Pampliega, Spain – Diamond in the Rough
As you continue your road trip through Western Europe, you will certainly come upon little hidden gems, little diamonds in the rough, such as Pampliega, Spain.
Located in north-central Spain (between Burgos and Villadolid), this pueblo is little more than a tiny black dot on your map. However, it also happens to be beside one of the all important blue lines on that map. When you’re taking a road trip through Spain in the summer, access to water is of the utmost importance.
Being as it’s not far off the major highway, you might as well take a little side trip to check it out.
The only way into town is over a majestic one-lane bridge crossing the river (Okay, it’s more like a stream during dry season, but shhhh). You’ll be able to drive through the town in about 5 minutes, looking up the hill at the aged church and be pleasantly surprised by the humble charm. Take a walk around and you’ll be transported back in time. No neon lights or fast food joints around… just a placid little community living by the river side.
Stroll down to the little pop-up beer stand and order one, then just sit and chat with the locals (Spanish is a must if you actually want to understand). Everyone is just sitting around, enjoying the sun, watching life go by without a care in the world.
That grass patch in front of the river is caught up in the toughest of gang wars around. The two gaggles of geese, the whites and the coloured may get into a little dispute while you’re there (apparently the geese are still quite racist in Pampliega, Spain). If a dog happens to wander over, get your camera! Two rival geese gaggles ganging up to chase a dog is something you may not see again… You can giggle at the gaggles and not worry, even if the gaggles are racist in Pampliega, the people are very friendly. (I’ve run out of ways to use the word ‘gaggle’)
The people will even direct you to a little camping area just off from the river where you can set up your tents and stay for the night. You’ll swear that no tourist would ever happen to find this place, but you may just run into a group of French, traveling through to Portugal. Forget about all those French stereotypes and strike up a conversation, you may just find out about a wicked music festival coming up or something to see on your route. French seem to be almost everywhere and are a wealth of knowledge for funky little things like that, another great reason to learn French.
You can use the picnic tables and the little fire pits, chatting away until the wee hours with your new friends. This is a quaint and quite little stop to rest your driver’s bum for a night and stretch your legs a bit. In the morning, there’s a great little swimming hole to get fully refreshed before heading back onto the road… and all of it is surrounded by peace and serenity, picture opportunities and old world charm…
Pampliega, Spain is one of many hidden gems that are waiting to pop out and impress you along your Western European road trip.