Muelas del Plan to Ampudia

That was a useful stopover and one to add to our ever-growing list of successful overnight stops. After a morning catching-up on stuff, we enjoyed a home-made pizza before heading back to Zamora for our planned visit.

It had rained for much of the night and intermittently in the morning, so we were delighted that the sun came out on cue as we pulled into the convenient parking spot we’d earmarked the previous day right next to the ancient bridge.

Despite the lovely weather, the wind was extremely strong, so Sophie held onto her glasses as we crossed the bridge into town across the Duero river. Zamora definitely has a great deal to offer and everywhere we turned there were ancient buildings to admire. Even as we ventured away from the true historical centre, the old buildings we came across really had plenty of character. After braving our way back across the windy bridge we popped in to Zamora’s motorhome aire to use their free facilities, including free fresh water to top up our water tank.

For once, last night Sophie’d suggested a place to visit that was actually on our route, rather than somewhere we’d already passed, so we went to the Monasterio de Santa Maria de Moreruela. Unfortunately it was closed and we couldn’t even get to see it properly, so we now continued due East.

From here on it was all pretty flat, with not a hill in sight. We were on our customary backroads, which were very nice, but in the end when the rain came back with a vengeance, we were starting to crave seeing a hill or two. Medina de Rioseco had been highlighted in my Dorling Kindersley guide and as we drove through we could see that it was the size of interesting small town we’d ordinarily like to visit, but the torrential rain just made it a non-starter.

As we slowly homed in on my target spot for the night Sophie noticed a sign implying we were now on the “Ruta de los Castillos”, which made her sit up and pay attention. Within moments she’d seen an imposing castle to our right and insisted I take us there.

A quick check on Park4night showed that we could even park next to Castillo de Montealegre’s walls. Unfortunately, given the extreme winds of this afternoon we’d said that we’d need to avoid anywhere too exposed tonight, but that didn’t deter Sophie, who suggested that maybe we’d be sheltered under its walls. It’s strange how Sophie can become so spellbound by a castle. She had me driving the motorhome through the narrow village streets and braving the muddy castle access road and carpark. Ordinarily, if I’d attempted this off my own bat, there’d be impolite words along the lines of “this is another fine mess you’ve got me into”.

Despite backing up against the castle walls it was still blowing a hooley, and bizarrely I could see that a pigeon had perched itself on the side of the van at the back, desperate for shelter itself. I wasn’t keen to stop, and a combination of reviews that suggested that this was definitely not a place to stay when windy, plus seeing a picture of the castle illuminated, then noticing the floodlights right in front of us, gave me the get out clause I needed, and so off we went.

I’d been aiming at the motorhome aire at Ampudia, where we’d actually stayed two years ago. There’s a lovely castle here, so that’ll keep Sophie quiet, for a bit anyway, and is a pleasant small village. We can hear the wind, but despite this it feels pretty sheltered here, and as I write, the sun has come out and the rain has stopped. We currently have two neighbours and plenty of personal space.

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