There’s the improbably massive 16th century cathedral, a magnificent 11th century Alcazar, which claims to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle in Cinderella but my highlight is the amazing Roman aqueduct. It’s over 2,000 years old and built with two tiers of granite blocks formed into arches without a trace of mortar.
The well-worn path through the town is crowded with tourist shops and cafes but off the beaten track we found the perfectly Spanish Meson de Patricia, without a word of English on the menu and full of local people for lunch. Spaghetti for starters, pork on the bone stew with chips for main, a couple of glasses of wine, ice cream and coffee to finish. All for 10 euro, the price of coffee and cake on the tourist trail.
The high-speed line is incredibly quick but lacks the drama of crossing the snow capped Sierra de Guadarrama, so we decided to return to Madrid on the slow train. The dozen little station stops maintain a vital link between small mountain communities and Madrid. The train climbs and meanders through mountain passes, past deep valleys and mountains still glinting with snow in April.