We left Medina Del Campo with every intention of moving on to Zamora for the night. We did really plan to explore Zamora.
But to get to Zamora, we had to navigate the treacherous drive through the Toro wine region. Toro may be one of the smallest wine regions in Spain, but as we were soon to learn, it was a powerful one.
In Morales de Toro, we let our guard down for just an instant and our car was drawn into the parking lot of the Bodega Vina Bajoz.
After being forced to taste glass after glass of glorious red wines, we wisely decided that the furthest we should drive was the nearest hotel.
The vicious woman who forced all that wine on us was quick to offer a call to a hotel in the town of Toro. The Hotel Juan II sits at the very top of the hill just behind the church. It is a simple traditional, but lovely and reasonably priced 3-star. Whatever she told them about us produced a room with a fabulous view of the Duero River from our balcony.
We decided to take a walk through town to clear our heads and check out the restaurants. The desk clerk gave us a town plan on which she marked several recommended restaurants in various price ranges. She warned us that Toroinos eat very, very late. This became obvious as we walked the almost deserted streets of town and found most of the marked restaurants still closed up tight at 9:00 PM.
As we wondered around we found some vibrant shopping areas with beautiful green spaces. Then we discovered that the oldest walking streets in town, were the most vacant. The buildings were in poor repair and many of them were unoccupied.
What intrigued us most about this area of town was the columns used to prop up the crumbling 2nd floor of many buildings. Where did they come from? Were they just lying around some ancient ruin? Was this a version of recycling, much like the fad in the 70s of using used brick to build houses in the US? And when did they do this? The wood and ironwork look pretty ancient as well.
After deciding that we didn't want to wait until 11 PM for a restaurant to open, we headed back to the hotel to take our chances with the in-house restaurant. This turned out to be a good decision, and it provided us with the catch phrase we were to use for the rest of our trip.