Extremadura, Spain

From Tomar, Portugal, I drove the van to Caceres, in Spain. I managed to stall four times in 45 minutes but, on a positive note, I did not stall in front of any border patrol officers this time. Two things we noticed straight away: petrol is much cheaper in Spain and there are almost no hills to drive over. We appreciated both.

 

In Caceres we walked through the walled section of the undulating town, taking in the ancient palaces and churches. The heritage-listed town covered pretty much every architectural style pre-1800, and most of it was stunning. There were several tour groups around, which put us off a little. We completed a loop and quickly moved on.

Next we headed to Trujillo, a small town with only one attraction worth seeing: Museo del Queso y Vino (museum of cheese and wine). This was the main (well, only) reason we returned to Spain. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what we were expecting. It was basically a one-room barn full of antiquated equipment used to make cheese and wine, with signs in Spanish. Obviously we didn't spend much time in this section and instead made a beeline for the free tasting. We tried a local white wine (no good) and red wine (a Tempranillo, drinkable), plus two local cheeses. The first was a hard goat's cheese, which we both enjoyed. The manager told us the next sample, a spreadable sheep's cheese, was the local favourite. I'm certain this must have been a sales pitch. It was probably the strongest-tasting cheese I had ever put in my mouth. To say we didn't like it is putting it mildly. We left without any purchases and with a strong resolution to never return. The day concluded with a meander around the palm tree-filled old town, watching the sunset and eating dinner in the van.

We drove to Merida first thing the next morning, a town located in Spain but close to Portuguese border. Merida had been built around an old Roman city and there were Roman ruins scattered about everywhere (most of which we were required to pay for, which we didn't). What we could see (poking our heads through the fence) was fairly impressive but similar to ruins we had visited elsewhere. Danny's favourite site was a Roman bridge with 60 arches. Danny is a bit of a bridge fan and this one rated highly on his list of great bridges.

 

On our walk around town Danny discovered some wild rosemary and sage growing by the footpath and picked some to take back with us. He always has his eye out for things like that. There were loads of orange trees around and Danny tried to pick a couple of those too, but the ones we could reach were rotten. Still, nothing like fresh herbs to make our dinners more exciting (not that your dinners need to be more exciting, Danny).

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