Sleeping in a Haunted Medieval Castle

I personally find that, when you love people and places around you it’s kind of natural, it just happens without even noticing it. No matter how beautiful your town or village is, you’ll typically find it the most beautiful one. It’s not just like a physical attraction, I guess…it’s also about the memories it reminds you of, great moments spent there, people you met…

What I find really fascinating is when someone who comes to a place for the first time, immediately falls in love with it and has the same feelings. That is what happens to many of the visitors that come to Sigüenza. I love it when they tell me “I’m looking forward to coming back” even before they’ve left!

I’ve always worked with people from different countries, some of them are expats, some of them are spending their gap year here in Spain, some of them chose to retire in our country or to start a new life… And that’s how I came across “Spain Revealed”, a series of videos made by James Blick (@jamesblickspain) and Yolanda Martín (@flamencoguide), which show our lifestyle and culture with the aim of helping foreigners understand and explore Spain like locals. Their passion and love towards my country, makes me feel incredibly flattered.

In this post, I wanted to share a video they filmed in Sigüenza when staying at our Parador Nacional. You can really tell how much they loved their stay and also, how much they learned about our culture and history thanks to my colleague Jorge Sopeña, historian and local tour guide (@siguenza_visitas_guiadas_jorge).

Visiting and exploring new places is always a good idea, but doing it with a tour guide is even better! Make the most of your trips with a local tour guide, it’s really worth it!

Sigüenza, to the conquest of the World Heritage.

Sigüenza and its citizens received an excellent piece of news in January 2020: our medieval city was to present its candidacy to UNESCO World Heritage, a prestigious nomination which would recognize the uniqueness of its architecture and history.

In 1986, Toledo was the first city in Castilla-La Mancha to be recognized as a World Heritage Site and so was Cuenca in 1996. Sigüenza would become the third city in the region to conquer the title of UNESCO World Heritage City.

Sigüenza is also preparing for the IX Centennial of the Reconquest, which will be held in 2024, and will position the city as one of the cultural capitals of Spain, with loads of commemorative acts.

Sigüenza has always had a busy cultural agenda, filled with lots of events such as concerts, exhibitions, recitals… After the lockdown, the agenda starts getting busy again and open spaces will take a privileged position to host this kind of events. For example, the past 12th July the cultural leisure program began with a concert by Santos Moreno and Javier Villaverde, two of the most beloved musicians in the city, held at San Vicente square.

But the crown jewel is the outstanding exhibition of El Prado Museum, on the streets of Sigüenza. From July 13th  to August 26th, 50 life-size photographic reproductions of the masterpieces of El Prado Museum, will be exhibited in the Plaza Mayor, a pleasure for the views of whoever strolls our streets these days.

Not to be missed and definitely a great opportunity to know Sigüenza and enjoy the cultural agenda the City Hall prepares for locals and visitors.

Sweet memories: My first tour

It was back in 2013 when I had the pleasure to welcome my first international visitors on a guided tour in Sigüenza. Joanne, from South Korea, and Tom, from Japan, fell absolutely in love with the city, its streets, food and people. It was amazing to experience how people from such different countries and cultures were so impressed by our history and traditions.

Sigüenza was celebrating the popular “Jornadas Medievales“, its Medieval Days where the city becomes a scene from the Middle Ages, with street food, music and a flea market, where people in medieval costume dresses sell their handmade products and crafts. There are several activities organized by the City Hall, including workshops and theatre performances, recreating historical facts that took place in Sigüenza, such as the rescue of Blanche of Bourbon (Doña Blanca), married to King Peter of Castile, who was locked in one of the towers of the Castle of Sigüenza in 1355.

We walked around the city and Joanne and Tom enjoyed every step on its streets. We also visited some villages in the surroundings of Sigüenza, since they wanted to make the most of their visit and see places that couldn’t be found in tourist guides. Living in a crowded, modern city as Tokio, can be rather stressful so as they said, seeing sunflower and cereal fields, and sheep peacefully grazing, was the most relaxing experience they ever had, just what they were looking for!

I felt honoured because Joanne and Tom, apart from visiting Madrid, Barcelona, Toledo, Córdoba and Granada, decided to include Sigüenza in their first visit to Spain and I am sure they were not disappointed.

Unfortunately, the Medieval Days, which should have taken place precisely this weekend (11th-12th July 2020), have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Hopefully next year, locals and visitors will enjoy them again, so write the date down on your agenda and book an incredible summer weekend to spend in Sigüenza next year.

But there’s no need to wait, Sigüenza has always something to offer. So plan your visit soon…you’ll be looking forward to coming back!

Sigüenza welcomes visitors after the lockdown

We will never forget this year 2020 and everything we have experienced due to the pandemic COVID-19. Not so long ago, we were happily living our lives, making our plans, enjoying the company of our friends and family, and all of a sudden something unexpected happened. We were told to stay safe home, to look after ourselves and basically everybody had, to get adapted to a new situation no one knew how long is was going to last. Thankfully, the situation has improved and we are slowly starting to get used to this new reality we are facing.

Hoping that this lesson has been learned, we all know now how important it is to stay in touch with our beloved ones, and enjoy every minute we spend together. Doing things we took for granted, such as travelling, going to restaurants, visiting museums or meeting friends, seemed impossible just a few weeks ago. From now on, we will appreciate everything that life offers to us even more.

Spain is a country full of beautiful and unique places such as Sigüenza, places that have opened their doors to anyone looking forward to keep on enjoying life and discovering incredible places and people. For that reason, I felt overwhelmed when, after such a long period of time without seen my family due to the lockdown, as soon as I arrived in Sigüenza I found this sign, which is not just a banner, is a real message that made feel welcome and at home.

This is Sigüenza, a place where everybody is welcome and shall feel at home. Enjoy this opportunity to visit such an amazing city and fall in love with it, we are waiting for you!