Valladolid Walking Tour
After having a short tour in Grupo Yllera’s cold, labyrinthine wine cellars, and after eating lunch in their restaurant and buying ourselves our own bottles of wine, we just had to tour the rest of Valladolid City.
Building near Columbus Square
We headed to Hotel Gareus to check-in. Hotel Gareus is located right in the heart of Valladolid City. Unlike most cities, the heart of Valladolid City is not too urbanized and commercialized; it is, instead, composed of Renaissance architecture buildings, peaceful streets, and fresh air.
Newsstand near Plaza Major
We left some of our bags in our respective rooms, and gathered in the hotel lobby. When everyone else had arrived, we headed to Centro de Recursos Turísticos, a tourist assistance office located in the middle of Columbus Square. It is said that the voyager Christopher Colombus died here in Valladolid in 1506, and Columbus Square was named after his honor.
Beautiful Building in front of Columbus Square
In Centro de Recursos Turísticos, we met Cristina Mateo, Head of Strategic Planning and Marketing for Castilla y León. She gave us a background of Castilla y León, including some places and events in the region that make it the “Living Museum of the World”.
Meeting with Cristina Mateo
Valladolid City, which is a province in the modern kingdom of Castilla y León, is no exception to the wonders of the autonomous region. In fact, although Valladolid is no longer the capital of Spain, it is now the de facto capital of Castilla y León, making it the diamond of the region.
Walking tour of Valladolid City
And surely enough, that afternoon was the time for us to explore for ourselves the “Living Museum of the World”. From the tourism office, we started our tour of Valladolid City, Castilla y León. Like our tour in Salamanca, our tour here in Valladolid is also a walking one. The best way to appreciate the wonders of such a beautiful and peaceful town almost as if frozen in time is a walking tour, no doubt.
Inside Pasaje Guiterrez
Our first stop was at Pasaje Guiterrez, which literally translates to the Guiterrez Passage. The Pasaje is just a passage, but what makes it special is that it is a covered street that is surrounded by shops and artistic woodcrafts. The Guiterrez Passage gave me a feeling of what it’s like during the old days with its antique aura, and seeing Jeronimo Ortiz de Urbina’s work that featured a passage of iron frames enclosed in glass completed my time travelling journey to 19th century Europe.
Inside Valladolid Cathedral
We travelled further back in time to the Unfinished Cathedral. The Cathedral was commissioned by King Philip II way back in the 16th century. It was, however, not completed due to financial difficulties. In 1730, the Cathedral’s main front was refurbished by Master Churriguera.
Altar of Valladolid Cathedral
Today, the Cathedral remains unfinished but is famous for what it is. The sanctuary houses inside, created by Juan de Juni in 1562, are directly connected to a Diocesan Museum which houses works by Juni, Gregorio Fernández, and Juan de Arce.
Facade of Catedral de Valladolid
We went to University of Valladolid next. The University is one of the oldest universities in the world, dating way back in 1715. The exterior of the school building, which I learned was designed by Carmelite Fray Pedro de la Visitación, once again took us back in time.
Facade of Valladolid University
Stairs inside University of Valladolid
Another older destination we went to during our tour was the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua, located near Plaza Major. This beautiful Gothic church was completed in the 14th century, and its towers were finished much earlier in the 13th century. Like most of the churches in Valladolid, the Church of Santa Maria de la Antigua holds much significance, and its towers are also called the Queen of the Castillian Romanesque.
Church of Iglesia de Santa María de la Antigua
Our last stop for the walking tour was Plaza de Portugalete—Valladolid’s Plaza Major. Despite the fact that Plaza de Portugalete is the oldest Plaza Major in the whole of Spain, it housed lots of restaurants and various kinds of shops, which was nothing short of impressive!
Aparcamiento Plaza Mayor
It was a lively place with lots of street performers, and yet its peaceful and historical aura was preserved. We were told that people gather around the plaza at night for various activities, which I looked forward to experiencing myself someday.
Shops around Valladolid Plaza Major
We ended our walking tour there. The city of Valladolid is truly a spectacular place, almost like a very huge, outdoor museum, and we didn’t even explore the rest of it entirely yet! The climate is nice, and the streets are clean. I’m glad that we toured Valladolid via foot, because there’s no other way to appreciate the wonders of such a huge museum but by a nice, short, afternoon’s walk.
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