for the City Council's coffers, although the results were not on par. In 1840 the road that linked Villacastín and Vigo reached Zamora; coming from Salamanca, it crossed the Duero on the only bridge existing at that time and bordered the city to the west.
In 1882 the construction of the Iron Bridge began, inaugurated in 1900. During those 18 years it was necessary to continue restoring the Stone Bridge, so that it could continue in use, until between 1905 and 1907 a complete repair was undertaken, directed by Luis de Justo, which, finally, cost almost half of the amount invested in the construction of the metal bridge.
Quite a history!!
And now, the castle...
Above: a few shots in and from el castillo. The last one aims to give a bit of perspective. The inner and outer walls are probably some 10/12 metres high (expressed differently, the moat is perhaps 10/12 metres deep). Where the castle wall adjoins the city wall it might be a 30 metre drop. Hard to tell. The castle is in various states of repair. Some appear to be original rubble, whereas obviously other bits have been restored/repaired. Parts go back to the Visigoth era (i.e. some time from the year 400 onwards), and I find it awesome to stand on a place with a built history of 1500 years or so.
Above: yesterday I showed an external shot of the 500 year old palace which is now the Parador. The four photos above are some internal snaps. And no, we're not staying here, although over the years we have stayed in a couple of Paradors. The most memorable was for my 65th birthday at Parador Cuenca, a 500 year old monastery.
A couple of selfies to end the day:
A el castillo
Back in harness en la mañana. Relatively easy day - veinte kilómetros.