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Spain & Portugal - Day 17

Staying in a mountainous area means waking up to extremely fresh air and a splendid view from our room in Santa María de Guadalupe.

Breakfast was served in the dining hall. The spread was not extensive but sufficient. We especially loved the freshly made churros.

After breakfast, we finally got to take good look at the beautiful courtyard of the hotel (since we arrived late last night and the lights in the courtyard were really dim).

From this courtyard, there is a direct link to the monastery next door. Of course, it was no short cuts for guest visiting the Sanctuary-Monastery of Our Lady of Guadaloupe. But, it do provide good photography opportunity.

Here, at the main street is where visitor enters the sanctuary. The Sanctuary-Monastery of Our Lady of Guadaloupe is a massive structure that exudes captivating architectural beauty. It may be old and a little rundown, but it continues to mesmerise her visitors.

To fully understand the history of this place, we went for a guided tour. Unfortunately, it was not made known to us (and other non-Spanish speaking visitors) that the guide only speaks Spanish. We ended up going in and coming out of the sanctuary clueless plus frustration! Well, our consolation was to be able to see the black Virgin up close (not so close though).

Thereafter, we took a short walk around the village before preparing to leave for Avila (yes, we were here only for a night....such lovely place...what a waste).

Back at the hotel's courtyard, we met a lovely bride-to-be who came all the way from another state to be married in the Sanctuary the next day. From this, I'm sure you can imagine the draw that this Sanctuary have on her visitors....if only we could renew our marriage vow here. We were invited to her wedding....but we're leaving...that made our one night here even more regretful...( budget!).

Driving from Guadalupe to Avila old city was relaxing, and the imposing wall of Avila is visible from far making our search almost effortless.

The great wall of Avila

Entering into Avila!!

One of the entrances into Avila old city

The plaque at the top of the entrance

While driving to Avila was easy, searching for our lodging was a huge challenge! There're extremely limited parking spaces in the old city and it is like a maze with its many small streets. It took us almost an hour to finally find our hotel despite being near it all these while (no one we asked knew exactly where the street that the hotel was located was).

Then there is parking problem. We parked in one of the garage (it was below the big plaza) for an hour just to unload our luggage and check-in to the hotel, and that one hour already cost us a paella meal. To park overnight for 3 nights in the old city is unthinkable. Street parking would be our only option.

Being a blessed trip since day one, today was no exception. Not only did we find a street parking that's just 10 minutes walk away, it is a free parking lot for the next 3 days! It was unbelievable! No words can describe how grateful we were.

So, for those of you who were on the same tight budget as us, seriously I can't recall which street did we park in, but just drive out of the old city (don't drive out from the main entrance....there're some lots there but they aren't free and there's a slope to walk), and there are many street parking surrounding it. Good luck!

This post first appeared on Carefree And Off-the-beaten Tracks Travels Around The World, please read the originial post: here

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Spain & Portugal - Day 17


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