The Jalón area really is the only area of Spain we know so we’ve decided to pause twice en route back to Bilbao to investigate a bit more of the country. Friends have recommended a hotel in some place called La Vid which is close enough to enable us to visit Burgos before heading for Bilbao. Sounds like a plan. We booked in before departing.
Our journey began heading up the coast to Valencia before cutting inland to pass Teruel, eventually clambering off autopistas/autovias [?] to strike out across country to end up in La Vid south of Burgos. I’ll try to describe the journey briefly. Once out of Valencia, we spent the first part of the journey watching large fields that were essentially empty. Once off the motorways, the majority of the remainder of the journey felt like driving through countryside that honestly looked like rough ground, most closely resembling a quarry. In moments of high drama, the rough ground might change colour from a russet red to a pale grey, then back again.
We were treated to a few sightings of raptors flying. Vultures were particularly well represented – I think they were Griffon Vultures – so they must’ve thought there was wildlife somewhere in the landscape. Other than birds, though, we couldn’t see any. Now, catch this: our journey was 380 miles. In that 380 miles we saw just two animals, one distant deer grazing peacefully and one horse standing beneath a pylon in a field. Just imagine that; it’s like driving from London to Edinburgh and seeing a single example of wildlife and a single domesticated animal. It’s utterly unbelievable.
We had driven past several villages/small towns, frequently through the outskirts of them and most places looked essentially closed. We saw nothing to entice us off the road. The same was true as we approached our destination of La Vid. La Vid lay literally 50 m off the main road over a bridge crossing the Rio Duero. It proved to be what our American friends might call a 1-horse town [ah ah, that’s where it came from!] with just a single street, a monastery, our hotel and a few dwellings. We parked in part of the quarry and went to announce our arrival.
El Lagar de Isilla is a bodega that’s been restored and turned into a hotel. We were allocated room 106 which our delightful receptionist informed us was called Los Romanos. Now, how to paint a picture of this hotel room? I think I need a few pictures to save a few thousand words, though I should give a few clues as to what you should be looking out for. Firstly the double bed was huge, about 2m wide, and would have easily befitted a Roman orgy.
In keeping with being an old bodega, the inventive hotel designer had done some very interesting things with reshaped wine bottles.
The ceiling was particularly interesting. One of our switches was labelled cupola which might translate to dome though not in my phone’s app. Suffice to say there was a dome let into the ceiling with a cloud and sky scene painted on it. Another of the switches was labelled estrallas [stars]. Yes, there were stars twinkling and changing colour in the sky dome. At least, there were until you switched them off. [They were sharper than my picture would have you believe.]
And now, the piece de resistance, or whatever the Spanish equivalent might be: the shower. The shower was behind a door opened by one of those inventively reformed wine bottles. Francine went first and had to figure out how to use it. How can showers be so darn difficult? On the side wall of the shower was a tap with a reasonably ordinary looking shower head. Turn on and water sprays out. The thing was, there was nowhere to fix this spray head up high – it appeared you ad to hand-hold it.
That can’t be right, it would be way too naff for this place. Quite by accident, Francine disturbed the tap and turned it in the opposite direction. Water drenched her from above. the main shower head was inset into the ceiling and surrounded by lights. Brilliant!