April 19, 2010 - Posted by Erin in Madrid, Travel, Travels in Spain

Miraflores de la Sierra, that is (Miraflores meaning “look flowers”). The pueblo, which was founded in the late eighth century, was originally named Porquerizas, but had its name officially changed in 1627. Legend has it that when Queen Isabel (of the famous Catholic Kings) was heading to the nearby El Paular monastery, while resting she saw the area and exclaimed, “Look, flowers!” Those that were with her overheard this and suggested the name change. Apparently its original name, Porquerizas, is derived either from the fact that they raised a lot of pigs there, or that there was just a ridiculously large abundance of wild pigs. The connection to pigs seems fuzzy to me, though, as the term “porqueria” actually refers to a very dirty place (so I guess pigs liked it?). In my opinion, a floral name definitely seems like a step up, but considering this country’s love of pig, it’s possible that a place with an abundance of pigs (even though apparently dirty) might not be such a disappointment.

Moving forward some 500+ hundred years, we find ourselves in this little pueblo perched on a mountain side – views of the vast valley in one direction, and views of the steep mountainside in the other. This particular day, last Sunday, the sun was shining and Spring was in full force (which I’m especially reminded of as I look out the window at the cold, rainy day right now). Why the trip to Miraflores? Well, while I’d like to make every weekend a “road trip weekend,” I’ve realized that just isn’t possible (not for lack of trying though!), so the alternative is to discover new spots in the community of Madrid which you can get to within an hour or so. So next up on this list was Miraflores de la Sierra, which is about 40 minutes north of the city of Madrid.

Upon arriving we set off to discover what there was to see in the tiny village, but before getting too far, we came across an old man (clearly a pueblo native) willing to guide the way. He proudly declared what a lovely pueblo it was, how well you could eat there, all while leading us toward the Plaza Mayor. With the arrival of the toasty weather, the plaza was full of children running around and their parents spectating from nearby terrazas. Our new friend carried on explaining to us the many places we could have a good lunch, warning us of those restaurants that were just way too expensive.

Our first stop was lunch at a restaurant that our new friend recommended, Melfi (C/Mayor 19), where we had pimientos rellenos – really only to prove to ourselves that Jacobo’s mom’s are a million times better (recipe coming soon!), although these ones were pretty darn good too! After lunch we took a walk through the historic quarter of the city, visiting its church and just enjoying people watching. It’s always refreshing to immerse yourself in the slow rhythm of pueblo life – grandpas strolling aimlessly through the quiet town, neighbors having impromptu gatherings in the street….and then there’s us, the crazy tall Spaniard with the blond American (nooo, we don’t stand out at all). Nothing beats beautiful weather and a small little town to discover.

Where to next? This week I’m taking a proper road trip up to the province of León, where I’ll be visiting several pueblos (and hopefully even make it up to Oviedo, in Asturias). Also on my calendar in the coming month or so is a trip to Luxembourg in addition to some shepherding in the province of Soria – yes, I’m going to go chase some sheep (I’m unnaturally excited about this)!

2 Responses to “Look, flowers!”

  1. jem Says:

    I love reading about your life in Spain, it always seems like you are having a great adventure! 🙂

  2. Erin Says:

    Thanks Jem! I just checked out your blog as well – it looks like you are quite the traveler too, and I love your writing style! How can I subscribe to your blog without using Google Friend Connect (pardon the ignorance 🙂 )?

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