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Castrillo de los Polvazares

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A fascinating side-trip from Astorga takes in the improbably pretty village of Castrillo de los Polvazares, considered to be an archetypal Maragato settlement, and now zealously preserved as a local heritage showpiece. There’s basically one long main cobbled street, and a small, stork-topped church, with the rest being a charming collection of eighteenth-century, russet-coloured stone cottages flaunting window boxes and signs advertising honey (miel) for sale. Only residents can drive in (there’s a car park by the bridge at the entrance to the village), so catch Castrillo at the right time – traffic free, and only the cobbled footfall of pilgrims to disturb the timeless scene – and it resembles nothing so much as a Hardyesque Wessex village. There are several cafés and restaurants, and three or four places to stay if you fancied a quiet night out of town instead.

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