Spain
Extremadura

Here you’ll find travel reports about Extremadura. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

33 travelers at this place:

  • Day646

    Badajoz

    April 3 in Spain

    We travelled today through more Eucalyptus forests and Cork Oak plantations, on a route that wound up and down successive hillsides. The road was in poor condition; travelling on it produced an almighty rattle within the van as cupboards and their contents vibrated. Some of the bends were tight and we came accross a lorry with a trailer full of old logs that had tipped over on its side. The Guardia Civil were in charge of directing traffic around it (apart from when they knew the people in the passing car and stopped them for friendly banter!)

    The layby we stopped at for lunch was close to work taking place to reduce the risk of rockfalls from the roadside cliff. There are some very different hazards to look out for over here compared to driving around Dudley back in the UK!

    Badajoz is a large town with several bridges spanning the wide river Guadiana. The free aire is on the south bank, near a well used park and the Puente de Palmas; a grand, red sandstone pedestrian bridge that is illuminated at night. A series of arches hop over the water and are punctuated by large circular cutouts. On top there are wrought iron lamposts and even small turrets!

    The van park was packed but we managed to slip in to a recently vacated space facing on to the service area. Luckily the dividing lines between the bays were wide enough apart for it not too feel claustrophobic. Later arrivals weren't quite so lucky and parked at the side of the quiet road.

    We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon watching people going in and out of the park. There were lots of dogs, strollers, nordic walkers, joggers and a running club. Old and young, people came by themselves, as couples or with family or friends. It was great to see the green space being appreciated and made use of. It was well maintained by friendly park keepers who showed a keen interest in Poppy, asking Vicky lots of questions about her; 'Is she a wolf? What breed is she? How old is she?' Unfortunately the conversation was extremely stilted because they didn't speak English and Vicky's Spanish is very limited!

    Later on we had a visitor; a lone British vanner who'd begun full timing in November and wanted to know if we had any paperback books she could swap for ones she'd finished reading. Sadly for her we only ever read fiction on our Kobo and Kindle. We went over to her little van which had a problem with its gas bottles that we tried, but failed to get to the bottom of. We did however have a good chat about vanlife and travel in general and enjoyed connecting with someone for a proper conversation.

    Before leaving the following day, we walked over the bridge to the town and made our way to Plaza España; the central square. A large church dominated here, but our eyes were drawn by a run of tall townhouses with attractive stained glass and a little blue and white mosaic tiling. At the base were cafés whose street tables extended to a neatly pruned line of orange trees, the scent from which we could just pick up now they were coming into flower.

    Unfortunately Vicky had no luck when asking for churros and chocolate - a Spanish 'must have' that is proving particularly elusive! She'd had high hopes because we'd seen not one but two Churrería delivery bikes (like a pizza delivery but for churros!). Instead we had the usual of camomile and espresso (no prizes for guessing who had what) and made our way back to the van, stopping in at a small corner shop along the way to pick up a fresh bunch of spinach and some sweet treats to satisfy Vicky's frustrated sugar craving 😋
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  • Day647

    We are enjoying travelling through and staying in the rural Spanish region of Extremadura. There are few enough settlements for us to appreciate one when we come accross it!

    After a morning driving we went a little way down a disused road and parked up for lunch. Will went to explore while Vicky took Poppy out and set the table. Will came back in with some yellow rocket flowers for the salad and a chunk of cork he'd pealed off a Cork Oak. Vicky inspected it carefully; the tree she'd seen had ants crawling all over it. It was then that Will saw the first ant emerge and hastily chucked it out the door, regretting the fact he'd carried it in the pocket of his shorts!

    The journey brought many gorgeous Spring sights; little pigs foraging amongst yellow wood sorrel in an orchard, lambs with their mothers and even a few brown wooly calves. The rolling plains were coated in blankets of flowers, mostly yellow or white. Above them soared vultures and numerous birds of prey, Kestrals, Buzzards and Black Kites. It rained heavily but intermittently and it was good to see the rivers full, although some fields had become flooded.

    Dry stone walling began to replace metal mesh fences; an obvious choice given the abundance of suitable material dotting the landscape. The roads were straight, rolling and good quality and before long we were crossing the old roman bridge and pulling up at what would be our home for the next two nights.

