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I've probably said before that Spain is divided into big administrative units called Communities. The Communities are then divided into smaller units called Provinces. Ciudad Rodrigo is in the Province of Salamanca and in the Community of Castilla y Leon. Our Provincial capital is Salamanca but the capital of Castilla y Leon is Valladolid. So yesterday, we went to have a look at Valladolid.

Valladolid's population is around 400,000 - a bit bigger than Bradford and a bit less than Bristol. It's the 2oth largest city in Spain. The Rough Guide isn't very kind about Valladolid - its old quarter is an oppressive labyrinth of dingy streets - but we thought it seemed like a lively town with quite a lot of interesting looking spots.

It is true that it lacked the huge and impressive buildings that abound in Salamanca or Barcelona or Toledo but then again it looked as though the local authorities had been working hard on tidying up some of the old houses in the centre. For instance we went to a museum based on a remodelled 14th Century Monastery and I thought it was rather splendid (though I wasn't so keen on the art they had chosen to display). The bars and cafes seemed to offer a wide range of styles and décor and there were plenty of small scale architectural delights as well as a pretty full cultural programme on offer.

One of the things that struck me most about Valladolid was the 220kms journey there from home. Ciudad Rodrigo is 621m above sea level and Valladolid is 691m. The journey is across a pretty featureless and flat landscape. We passed Salamanca within sight of the motorway, Zamora, another provincial capital was off to west otherwise we passed through a couple of small towns and that was it. Castilla y Leon is definitely not overcrowded.

Valladolid is pronounced a bit like "Buy a dole lid"


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