Day Trip to Avila
Our last full day in Madrid also our last day trip, we went to the walled city of Avila! We picked Avila because of its beautiful medieval walls and not just seeing it but also walking on it! Avila is not as popular or well-known as Toledo or Segovia so before we arrived, I was expecting it would be a small town that we'll spend only few hours in. I guess another reason why it's not as popular is the distance, although not much further from Segovia but the train is much slower ~ it takes 1.5 hours to get there by train. We took the 8:30 am train from Chamartin arriving at 9:54 am. I was thinking to take an earlier train but then I saw that many tourist sights open at 10 am anyways. When we were on the train, the train passed by many mountains...middle of nowhere. Literally, middle of nowhere, some farms with horses and cows, few houses, and once in a while a deer! The mountains I saw were very dry and I don't see much roads. I was constantly checking the time to see when will we arrive.
5 minutes before arrival, my eyes were looking around hoping to see the city wall but I couldn't locate it. We arrived, the station is pretty small and we walked out, there were signs pointing to the tourism office. It was at least a 15 minutes walk, passing through local houses and not much shops and then there it is the Walls of Avila! We are here!!! Also note that Avila is much cooler than Madrid and in the early morning it was in the mid 50's degrees Fahrenheit so maybe bring a light jacket! But it gets warmer in the afternoon!
On the right is the tourism office where you can get a detailed map for 50 cents; there are free maps also available inside the entrance to the medieval walls but less details.
Photos on the outside of the wall first! We saw this very old tree on the outside and hubby wanted a photo with it:
The medieval walls of Avila!! There are tour trains available too if you don't want to walk....
It was a perfect day, blue sky with clouds and breezy to make sightseeing comfortable!
We walked through the walls and inside the city to find the entrance but it's not there, the entrance is outside the wall. We passed the Cathedral of Avila:
We walked into an office to purchase our tickets, only 5 euros each which provided access to both sides of the medieval walls. The right sides are all accessible while the left sides only a section is accessible. In the office, we walked up the wooden stairs (felt like we were walking up to the attic lol) but before we know it, we are up on the walls!!! The walls are simply amazing! It was hard to imagine walking on a thousand year old wall; the yellowish color made me felt like I am in a castle with walls!
We walked and stopped every few steps to take photos and without much tourists, it was like a dream for photographers! We went up almost every semicircular towers, the stairs up the towers were very steep so be careful and hold on to the rails! There are 88 semicircular towers total maybe we went up to like 15? Up on each semicircular towers offer a unique view of the city, there are too many angles in which we can take great photos of! I really don't know how to explain it in words and a photo worth a thousand words so here they are:
The view of the semicircular towers up from a tower:
We saw an old couple up on the tower too and they asked us to help them take a photo, in return, they helped to take a photo of us on the point and shoot camera:
The views are stunning from up here and a little breeze from the wind, so relaxing!
The view of an old cathedral (across from it is the tourism office) and the right street is the way we walked from the station. I love the orange tone of the cathedral and the red roofs of all the houses in contrast with the blue sky and white clouds made a great photo!
The stairs up to the tower, very steep and some are uneven so hold on to the rail like I did :)
More views of the semicircular towers:
Walking along on the wall, we saw a very old abandoned house:
We continued on walking and taking photos, I was trying to see if I see a four column structure outside the town. I have seen photos of the city enclosed by the medieval walls taken from the four column structure called the Los Cuatro (The Four) Postes. We keep on walking....
I like the view of this photo, one side is the medieval walls and the other side is the modern city parked with cars:
Another church inside the wall:
Another perspective of the wall:
It was so much fun taking photos of here and there!
This "bell" tower looking structure reminded me of the Greek islands!
The atmosphere was so relaxing in Avila!
We walked all the down to the very end hum...I wonder how many feet or even miles we walked! The Walls are well maintained in great condition:
I pulled out the detailed map I purchased and located the Los Cuatro (The Four) Postes, it is located across the bridge (see photo below on the right side) and then turn right and walk up to the hill.
The houses enclosed inside the medieval wall:
We went as far as we could able to access and then walked down to have lunch. Yes, it was lunch time already!! We didn't want to walked all the way back to the Cathedral side for lunch and walked all the way back so we hoped to find something close by. We walked across the bridge and saw some umbrellas out, luckily hubby's instinct was correct, that was a restaurant. It was a bar like restaurant, we walked in and asked if there's any English menu. Urg....no English menu and the waiter barely spoke any English! But fortunately he called his wife who came in and she spoke a little of English! We ordered the set lunch, hubby ordered a fish fillet, and I ordered a steak both with fries and a huge salad. The food was acceptable for $19 euros total including two sodas.
After lunch, we walked up to the Los Cuatro (The Four) Postes, it was much of a shorter walk than I anticipated! It really took less than 10 minutes to get up there. There are also buses (actually a van) that stops at The Four Postes but the schedule is like ever half an hour or so.
Here's a photo of The Four Postes on the left and the walled city of Avila on the right, now I can clearly see that it is a walled city!
There were a lot of tourists stopping by The Four Postes so we waited for our turn to take some photos. There is also an observation deck on the right side of The Four Postes but in my opinion, The Four Postes gave a better view of the city than the observation deck because there are more trees to distract the photo. I had to trim down the trees:
The observation deck on the right side see the photo below. This photo is taken from The Four Postes, strangely there is a big rock that you can step to have a photo with the beautiful city of Avila:
"This is my kingdom!" yep that's what hubby trying to express in the photo LOL!
Doesn't this look like in ancient Greece too? We waited until all the tourists left and we have the place all to ourselves wohooo!
One more view of The Four Postes and the walled city of Avila:
Alright time to walk back to the city to see the other section of the medieval walls! On our walk back inside the walls:
This section, present the ticket to enter, it was a very steep way up!!
Boooo! I am here LOL! This section of the walls give another view of the Cathedral (on the left) and the city inside and outside!
The orange-red roof houses with the dried field on the back and then mountains on the way back added many layers to the photo:
Another different church/cathedral outside the city walls:
Only a partial of the left side wall are accessible so it wasn't a long walk as the other side. We came back down, OMG I didn't realized we were that far up, looking down while walking down was scary for me LOL! I tried not to look down and just grabbed the handrails and follow the steps down. After we got down, we walked out of the city walls and to the cathedral for a picture:
There are restaurants and cafes outside the wall as well as inside especially the area around the Avila Cathedral, filled with restaurants and shops.
We walked on the outside circumference of the city walls to get back to the tourism office area to walk back to the train station:
Walled city of Avila......good-bye!!
Good-bye you all good looking cathedrals!
We thought of taking the bus back but it was hard to know which bus will stop at the train station and also no idea of the schedule. Walking wasn't bad, we passed a convenient store to buy a soda. I bought the tickets for the 4:49 pm train back to Madrid, when we arrived the station, we were early so I changed the ticket to the next train back. The train tickets were 9.4 euros one way per person so totally worth the trip cost to visit Avila! We would've stay later but then we will be flying back to the US the next day so we need to head back to Madrid early and then pack up. I would love to stay in Avila overnight, I seen photos where the medieval walls are illuminated at night, must be great to take night photos of the walls!!! We had a great day in Avila, it was a relaxed day although a little be far from Madrid but manageable for a day trip!
We got back to Madrid before 6, took the Cercanis train back to Sol, and had a great seafood feast dinner at Venta El Buscon! We were here for the meat feast last night and today we came back for the seafood feast haha! The seafood platter for 30 euros, enough for two of us! This is our favorite restaurant in Madrid, great food and great value!