    The small parking area was on the side of a ravine spanned by the impressive Puente Romano an old, cobbled and arched stone bridge. Behind us the road led away up the hill and ahead was a walking track along the valley of the River Tajo. Flowers bloomed in great variety and abundance; Corn Camomile, Mediterranean Lavender, Field Poppies and a multitude of yellows, pinks, whites and purples. It was truly beautiful! Our enjoyment was marred slightly by two members of a coach party who began picking the least common and most striking flowers; the poppies. One of them ripped at a flower and pulled up the whole plant, roots and all! We may have said something had it been England, but didn't feel we could here, so just stared disapprovingly.

    When the day visitors had left and the sun began to lower, highlighting the warm stone of the bridge, we found ourselves amongst a constant flurry of House Martins and the occasional Crag Martin. After watching them for a while at the edge of puddles, we realised they were collecting mud in their beaks and taking it back to the underside of the arches, where they used it to build and repair their nests! We felt very privilaged to have been able to stay in our 'mobile hide' to observe and identify this behaviour.

    You can watch a 60 second movie of the Martins on the VnW Travels You Tube Channel here: https://youtu.be/fdR6VJDhaxw

    We need to make progress up north in order to give ourselves time to explore without it feeling like a roller coaster. We were therefore in two minds about whether to stay a second night, but in the end the place was just so enchanting we couldn't drag ourselves away! Vicky wanted to explore the track ahead and Will wanted to hike to a wild swimming pool in the opposite direction, so we split the day in two. The morning walk was Vicky's choice and took us along the Tajo valley, above the swirling river. The sun shone, wildflowers surrounded us and we only met two other people on the entire walk. After a while we came accross an old winch station with a metal cable still attached. We think it must have been used to move goods from one side of the valley to the other at one point, but had since fallen into disrepair. Along the way we were entertained by Black Kites and Griffin Vultures and when we stopped for a snack a Kite cruised hopefully overhead, no doubt assessing how likely we would be to leave food scraps behind. Having turned back, Vicky spotted some plants that our WWOOF hosts had told us were wild asparagus. We'd seen locals with bunches of spears, so we looked very carefully and found one ready to be picked! It was a little way down a very steep bank but Vicky managed to get there and back safely and we shared our find then and there!

    After lunch we set out on Will's choice of walk. The day was hot and although we'd lathered on sunscreen and brought water, we found the rocky uphill hike hard going. Grass and flowers grew around us, but all that remained of the shrubs were burned bare branches sticking up from the ground. It looked as if a fire within the last year had killed them and the Eucalyptus grove a little further on. Signposts had been burned to a crisp but the authorities had acted quickly and a new gate, fence and signs had been installed (although the signs hadn't yet been written).

    There were so many flowers we didn't recognise but we did identify White Spanish Broom, a native to the Iberian Peninsula, growing alongside the more familiar yellow Broom. We actually walked past the wild swimming pool that was our intended destination and had to double back. We hadn't realised it was the site of a disused quarry! It didn't look promising as we entered but we were soon standing on soft yellow sand with a clear blue-green pool ahead of us, looking up at brown stone cliff faces and huge birds circling above. Somebody had put a lot of work into making the site an attractive local amenity and refuge for nature. We spotted a Black Stork, Egyptian Vultures and Griffin Vultures! We had the place to oursleves for more than 20 minutes. The water was chilly, not having received much direct sunlight, but Will enjoyed a swim or two while Vicky photographed the birds. We were shown how lucky we were to have this quiet time when a school group turned up and their shouts echoed off the quarry walls! Feeling tired we took the shorter route back along the road, our minds full of the wonderful sights we'd seen.

    While sitting in the van drinking our cuppas the next morning we were lucky enough to spot a medium sized black bird with a bluish head that we think may have been a Blue Rock Thrush. This was followed shortly afterwards by two Iberian Magpies; birds that look a little like a Jay but with black caps and blue wings and tails. We'd previously seen them from afar, but always so fleetingly we'd not been able to identify them, so to finally get to the solve this puzzle was a lovely end to our stay! (Sorry no photos of these).
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  • Day10

    Ian has noted today, “You are cussing a lot on this trip, Mom.” Well, Ian, dear, you drive a standard transmission Audi into a $&”@?!$& 9th century castle, and see how the bad words start flowing.

    Our traveling days have been the most humorous...well, until today. Maria was working on the blog from yesterday, but tonight she just ran. into. a. castle, so yesterday’s travel stories are dead to her.

