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A night away February 2010

A night away - Parador de Chinchón

If you are travelling through Madrid, why not take time out and stay in Chinchón, which is about 50 kilometres south east of the city.

This pretty town has history dating back before the Romans and in the beginning of the 17th century, Chinchón was converted into one of the most important cities of its day, as Philip V of Spain was proclaimed king of the Plaza Mayor during the War of the Spanish Succession.

We had to ask directions for the Parador, which is a 17th century Augustinian Convent. The people were very friendly in this country town and we soon found our hotel in a quiet, narrow street in the old town.

After checking in, we walked through the cloisters and into the central garden with Cypress trees and roses. There we had a welcome drink and then made our way to our room.

Our room was very peaceful – as if many prayers had been said there in times past. Looking out of our shuttered windows we could see the gardens and swimming pool. We then took a walk to the nearby Plaza Mayor, which is located in the centre of the town – a classic medieval plaza from the 15th century, which brought back memories of our visit to Sienna in Tuscany.

It is roughly circular, surrounded by galleried houses and cafes, and is used as a temporary bullring and theatre area.

There are various restaurants surrounding the plaza – some of them are ancient caves which have been converted to bodegas.

In the evening, we walked round the plaza, and bought antique plates from the local shops. We took the opportunity to dine out in a restaurant near the hotel, which was buzzing with local people of all generations. We sampled the local cheeses and enjoyed the wines from the area.

As usual, we enjoyed a peaceful night in this lovely Parador hotel, and woke up refreshed to take a top quality breakfast on the dining terrace. Service was excellent throughout our stay and we sadly left at lunchtime the next day. This is a precious area and hotel and we will remember to call here again if we are in the area.

Parador de Chinchon, Calle de Los Huertos, 28370 Chinchón Tel: 91 894 0836 Fax: 91 894 0908 E-mail: chinchon@parador.es Price €90

ANNE FLEMING