Saturday, December 05, 2015

Chinchón, Spain

Plaza Mayor
The charming town of Chinchón is a quick bus ride from Madrid's Conde de Casal bus station through green countryside and somnolent little villages. For most of the passengers in the bus, it was a time to doze off after a busy morning of shopping and doctor's appointments in Madrid. But that was rudely interrupted when a race car driver in a black sedan cut in front of our bus with two feet to spare and the bus driver had to brake quite forcefully waking up the weary from their siesta. Then everyone started to talk at once about our close call and my once aloof seatmate who had gone to dream world after finishing her pastry, started to converse with me. She later volunteered to show me the way to the Plaza Mayor (which is also close to where she lives) and we had a pleasant conversation as we slowly climbed uphill to the square.


Claros

The Plaza Mayor of Chinchón is a 15th century square surrounded by white washed three storey buildings with wooden balconies called claros. The square doubles as a bullring during festivals particularly in July and October and it has the same hard packed surface you would find on a regular stage for a bullfight. The Plaza was a parking lot on this quiet afternoon with only a handful of visitors in sight.

Castillo de Los Condes
Chinchón has a rich history which can be traced to the Neolithic period with artifacts found in the caves nearby. In comparison, the Castillo de Los Condes (castle of the Condes) only dates back to the 15th century when Fernando de Cabrera was awarded by Henry IV the "Lordship of Chinchón" in appreciation for his service to the monarchy. His second son, Fernando Cabrera y Bobadilla, was conferred the title of Count in 1520 by Carlos V. Various wars through the centuries left the castle in ruins. It was at one time a manufacturing plant for the production of anisette, a sweet liqueur which is Chinchón's famous commodity. The castle is privately owned and the interior is not open to the public.

Rooftops of Chinchón

Halfway up to the castillo, I chanced upon this view of the rooftops of Chinchón. It was early November in mid afternoon and the temperature was just right for a stroll and some pleasant discoveries. How wonderful to find Chinchón near Madrid but quite a world away!

"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." Martin Buber

How to get to Chinchón:
Take Bus 337 from the Conde de Casal station on Avenida de Mediterraneo in Madrid. The fare as of this writing is €4,20 each way. The buses are painted green. There is no train service to Chinchón.

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie







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