    Maria was going to tell you how we left Toledo for Trujillo (in honor of her former neighbors, the Trujillos, and because Melinda fell in love with Trujillo last year.) Maria was going to tell you about driving into this tiny town with its tiny sidewalk-streets and how we just had to go “right and then right” to the hotel parking...the parking that was right INSIDE the 9th century castle...”This. can’t. be. right?” Sang the chorus of Maria and Melinda as they drove up the hill.

    We did great. No problemo. (Well, except we called the front desk for the WHEELCHAIR elevator not realizing it would take us down 10 steps we were perfectly capable of taking.) And then we had to drive into the castle AGAIN today because Melinda had the dumb idea of a day trip🙄...Maria worried about how we would get out of the castle, but when that was no problemo, Maria got cocky. After a day at the cheese museum (stay tuned) and a visit to Cáceres (our least favorite town thus far), we drove up...went right and then not quite right fast enough...and Maria thought, “Gee. I don’t remember it being this narrow.” Jesus must have been all 😳, but thank goodness for early morning candle lighting...we made it. It was the wrong road and it was 0.2 mm wider than an Audi.

    I mean, yes, in the end Melinda had to walk to Audi down the hill like a puppy...past some Spanish pedestrians (“Um, ladies...do you see my wing mirrors pushed in...maybe wait???” But noooo... Now we know the real reason Spaniards are thin...to be able to walk in the street😂) and past a guy sitting and smoking and talking on the phone in his doorjamb who TURNED his legs inward (like you do for a latecomer at the movies) and did not get OUT OF the way of the Audi as Maria drove past. (Some old ladies even saw Maria stall the car and did not run for cover but kept walking right by us up to the castle.) Spaniards: they aren’t chickens.

    But then...the parking lot was almost full and after pulling perfectly into the. last. parking space, Maria did it. She ran into the castle wall ...oh ever so gently🤦‍♀️ I’m sorry, Costco Visa, she knows not what she did. But really...isn’t it Costco’s fault?!?! With their big parking lots and their wide lanes...Americans are ruined for Europe.

    So, we are inTrujillo...a wonderful little town with more than a dozen towers. On these towers are currently resting migratory Storks from Africa. Ian is in bird nerd heaven. We drove here via Talavera de la Reina where we bought a few painted ceramics, saw some ancient Roman ruins, and were given a bottle of wine for lunch.

    More about the cheese museum tomorrow. Need to get to bed by 2am so I can make the walking tour of Trujillo tomorrow!
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  • Day11

    It all started with a cheese museum. Melinda found it last year and didn’t go, so it was her goal for this year. We had arrived in Trujillo and had a lazy first morning. This means we ran into the “siesta problem” where everything is closed when you are finally ready to see things. We figured by driving to Casar de Cáceres, we would arrive after the museum reopened. As usual, we left later than planned. Also usual, we got lost in the sidewalk-street driving and were even later. Get to the museum just before 5...and it’s closed. (We thought it was supposed to open at 4.) At 5:01 a frustrated woman arrives to reopen the museum (thinking, “lame, early Germans!”) and we enter. She seems gruff, uninterested, and annoyed by us. You know, typical European museum staff. But we were so wrong. By the time we finished touring the museum, she was explaining things and smiling and she even gave the kids little sheep keychain souvenirs.

    Casar makes a very strong, pungent, soft cheese “tort”. Casar was a stopping point along the shepherding route from southern to northern Spain. The town began to make a hard sheep cheese, but when it failed, it made a soft cheese that spoiled quickly without refrigeration. Of course with time, the “failure” became a delicacy and now “Torta de Casar” is a sought after cheese exported worldwide.

    We left Casar after the museum and stopped in the county seat of Cáceres. Unimpressed by the honking local drivers and the Atlantic City feel...we returned to Trujillo. But not before the tire warning light came on in the car🤦‍♀️ THAT is not the fun story for today. Blah, blah, blah, but after a nice Spanish gas station attendant checked our tires a million times...I think they were all overinflated and the sensor is set wrong.

    The good story comes AFTER the tires. You may think it was Maria hitting the castle wall, but NO! That was the previous story! Pay attention! 😂

    THIS is the story...

    The following morning we went on a walking tour of Trujillo which ended at the castle (ie...our car park;)) I thought we should check the tires to confirm the sensor was not showing a real problem after all. We checked the tires, photographed the ding in the bumper from the castle wall, and parked the car in a better position. We left. We napped, we swam, we went out for drinks and tapas, we slept for the night, we repacked, we checked out from the hotel the this morning, and:
    Melinda: “You have the keys. You never gave them back to me after we moved the car.”
    Maria: “😳. I don’t have the keys.”

