Tag Archives: El Espina

Segovia to Salamanca

One of my ideas when we originally started (not) planning this trip was to visit the sites of some of the Peninsula War battles (Wellington’s campaign in the early 19th Century to throw Napoleon’s armies out of Portugal and Spain).  I’d recently read Mark Urban’s book ‘Rifles’, which follows the 95th Regiment of Foot through that period, and am currently part-way through Peter Snow’s ‘To War with Wellington’ which also covers the campaign.  As one of the major battles of the campaign it was obvious that Salamanca should be included in our visits.

Our route west from Segovia took us along the road from El Espina to Avila, which passes through some of the most open and sparsly populated countryside that Europe has to offer.  We’d caught glimpses of the area while watching ‘The English’ a TV series supposedly set in the US mid-west but actually filmed in this area of rolling grasslands and near-desert in the heart of Spain.  As it turned out the countryside wasn’t quite as desolate or ‘desert-like’ as I’d expected, but if you’re looking for the ‘great outdoors’ you couldn’t do much better that this.

The countryside between El Espina and Avila
The wide-open-spaces betwen El Espina and Avila

As we arrived in Avila we realised that we’d passed this way on our travels back in 2003, though on that occasion we only stopped long enough to take a couple of photos of the city walls which, having been ‘sympathetically restored’ a number of years ago, are distinctive and impressive  This time we lingered long enough to stroll though part of the old city and walk around the walls, which provide great views both of the city and the surrounding countryside.

City walls and cathedral of Avila
Avila city walls and cathedral

We arrived at the Don Quijote campsite on the  outskirts of Salamanca at around 3.30, which experience has taught us is about as late as you can leave your arrival at a campsite if it’s a) any good, and b) you haven’t booked in advance.  Just in time – we nabbed the last pitch with electricity just a few minutes before half the population of The Netherlands polled up in our wake.