I wouldn’t say the tiny, walled village of Pedraza has something for everyone, but if you like medieval dungeons, imposing castles, nesting storks and outlandishly good ham then Pedraza has something for you. Better known to the city slickers from Madrid who flood the town on the weekends, Pedraza is very much off the beaten path for Brits visiting Spain.
We visited this atmospheric village on the last day of a walking tour in the Segovia region. It may be my own bias, but I can’t help feeling that, despite the large public car park near the castle, walking is much the best way to approach the place. We felt like wandering pilgrims as we trekked up the side of a dramatic valley and through the massive stone archway to enter the village. It was a quiet Tuesday in April, and our only company were the storks making graceful circles overhead. Not a car or other human being in sight. In the spring, storks build enormous, gravity-defying nests in the belfries and ledges of the village. Watching them at their work is awe inspiring.
With fewer than 100 full time residents, the village wasn’t much busier than the scenic valley around it. We ambled through the cobbled streets, stopping at the wee exercise area that overlooks the valley near the castle. I’m sure you could get a serious workout if you were so inclined, but we goofed around like kids, swinging on the chin-up bars while enjoying the spectacular views. Later, we toured the Carcel, a 15th-century prison that still bears the evidence of a time when prisoners were kept in chains in a dark pit and had their food lowered down in buckets.
Luckily the food offerings for today’s visitors are a little more sophisticated. Visitors can belly up to any of the excellent cafes and restaurants that ring the main plaza. Vegetarians beware - meat is everywhere. The plaza also seems to be the centre of village life. We witnessed a lively parade rehearsal by local school children while we were enjoying ham sandwiches and beer. Que bueno!
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