Our Surprising Detour to Alburquerque, Spain
No, that’s not a typo in the title; I didn’t misspell Albuquerque. If you’re familiar with Albuquerque, a city in New Mexico, USA, you may be scratching your head at Alburquerque, Spain.
Well, it just so happens that Alburquerque, Spain, is the sister city of Albuquerque (aka, our hometown), and we just so happened to be very close to it during our Spain/Portugal road trip, so we had to go check it out.
Which is the perfect segway to give a shout-out to one reason why I love road trips: Sometimes detours make the absolute BEST stops.
So there we were, in Segovia, Spain, looking at our route to Lisbon, Portugal, for the next day. Out of nowhere, our oldest daughter starts talking about home (Albuquerque). Just hearing that name sparked a memory about our hometown having a sister city in Spain.
One quick search on our Google map gave me my answer, and it stopped me in my tracks. Alburquerque, Spain, was practically on our exact route for the next day.
That place is more than just a quirky name for us because if you don’t know, (HI!) my husband and I are originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and we’re quite proud of our hometown.
So to see that we were mere miles (kilometers) from its sister city and namesake…well, let’s just say that we were a little bit excited about this sudden detour.
Time for a Quick History Lesson
Albuquerque (USA), was founded by Francisco Cuervo y Valdés back in the day—1706, to be exact—and named after the 10th Duke of Alburquerque (Spain), Viceroy Francisco Fernández de la Cueva.
Long story short: Señor Cuervo y Valdés made his way over to America, planted roots in (now) New Mexico, and dubbed it Albuquerque based on his hometown’s duke, back in Alburquerque.
Now, if you want to know about the extra “R,” I don’t actually know how/where the change happened.*
And here’s another fun fact for you, too. The minor-league baseball team in Albuquerque, New Mexico, used to be called the “Albuquerque Dukes,” named after…dun dun dun…the duke himself. The team’s logo was even a cartoon version of a Spanish conquistador; an homage to Viceroy Francisco Fernández de la Cueva.
Okay, now that the sister-city situation is kind of explained, here’s a bit about where Alburquerque, Spain, is, exactly.
*My husband read this before publishing and said he knows about the “R,” so here’s his take: Apparently it was a clerical error. There was a Spanish clerk writing back to Spain about the new Alburquerque, but he accidentally left out the “R” from the OG ABQ’s name, and Albuquerque (sans the “R” stuck for the new city). The rest, as they say, is history.
In and Around Alburquerque, Spain
This sleepy Spanish village is around 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Portugal’s border and 362 kilometers (225 miles) from Spain’s capital, Madrid.
There’s a castle on top of the hill, two churches, cork trees surrounding the city, orange trees dotting the drive in and out of town, and a lively town square at the center of it all.
We were there on Palm Sunday, so nothing was open (besides the castle..thank goodness), and the church.
But a couple of the locals we talked to were so nice and welcoming and slightly impressed that we were from Albuquerque.
The man in charge of the tourist center actually knew about the sister-city thing and told us about a plaque they have up in city hall commemorating it.
The Alburquerque Castle (Ruins)
If you also find yourself in Alburquerque, Spain, your first stop should be the castle.
Getting there was a little tricky, but just follow the signs and your GPS, and hold on tight. The road is tiny and one-way, but once you make it up there it’s worth the trip.
Once you climb allllllll the way up, not only can you see over all the land—as any good castle does—but there’s an info spot where you can grab a map to guide you around.
Truth be told, we didn’t use the map, but we did wander around and look at the city of Alburquerque around us.
My family’s favorite spot, by the way, was the “Cave of Death,” complete with a set of bones for good measure.
My favorite part was simply just being there.
Walking Around Alburquerque, Spain
Since it was Palm Sunday when were stopped by we were thankful the castle grounds were open so we could wander around.
I’ve gotta say, walking around an old castle in Alburquerque, Spain, was really freaking cool and a highlight of our trip for sure.
If we planned it out a little better (and not arrived on a religious holiday/Sunday). I would have loved to grab lunch or check out a shop or two, but I’m still thankful for the time we had there.
Before we knew it, we were saying adios to Alburquerque and getting back on the road.
Stopping in Alburqueue, Spain, was such a very cool experience, all thanks to looking at a map instead of blindly following the route picked out for us.
The moral of this post? Make the detours…you never know what you may stumble upon!
P.S. if any of you happen to make your way to Alburquerque and you’re there not on a Sunday or religious holiday, we’d really love a magnet from there. We collect them from every city we visit, and this is the only place we didn’t get one.