Monday, April 02, 2007

Weekend away at La Senda de los Caracoles

Picture of me outside the hotel on the first day - all dressed up for the cold and rain!

Eladio pictured near the village on our first walk from the hotel.
Hello my friends,

This last Friday Eladio and I went away for our long awaited weekend to the Senda de los Caracoles ( In English it means: the snail route, not that we saw any snails though. It's a rural spa “hotel” in a very remote part of Segovia called Grado de Pico which is actually on the border of both Soria and Guadalajara. It’s about 150km from Madrid so only takes about 2 hours to get to. The weather forecast looked grim with rain and snow but in actual fact, although it was cold, we got quite a lot of sun and only a bit of rain.

We were supposed to be going with our friends Mari Carmen and Roberto but unfortunately they had to cancel at the last minute as Mari Carmen’s elderly father was taken ill.

The weekend was spent walking, using the spa, reading, touring the area and of course, eating splendidly.

The hotel boasts being the perfect place to get away from it all and “disconnect”. However what their advertising doesn’t say is that there is no mobile phone coverage, no internet and no TV in the rooms. All this “disconnection” was a bit much for me, specially no mobile phone – which is my permanent connection to my work and no TV in the rooms was a bit of a damper in the evenings.

On the plus side, the food was great and the spa facilities very relaxing. One felt at “home” immediately as the hospitality of the family owners was terrific. It was very quiet with only another 4 or 5 couples staying there. La Senda de los Caracoles has 16 double rooms, quite small but very beautiful, specially the surroundings. You literally have to cross a river (without a bridge) to get to it and it’s 1.5km from the village where apparently only 3 people live permanently. You really couldn’t get much more remote than that!

On Saturday we visited the beautiful villa of Ayllon in the province of Segovia, a walled medieval town about 20km from our hotel ( And then we drove to Soria which was about 96km from Ayllón. On the way we visited the small cathedral town of Burgo de Osma which was a jewel of a place with its lovely Plaza Mayor and cobbled streets. (, although a county capital is pretty small with only 35.000 inhabitants and apart from the old town has nothing much to see. We had a great lunch in the Plaza Mayor at a typical restaurant called “Mesón Castellano”. We ate “cochinillo” (suckling pig) and “cabrito” (baby goat or kid) which tasted out of this world; the wine did too, of course.

After lunch we made a dream come true for Eladio by visiting a place called Numancia on the outskirts of Soria. Numancia was the famous celtiberian township which was besieged by the Romans for more than 20 years before it was finally conqurered. There are only ruins left, of course, but there are reconstructed examples of a celtiberian house (2 centuries b.c.) and a roman house (2 centuries a.c). I must say when we returned to La Senda de los Caracoles, we appreciated the home comforts a lot more after seeing such a lack of them at Numancia!(

On Sunday we took the route of the red and black villages to Riaza – another medium sized town in Segovia. These villages now have very few inhabitants and a lot of the houses have turned to ruin but they are quite picturesque from the roadside with the backdrop of the snow capped mountains of La Pinilla. After a quick stop at Riaza where we visited the church which was quite full owing to the fact that it was Palm Sunday, we drove on to Sepúlveda where we had roast lamb in one of the numerous mesones. Roast suckling lamb is the most typical dish in Segovia. Sepúlveda is a beautiful small town built high up on a hill above the gorge of the river Duratón ( As is usual in Segovia the streets are cobbled and most of the village life is concentrated in the Plaza Mayor.

It was great to get away and pamper ourselves but just as great to go home. So after lunch in Sepúlveda we headed home eager to see the family and newly acquired puppies, Elsa (final name I think) and Killo.

This week the girls will be on holiday and come Thursday I will too, as will the rest of Spain.

For those of you away on holiday this week, have a great time.

All the best
PS Thanks Ana (Valdivieso) and Tomy for the recommendation of La Senda de los Caracoles

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