Arrived at the hotel Camino Real near Duenas at around 4.00pm and the sun was shining in a bright blue sky. We had chosen only to drive for a couple of hours on the first day, as we suspected we might be a bit tired.
The hotel was comfortable and they allowed the dogs to stay with us. The people were really friendly and whilst there was definitely a language barrier, we did very well. We soon embarked on a dog walk. We were near the motorway but set back far enough so as not to be concerned about it. We wandered around the back of the hotel and found a gap in the fence. We ventured through it and found ourselves on a stoney track, which seemed to be public. This led to Duenas and something we did not expect to see, cave dwellings! The village looked really pretty and ancient, it seemed as if they were still discovering places that had been hidden for hundreds of years. It has a pretty church too, we didn’t venture in there but if we hadn’t had the dogs I think the whole place would have been an interesting look around.
We walked back to the hotel with the sun on our backs and felt really relaxed. Dinner didn’t start until 8.00pm, all happens much later than in the UK. Mornings are dark until around 9.00pm here at the moment but the sun does not set until much later. Hence they keep later hours.
We had a pleasant meal and were up the next day for our second walk to Duenas after breakfast. At breakfast I enjoyed the best croissant I had ever had (yes in Spain) and discovered that Spanish coffee and Spanish bread are actually very good.
Back in the car for a 250 mile drive to our next destination. We had definitely driven through the plains in Spain. We were at high altitude.
From http://www.spain.info …
The imposing town of Dueñas is just 20 kilometres from the city of Palencia. It stands on a hill, overlooking the beautiful natural scenery of the Carrión and Pisuerga river plains. Its old town, with many churches, palaces and historic monuments, has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site. The Puerta del Ojo de la Virgen remains from the old enclosed area as do the remains of the castle. The Church of Saint Mary, from the 8th century and that is in late Romanesque style, holds many artistic treasures, both on the inside and in its museum: the main altar, the figure of San Isidro by Gregorio Fernández and the Image of the Ecce Homo by Diego de Siloé are only some of them. The old Convent of San Agustín is the current headquarters for the Historic Archive and the House of Culture. The church from the 16th century is still there, with its impressive center area and the cloister area located behind the convent. The Palace of the Buendia and the Hospital of Santiago are other must see buildings. Plaza de España Square catches the eye with its typical Castilian arcades. Taking San Juan Street brings us to the Shrine of Cristo (Christ) and to an area with many cellars. The Justas Poéticas viewpoint offers a fabulous panorama of the surrounding landscape. On the outskirts is the Monastery of San Isidro, belonging to a Cistercian order, whose origin dates back to the 10th century.