Thursday, November 8, 2012


Ávila is two hours northwest of Madrid, surrounded by the plains of Castilla and in sight of the Sierra de la Paramera. The city is famous for its medieval wall, which surrounds the old city in impressive fashion. The wall (la muralla), has encircled the old city since the second half of the 12th century. Its 2500 battlements, 88 towers, and 6 gates have been wonderfully reserved. In fact, you can walk along the majority of the wall.

The Cathedral is actually built into the wall. It was also begun in the 12th century, yet wasn't finished until the 16th century. It was the first Gothic cathedral in Spain. 

Every time I enter a cathedral I am grateful I took "The Medieval World" with Dr. Byrne in college. Thanks to that class, I know what I'm looking at when I'm staring at the ceiling of a cathedral, the exterior, the floor plan. So I was impressed with the variety of vaulting techniques found in Ávila's Cathedral. Constructed of red and white granite, it's a beautiful cathedral. 

 I also visited the Basilica de San Vicente, built in the 12th century at the site of St. Vincent's martyrdom. It is one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in Spain.

(Nice portal.)

Also, I had castañas (roasted chestnuts) for the first time. They were meaty and good. 

Without a doubt, the most impressive part of Ávila is its wall. You can get a really good look at it by hiking outside of the walls, crossing the river, and walking up a hill until you come to Cuatro Postes (Four Posts), which is exactly what it sounds like. 


  1. it sure is wonderful to have such an erudite and educated sonny boy

  2. And did you learn about St. Teresa of Avila? The Bernini sculpture in Rome, the Ecstasy of St. Teresa, is an amazing sculpture built into a niche complete with sculpted donors(who commissioned the artwork)watching her ecstatic union with God. Her grandfather, apparently, was Jewish and was condemned by the Inquisition. Her father became Christian and the rest is history....

  3. Yeah, I did read some about her! I even had a few "yemas," those candied egg yolks that she made famous by giving them to the poor (now you have to pay for them). I plan on going to Rome in March, so I will definitely try to see that sculpture!