Avila is extremely significant. I visited it, and I went to a Catholic university, so I should probably be able to tell you why it’s significant (there was some lady named Teresa who used to live there, I got that much). But you can Google it just as easily as I can, and I’d rather just upload some pictures anyway. In one of my few trips outside of Madrid, I joined some friends — one Peruvian, two Swedes, somehow no Spaniards — on a mini road-trip to the medieval walled city of Avila one ominously overcast spring day.
My strongest memory was standing in the shadowy insides of a massive cathedral, utterly dwarfed by pillars the size of redwoods and a floor constructed from stones the size of SUVs, while the two Swedish women, mother and daughter, snickered at me. “We forget,” they said, when at last I could prise an explanation from them, “that you don’t have things like this in your country.” Meaning that they, as Europeans, were slightly more adjusted to buildings that had been standing a couple centuries before the Declaration of Independence had been a twinkle in our forefathers’ eyes. Fair enough.
The Catedral del Salvador… I think.
Of course, despite the fact that the walled city was several centuries old, it was still Spain, and there were still wide plazas to be found, such as the one below. Either Avila wasn’t a significant tourist location, or this was not the peak season for visitors. Either way, I like the guy below who’s either slumped over unconscious or trying to retie his shoes.
At the end of a long afternoon of exploring, the four of us stopped for dinner at a restaurant within the city walls, where my friend ordered a steak the size of Portugal, and we took the traditional three hours’ of Spanish afternoon mealtime to watch him eat the entire thing (he did).
As our day drew to an end, I had one last goal: I was going to have to follow this sign just to find out what a parador was. Regrettably, time was short, and the mystery remained (until I went home and looked it up).