The Parador de Vic – Sau (and other places)

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The view from our room at Vic

The parador at Vic isn’t actually in the town, it’s about 10km away up a winding country road. Also I never actually went to Vic so I can’t write about it. The two nights (1.5 days) spent there were for a me a time of rest and recuperation. All of the places we’d visited over the previous two weeks were wonderful, but we were very busy and by 8th August I was just a bit tired. So this post is about the parador at Vic and all the other paradores we’ve stayed at this trip.

There are paradores all over Spain, often in towns where there aren’t many other hotels and it’s a government run chain. Many of them are old, refurbished buildings, but there are also new ones too. This one, near Vic is in the style of a Catalan country house (according to the website) and we had a particularly swanky room. A sitting room, bedroom and two balconies. It was the perfect end to our trip through Northern Spain. It also had a pool which I swam in and sat next to while Graeme hiked to a monestery that was closed and that he couldn’t actually see. I know who chose the best way to spend a morning, but each to his or her own!

Graeme also went into Vic and obtained supplies so we could have our own lunch on the balcony rather than eat an expensive hotel lunch. The food at this parador was actually pretty good though. We were half board at all of our hotel stays which made it easier in places where there aren’t a lot of alternatives. For example in Santo Domingo.

Breakfasts and dinners

One of my favourite things about the paradors are the breakfasts. In previous years we’ve been able to eat breakfast in our room (or on the balcony if we had one). Sadly this is currently off the cards. Indeed in our first parador at Santo Domingo there wasn’t even a buffet. Staff brought out plates of bread, pastries, meats and cheeses. Then you requested hot items like eggs. There was, I think a lot of waste. But the restaurant was quite small so that might have accounted for it. Subsequently at Siguenza, Lleida and Vic the buffets were back. Each diner was given bamboo tweezers to pick items up. You had to wear a mask but these were small things that made breakfast much more enjoyable.

Restaurant at Lleida is a converted church

Dinner menus can be a bit odd. Just because something appears to be a starter doesn’t mean it will be smaller than a main course. Plus you can never tell if vegetables will be on the plate, often it’s a piece of meat or fish and little or nothing else. It wasn’t until the last night that I managed to get a decent amount of broccoli and cauliflower on my plate! But the food is good, well cooked if a bit on the cheffy side, as you’d expect. A plate of fresh fruit to finish was always a good way to get something other than protein. Fresh fruit is also available at breakfast.

Drinks in the bar

Many of the bars on this trip were a bit on the large and soulless side on this trip. If you can sit outside then that overcomes this problem, which was the case at both Siguenza and Vic. At both of these we also had balconies, which on a hot evening is a wonderful alternative.

Bars in most areas seem to close earlier than they used to, at 11pm. I’m not sure if that’s a Covid thing or not. They tend not to be much fun in the evening especially after dinner; a few people have their coffee there, but mainly they seem to go straight to their rooms. We therefore tend to do the same, but often take our drink with us.

The bar in Santa Domingo was something of a tourist attraction, with people, peering in the window to see the former castle interior. It’s a shame more don’t venture in for a coffee or a drink as the bars tend to be open to non residents and it added to the atmosphere.

Bar in Santo Domingo Parador
Outdoor bar at Siguenza

Overall thoughts

Graeme has visited lots of paradores, he absolutely loves them, even if he moans about their idiosyncrasies. I’ve visited a fair few now too. This bunch were pretty typical but also a pleasure. Partly because this is the first time we’ve stayed in hotels since March 2020. But also because it makes a change from having to cater for yourself, someone else makes the bed and cooks your food. There are plenty more paradores to visit and stay in and I hope it isn’t too long before we can do so again.

Lunch at Siguenza

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