November 10, 2009 - Posted by Erin in Travel, Travels in Spain

Yesterday was Jacob’s 34th birthday, so we decided to head out to a familiar spot – Patones de Arriba. The last time we went was probably a year and a half ago, and I had forgotten how much I loved the little city of slate.

Patones de Arriba is about 50 minutes north of Madrid and sits at the top of a long windy road that creeps its way up a large mountainside. The city is entirely made of slate – cobbley slate streets, slate bricked houses, and roofs made of….oh wait, the roofs are not slate….you would think, but no. Peculiar. Meandering through the narrow little streets filled with homeless cats transports you to another place – a place that hardly seems Spanish, or really like anything that you’ve ever seen. On the hillsides behind the town you can see the remains of what must have been a larger town – the hills are speckled with the ruins of old slate homes and the walls that surrounded them. It looks like a wonderland of history and is hard to stare at without getting lost in imagining what the town must have been like hundreds of years ago.

We first stopped for aperitivos at a modern looking Spanish bar at the mouth of the pueblo. It was called Rincon de Patones. It had yummy tapas and warm, neighborly service (Jacob and I were starting to get used to being treated as strangers after our trip to Lupiana, but this certainly wasn’t the case at this place).

Following our aperitivos, we headed up the maze of streets to another restaurant called El Abuelo Manolo where we had reserved a table for two by a window overlooking the rocky hills. I was mesmerized by the view during the entire lunch, taking breaks from day dreaming only occasionally in order to take bites of the obsession-worthy homemade croquetas, empanadas and finally my cappuccino which was truly a piece of art.

I think I enjoyed Patones de Arriba even more the second time than the first…maybe because there’s so much to discover, both in the town and on the mountains surrounding it. My mom, aunt and cousin will be coming out for Thanksgiving in two weeks, so I think I might need to return again very soon!

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