Subject: Soccer near Madrid
Palencia is located on the north of Castilla-Leon. Those are the lands of the Saint Jamesī Way, the centuries old trail that went from places as far away as Sweden or Poland thru Europe to reach Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

I went to Palencia last year on a day trip, because we wanted to visit the exhibition The ages of man that was held in its cathedral. Itīs a small provincial town, easy enough to move, with some interesting romanesque churches and convents. As in many other places in Castilla, the most recommended dish is the roasted lamb. And the convent sweets. On a side note, the exhibition The ages of man is held every year by the castilian dioceses, changing sites every year. It is free, huge and very interesting. It is usually held in one of the cathedrals, and they bring out plenty of known and unknown works of art.

Places around Palencia. Burgos and its cathedral, the mountains in the north, probably Leon and Zamora. There are some roman villas scattered thru the province.

Santander is an interesting place for teenagers, specially if they love animals, is Cabarceno. It is an old iron mine, that was converted around 10 years ago into a natural park, with elephants, lions, and a lot more. You can drive thru the park or walk and watch the animals. I am not sure if it will be open in March.

Valladolid is around 1 hour of driving from Palencia. It is a freeway, but there is a lot of traffic because itīs the main road to travel from Portugal to France. From Valladolid, I cannot tell you for sure, but it will be around 1 or 2 hours driving to Madrid. Segovia is on the way from Valladolid to Madrid. Toledo is south from Madrid, so if you are thinking of a day trip from Palencia to Toledo, I would say very, very difficult and tiring. First you have to arrive to Madrid, drive on the circunvalation road (M40 or M50, long and full of traffic) and head to Toledo, around an hour. And then do it again to get back to Palencia.

Valladolid has also a Premier League team, so maybe you can think of replacing the Real Madrid match with a Real Valladolid one. Even more, it will probably be cheaper, and not so dangerous as a Real Madrid - Barcelona game.

Some URLs: http://members.nbci.com/vandiest/europe.htm http://www.REALVALLADOLID.ES http://www.lasedades.es/ http://www.palencia.com/ http://weather.yahoo.com/forecast/Palencia_SP_c.html http://www.turwl.com/ http://www.castillayleon.com/turismo/

Covadonga Bilbao.