    Maria is not sure how to introduce this...or begin the story...or...but in the end, Maria made Ian go check the car, and... he found the key, on the front seat of our Audi A4 (for which we purchased no extra insurance)...and...needless to say...the car was unlocked. Maria doesn’t know if that is the funny part, or the fact that Ian then took the keys and LOCKED the car. Because, I mean, you got away with 24 hours unlocked with the keys on the front seat, but... Ian takes no chances😂

    So, pretty much, that ONE candle I lit for hopeless causes? Got. my. money’s. worth.🙌
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  • Day11

    When Maria was 8, she was so proud of herself because she could finally spell “Albuquerque”...and then her family moved. She felt wronged because all of that work was for nothing. Now 30+ years later, she learned that it really could have been worse...she could have had to learn to spell it with an extra R.

    Maria made the whole group go to Alburquerque, Spain in the Badajoz region of the Extremadura. She was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico which is named for the Duke of Alburquerque...but spelled incorrectly. Many theories abound, but likely...the Portuguese spelling was adopted because who the heck can pronounce Alburquerque?!?

    In summary, people from Albuquerque, NM are likely the only tourists Alburquerque, Spain ever sees. It’s not an ugly place. It has a lovely castle that apparently is renovated but rarely opens. Sometimes apparently an old man will let you into the cathedral if he happens to be sitting outside it, but not this day. And when the tourist office opened, we were directed to ancient cave paintings which clearly, by the grass covered boardwalk and the derelict sign, hadn’t been visited in decades. We saw no drawings at all. The best part is that the pamphlet shows these great ancient drawings and the tourist office lady pretends that she’s seen them in her adult life...all of this to get two miserable mujeres to hike up a big hill. At least the people of Alburquerque were very friendly and kind...those who showed their faces to us.

    There was a bookstore that was supposed to open after siesta and never did. Poor Mirabel of Libreria Mirabel will never know the quantity of Alburquerque souvenirs she could have moved had she opened that fateful Friday afternoon!😂

    Next up: A day in Portugal.
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  • Day26

    From León, Melinda and Maria hopped in the trusty Audi and drove back to Badajoz. We ended up staying in an American hotel, so the parking garage is barely even a story...plus, at this point, we are practically experts.

    What we aren’t experts on anymore is heat. Mind you, we have sweat the entire trip, but we were not really hot in the North. In fact, one night in León, Melinda was freezing...a first for Spain.

    We arrived in Don Àlvaro, and as we exited the car, a blast of hot smacked us in the face. Melinda went to check into our house and was greeted with, “It’s so hot...Go up to your room and rest in the air conditioning. Turn it on. It cools down quickly.” Bless the locals for recognizing the misery.

    Rest we did and then ate and relaxed on the lovely patio. Early the next morning we were off again to pick up the kids from camp in Villafranca de Los Barros.

    We were not missed. Both kids were surrounded by a gaggle of friends. We met new friends, roommates, and instructors. The kids showed us what they created during the week. There was a final Mass (Jesuit school camp), final performance, final lunch.

    We said our goodbyes, shoved the kids and luggage in the car, and we traveled to Mérida where we saw the Roman coliseum, forum, museum, and aqueduct.

    Next up: The Black Virgin of Guadalupe...she’s not a hugger.
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  • Day27

    She's no hugger

    July 15 in Spain

    On the way back to Madrid, we stopped in Guadalupe...the original Guadalupe.
    *Hold on to your hats here.*

    Back in 712, as Moorish invaders were taking over Spain, a group of priests fled north with a statue of the Virgin Mary carved by *none other than* Luke the Evangelist...you know him...The Gospel According to Luke. Now I’m not sure why Luke the evangelist carved a statue of the Virgin or why Spain seems to have all the original Christian relics, but *Stop asking Questions!!!*

    The priests fled to a river in the Extremadura and buried the statue. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Virgin (like, the real deal) appeared to a cowboy named Gil Cordero who was searching for a missing animal in the mountains. Cordero told a group of priests to dig at the site of his apparition (as ordered by la Virgen) and Voila!, there was the Virgin Mary!

    A small shrine was built for the statue and later expanded it into what it is today. In the Middle Ages, Guadalupe was one of the largest pilgrimage sites in Europe.

