Monday, September 29, 2014


Today I took a bus thirty miles to the southeast of Madrid to a little town called Chinchón.  Chinchón is little known to foreign tourists, but it is a very popular weekend get-away with residents of Madrid.  Since today is Monday, I practically had the town to myself.

When I arrived around 11:00 A.M., the sun still had not completely burned off the morning fog.

This picturesque town is famous for its 15th century main plaza.  The "town square' is actually circular in shape, and it doubles as the town's bullring.  The barricades and seating were all in place because every October a famous bullfight is held in Chinchón.  Some of Spain's best "toreros" participate, and all the proceeds are donated to charity.


There are more than 200 balconies on the buildings which surround the plaza.  Most of the buildings are restaurants and inns which serve the large numbers of weekend visitors.

Chichón is famous for its culinary traditions.  The restaurants are noted for their roasted meats, typical of Castilian cuisine.  The town also produces "Anís", an anise flavored liqueur. The bakeries of Chichón produce a variety of artisanal breads.  

One rather "risqué" product sold in all the bakeries of Chinchón is "la teta de la novicia" (the novice's tit). 

The bakeries also sell "pelotas del fraile" (Friar's balls), and I'm sure that the "double entendre" is intended!

Overlooking the plaza is the 15th century Church of the Assumption, a sturdy, fortress-like structure that lacks the typical bell tower.

Down the street is a clock tower that was part of a church that was destroyed in the Napoleonic Wars.  There is an old saying... "Chinchón has a tower without a church and a church without a tower."

Looking down toward the plaza from the church...

The streets of Chinchón are a photographer's delight.

On the edge of town are the remains of a 16th century castle which was built for the Count of Cabrera, the local lord.  The castle was damaged during the War of Spanish Succession and the Napoleonic Wars.  For a time it was used as a factory for production of "anís".  You cannot enter the castle, but from here there is a great view of the town and the surrounding countryside.

My trip to Spain is coming to an end.  I took three excursions to towns nearby Madrid... Alcalá de Henares, Aranjuez, and Chinchón.  None of them are on the typical itinerary of the foreign tourist.  But all of them are easy to reach by public transportation.  Each one is unique, and each one is definitely worth a visit!  

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