Justice for Valladolid

I chose Valladolid not because it was a place I wanted to visit, but because it was a place between two other places I wanted to visit. I have only been here for an afternoon and an evening an so am probably not doing it justice as a destination. That said, one afternoon seemed plenty to wander around the centre of town and see the outside of everything on the ‘things to do’ lists.

Valladolid has had a roller-coaster history with highs and lows from being a royal seat, to becoming relatively deserted – right now it is on a high of both power and riches and that shows in the centre of town.

Gem amongst the mess

There are some lovely old buildings interspaced with modern, up-market shopping areas. But those are like jewels in a field of 1970s ugliness where the need to build completely overwhelmed any sense of history. You can see things are on the up again now because all of the old buildings have had their facades cleaned and so the local white stone shines amongst the red brick and concrete.

I appreciated the palaces and churches but not a lot stood out as exceptional. Perhaps the one exception to the unexceptional was the park. Prosaically named ‘the big field’ it is anything but that. El Campo Grande is one of the most beautiful parks I have seen – cleverly designed with different spaces and wandering paths, its an absolute sea of green.

Campo Grande

Just to be sure I had missed nothing I went on an evening tour up the Cathedral tower (yes, it’s becoming a habit). The view from the top validated my view from the ground. The tower visit was fascinating though thanks to a further insight into bells being used for communication. Apparently there are male and female bells – basically female bells are more square and make lower sounds – and the combination of low and high sounds was a code for various things.

Blogging under the tower

Valladolid has one other claim to fame that makes it stand out for me personally. Some years ago we visited the house where Christopher Columbus is purported to have been born. Today I walked past the house where he is purported to have died.

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