Palencia with your dog
Dazzled by the Romanesque – that’s what happens to those who take the time to wander the lands of Castile and Leon. Towns and cities dotted with unique churches and a sense of calm and the good life. Palencia also offers plans you can make with your dog, such as entering a Cistercian monastery, discovering the secrets of the cosmos in a church that has been reconverted into a monument devoted to astronomy, jumping in a buggy or exploring the landscapes of a geopark.
I was in Palencia in August 2018. This destination is known, among other things, for boasting the largest concentration of Romanesque monuments in Europe. For the time being, furry friends like me have to make do with admiring these jewels from the outside, like I did at the magnificent Church of San Martín in Frómista, although some tourist areas in Palencia are starting to welcome visitors with well-behaved dogs.
Among the most forward-thinking is San Pedro Cultural, the church that has been reconverted into a monument devoted to astronomy which, as a result of my visit, now allows dogs inside, as you can see on their website.
I should therefore like to congratulate the town hall of Becerril de Campos, as they are by way of their example helping this society to move forward with regard to animals and the fight against their being abandoned.
San Pedro Cultural is a must if you are heading for Palencia. This is a 12th century church 20 minutes away from the provincial capital that was rescued from ruins and transformed into a place devoted to the cosmos. In it you can see a giant Foucault pendulum in constant movement – this and other contraptions on display here help to demonstrate the Earth’s rotation. It’s worth taking a guided tour because you will learn a lot of things about our planet and the cosmos (you can see from the photo that I didn’t miss a thing). Of the two daily tours, the one at 13:30 allows pets (check their website for further information).
A DOG-FRIENDLY CONVENT THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING RESTORED
Another surprise we found on our route through Palencia was the Monastery of Santa Cruz de la Zarza, in Ribas de Campos, a stone’s throw from the provincial capital. The town hall of Ribas de Campos is currently fighting to save the ruins of this monument built in the Cistercian/proto-Gothic style (look what amazing capitals are preserved inside its chapterhouse). The Friends of Santa Cruz de la Zarza Monastery Association organises cultural activities here and arranges dog-friendly visits by prior appointment. For further information, check www.monasteriosantacruzdelazarza.com
By the way, very close by you can see several locks on the Canal of Castile, and this 205 kilometre-long canal that was built in the 18th century as a waterway for the transportation of goods through the provinces of Palencia, Valladolid and Burgos. This is one of the most significant points, as building work started here on 16th July 1753. Tourist boats operate all along the canal, although we didn’t find any that allow pets, unlike those on the Riaño reservoir or the Bay of Santander, to cite two examples.
To enable us to visit all this area, we stayed in a rural hotel in Población de Campos, which is run by the charming Carmen, who really treats her guests like their mother. By the way, this is right on the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago, and so it’s an ideal place to rest if you decide to walk it. In the provincial capital itself we stayed in one of the city’s longest-established and most central hotels, which you can seen in my video about Palencia. Both feature in the dog-friendly guide at the end of this article.
I should mention that I came across a fair number of bars and restaurants in the city of Palencia that allow well-behaved dogs inside (see the guide below), such as the bistro that appears in my video (if you’re going to have breakfast, you’ll love the toast with their homemade jam and, if you want to stay and eat, well, all I can see is…...mmmmmm). Outside the provincial capital, eating indoors becomes more difficult. There is, however, a great place in Aguilar de Campoo that allows dogs inside, just beside the reservoir.
MUSEUM OF THE CERRATO, MULTI-ADVENTURE PARK AND LAS LORAS GEOPARK
Returning to the cultural side of things, to the south-east of the provincial capital we were able to visit the neighbourhood known as the Baltanás bodegas and its Museum of the Cerrato, a dog-friendly cultural centre that houses the interpretation centre for the Castilian Cerrato region and exhibitions. You can see me enjoying the paintings by major artists from Castile and Leon in my video. The main building houses the Hospital de Santo Tomás Hospital, a magnificent 18thcentury structure boasting a spectacular Baroque façade and a courtyard in the same style.
And in the Montaña Palentina mountain region I was well-impressed by the former Barruelo de Santullán train station, which has been restored and reconverted into an active tourism and multi-adventure centre where you can try out any number of activities. I opted for a buggy trip, although as it was my first time, I didn’t go too far into the mountains. One of the spots I visited is a small black earth desert beside the station which was formed from the debris left over from a coal mine. It makes for a really unique landscape!
Before departing Palencia, I had time to visit the Las Loras Geopark, recognised as such by UNESCO for the exceptional geology of the area. The rock formations that can be seen around here have led some to call it the Spanish Colorado. I visited the area around Las Tuerces and had a blast in this rock labyrinth close to Aguilar de Campoo. The limestone mountains have become eroded over time and taken on some most surprising shapes and forms, and it covers a huge area. By the way, we dogs must be on a leash (except during the short period it took to record my video – like always).
GUIDE: DOG FRIENDLY PALENCIA WITH SUGGESTIONS RECEIVED VIA PIPPER’S SOCIAL NETWORKS:
WHERE TO SLEEP:
HOTEL CASTILLA VIEJA. Avenida Casado del Alisal, 26. Palencia
AC Palencia. Av. de Cuba, 25. Palencia
Hotel Rural Amanecer en Campos Población de Campos –en pleno Camino de Santiago-
Hotel Rural Piedra Abierta San Martín de Perapertú
Finca El Cercado Baltanás
Hotel Posada Fuentes Carrionas La Pernia, Camasobres
La Casa del Abad Hotel y Spa. Ampudia
Las Casitas de Papel. Ampudia
Casa Rural Atienza Ampudia
WHERE TO EAT:
El Botánico Bistró Terrace. Calle Don Sancho, 4, Palencia
Bar Baobab C/ La Puebla, 14. Palencia
Cervecería El Recreo. Calle Doña Urraca, 1d, Palencia
Bar El Obispo. Situado en medio del parque Huertas del Obispo
Bar Adrián. Calle Estrada, 9, Palencia
Peluquería Zenith. c/ Batán de San Sebastián 1, Palencia.
Viajes Spacio Libre, Av. República Argentina nº6. Palencia