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Tuesday, May 21: Day 29 – Merlons and Crenels and Battlements and Turrets

These are a few of my favorite things!

We left Segovia where we thought that it was VERY cold. I had to buy a fake fur lined stocking cap and wore it most of the time as well as my down jacket. I asked a local if it is always this cold. His reply, “Yes, but we like to call it “fresh”.”

I almost left my backpack at the train station. I had been talking with a woman from Australia and when the train arrived, I walked with her to our seats. Once in the train, I panicked as I realized that it was missing. Rob ran out of the train, retrieved it and got back in time!!! My hero! Crisis averted.

We arrived in Ávila and checked in to our parador, a historic palace converted to a hotel within the old city. Ávila is so quiet. We had not set an alarm, and we did not awaken until 11.

This town is all about a saint named Teresa – where she was born, where she was christened, where she lived, the convents that she attended, the churches that she founded, the spot where she began her pilgramage, etc. etc. etc. If you are Catholic, this might have more meaning. It was lost on us as were all the items in the cathedral. Even though the audio tour was in English, it was Greek to me. She was using unfamiliar vocabulary.

The greatest feature of Avila is The Wall. It is interesting to note that the word wall in Spanish is muralla. Possibly the word mural for the art form drawn on a wall comes from this word?

The Muralles de Ávila are most deserving of UNESCO World Heritage Site distinction. The massive size and the fact that it is complete is remarkable. The wall is beautiful and can be seen best in its entirety from a distance. The best photographic views are during day but visually romantic after dark.

At the best vantage point called Los Cuatro Postes, we saw an art class drawing the wall and then noted that there was an art school with glass windows for viewing. Amazing for those students!

I noticed that the children’s toys consisted of shields, armor, wooden swords and crossbows. I imagine that kids play “Storm the Castle” like Americans might play “Cowboys and Indians.”

Educational Portion of the Post

This wall or battlement has innies called crenels and outies called merlons. Sometimes a merlon has a slit for shooting arrows. The entire decorative effect is called crenellation as seen as decoration on Roman togas. The purpose of the wall is to protect the city from hostile invaders. I am pretty sure that this wall must be President Trump’s inspiration.

A turret is a small tower that projects vertically from a wall. It may or may not have a staircase. Most of the ones in Ávila had staircases yet thankfully some of the doorways were blocked off. We ascended them all!!

If there is a rock, a wall, a staircase, or a mountain, we WILL be climbing it. Rob’s theme song: “Climb EVERY mountain.”

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