    Melinda found lovely accommodations inside one of the cloisters of Guadalupe. She also found the air conditioning switch, so *Hero!* (we enjoy history with a touch of modernity.) We all spent a relaxing, quiet evening cloistered with a wonderful dinner inside the monastery.

    On Sunday we toured the monastery. At the end of the guided tour, a monk meets you in a gilded room and tells you about the room, the miracle, and takes you in to view la Virgen of Guadalupe. She’s beautiful and one of the famous “Black Madonnas” with rich, dark skin draped in gold and jewels...But, unlike St. James, Guadalupe is no hugger. We were instructed to bow. With that bow, our tour of the grand relics of Spain came to an end.

    We continued eastward to drop the car and spend the final few days in Madrid. The Spanish parents we met at camp talked of the “windy road” that leads to Guadalupe. Maria laughed at first...it was no worse than northern New Mexico. She stopped laughing when she realized the curves continued for 65 kilometers, and it got really serious when Melinda snapped, “pull over!” Melinda lost her lunch, took the wheel, and we continued on. That’s the kind of flexibility you need when traveling.😂

    We made it to the airport with the car intact and containing no car sickness...Maria expected to be awarded a medal. Instead, we were met with, “see the scratch here? [Please refer to running into a castle in Trujillo] Next time, be more careful.” Maria didn’t know whether to laugh or punch the Europcar guy. He. Had. No. Idea. What that car went through.

    Next up: Alcalá de Henares
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  • Day17

    A lovely walk on a perfect surface in perfect weather - not cold but with enough cloud cover that my sunburnt feet were happy. About 17km from Aljucén to Alcuéscar, through national park. Once here I caught a taxi out to see Santa Lucía del Trampal - a Visigoth church that has survived since the 7th Century. Quite remarkable. Staying tonight in a very nice German hostal and we’ve just had a great meal. Tomorrow I’m promised hot churros at the local bar at 6am! What a way to start the day.Read more

  • Day19

    Last night I stayed in Câceres in a nicely situated but rather dingy old hotel, tonight I’m in a spacious and bright modern apartment in Casar de Cáceres. With a washing machine, oh joy! I have on swimmers while every other bit of clothing goes through the wash.

    Cáceres was heaving with people as the city prepared for a 4 day Womad (world music) festival. Technical vehicles everywhere putting up stages and lights and hooking up amplifiers (and testing them). The contrast with the medieval buildings makes an interesting juxtaposition- particularly when one long van got stuck in a narrow street corner. The city centre is another world heritage site. Fabulous lunch at LaMinerva restaurant.

    Leaving Càceres this morning was a truly frightening experience as it meant walking for 3km along a very busy road with a narrow shoulder. Cars and trucks going full pelt. It won’t be long before some poor pilgrim has a sticky end. I was really glad to get off onto a side path and across the fields. First time I’ve felt truly frightened on this Camino.
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  • Day22

    The morning after

    May 13 in Spain

    I think there will be some sore heads! Short video under.

    My night was interesting. I headed back to the albergue early. It’s a lovely place run by a young couple with two small children. Good facilities - I should take photos for those unfamiliar with albergues. My friends had arrived before me and were allocated a small room which they filled.

    I was in a huge room, with lots of bunks but only two older men. I don’t know why they took the adjoining bunks and not ones further away!

    A night full of snoring, interesting noises, and no sleep for me! Ah well, albergue living.

    Now I am in Grimaldo which does not really qualify as a stage but I’m catching a bus from here to Salamanca tomorrow- to catch up with a friend. And to buy a replacement wind jacket - having left mine behind somewhere. And it’s cold! Snow further north. Then I’ll bus back south to continue the walk.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Extremadura, Estremadura, منطقة إكستريمادورا, اكستريمادورا, Эстрэмадура, Естремадура, Εξτρεμαδούρα, Ekstremaduro, Estremaúra, اکسترمادورا, Estrémadure, Èstrèmadura, Ekstremadûra, Ekstremadura, אקסטרמדורה, Estremadure, Էստրեմադուրա, Extremadúra, エストゥレマドゥーラ, ესტრემადურა, Эстремадура, 에스트레마두라 지방, Estremadūra, 埃斯特雷馬杜拉, Екстремадура, एस्त्रेमादुरा, Эстремадурæ, ایکسٹریماڈورا, Ikstrimadura, แคว้นเอกซ์เตรมาดูรา, 埃斯特雷马杜拉

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