A Series of Posts on Chinchón, One of my Favorite Towns in Spain
By Gerry Dawes©2011
La Plaza Mayor, Chinchón.
Chinchón I: A Day Trip with Padre Luís de Lezama, Feb 5, 2011
Padre Luís de Lezama and his brother, Patxo, stroll down a street in Chinchón.
Chinchón has long been one of my favorite towns in Spain. I first visited this wonderful town in 1971 with my old friend and art gallery partner, Edwin J. Mullens, III, from Clarksdale, Mississippi. Over the past forty years, I have visited Chinchón many, many times and I have spent at least a dozen nights there. I especially like to stay in this charming, romantic town with its 16th-century atmosphere the nights before I have to catch a plane back to the U.S. (Chinchón is less than an hour from the Madrid air terminals).
La Plaza Mayor, Chinchón.
On that first trip, it was a very cold day, so we had lunch in the upstairs dining room next to the fireplace at a table near windows that overlooked La Plaza Mayor. I still remember that I had alubias con chorizo (beans with chorizo), baby lamb chops, the local red wine (now from the D.O. Vinos de Madrid), café con leche and a brandy snifter of anís (anís liqueur) de Chinchón. That day is still a cherished memory.
My lunch with Padre Lezama was also on a February day, but the weather was uncharacteristically warm (nearly 70 degrees F.) and the sun was shining. It was a glorious day, so the Padre, his brother Patxo and I had lunch outside on the balcony overlooking the square.
Frascuelo, the famous 19th-century matador who was a favorite in Chinchón.
Early on in Chinchón, a town an hour southeast of Madrid that is famous for festive bullfights held in its picturesque 16th-century Plaza Mayor, Padre Luís de Lezama, a Basque priest on his first assignment out of the seminary began befriending down-and-out maletillas, or bull bums, the itinerant teenaged would-be bullfighters, in the Spain of dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Early one summer morning in 1962, when he arrived at the entrance the 17th century Convento de Las Clarisas, where he went each day to say mass for the nuns, he found three maletillassleeping under the overhang of the entrance to the church. This encounter would change the Padre's life forever.
Matador El Bormujano, one of the maletillas that Padre Lezama found sleeping
at the entrance to the Convento del las Clarisas, an order of Franciscan nuns, in Chinchón.
Slide show of A Day Trip with Padre Luís de Lezama, Feb 5, 2011.
(Double click to enlarge.)
on gastronomy, wine, culture and travel in Spain.
Gerry Dawes can be reached at email@example.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): firstname.lastname@example.org