Plaza Mayor

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  • Day11

    "Light más candles, Mujeres."

    June 29, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    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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    MomDad Heiner

    Next time, give Ian the keys! We watch " Two Chicks and a Hammer". a DIY show, Then we read about "Dos Chicas y a Audi", a destruction derby! You can't make this stuff up!

  • Day10

    Never get cocky when driving in castles

    June 28, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    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, you see my wing mirrors pushed in...maybe wait???” But noooo... Now we know the real reason Spaniards are 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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    Julie Konchar

    😂😂😂 I think this is my favorite story yet. Poor Ian, all those farm words

  • Day14

    From tiny monastery to big monastery

    February 23, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    This morning while one of us slept in a bit, the other climbed up to the castle, then had a café con leche right smack dab in the middle of Trujillo's beautiful square. Watching the sun come up and bathe the stone buildings in morning light was pretty awesome. It's hard to decide whether the early morning sun or the night illumination is prettier. We did get going a little later than usual, and had some problems with the GPS (though I am now pretty sure I can do most of the basic operations, we'll see tomorrow). So we decided that rather than a long-ish trip to Mérida and its Roman ruins, we'd hope for an earlier start tomorrow and take today to visit two relatively nearby monasteries.

    The first, Yuste, is the plain and simple place where Carlos V went to spend his last days after abdicating. Out in the middle of nowhere, very peaceful. I was sad to learn that his son, Felipe II, had violated his father's wishes to be buried here, and instead had him transported to the pompous, overbearing monastery in El Escorial.

    From Yuste, we headed to Guadalupe, the gothic monastery that is now famous because of its 12th century "Black Virgen." It's in the middle of a not too remarkable town, but the monastery itself is really nice. And the rooms of the monks' handiwork from the 14-17th centuries had some beautiful things -- the embroidery (who knew monks did embroidery?) and the hymnals were my favorites.

    We drove a circular route, which is always more fun than a direct out and back. Through some really beautiful olive grove territory, which I will soon be walking through with my own feet. Very few tourists, lovely things to see, this is a great little trip.

    Oh yes and did I mention crossing the Tajo/Tagus/Tejo River and coming upon five columns on the side of the river, the ruins of a small Roman temple?
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  • Day15

    In Merida where all is Roman

    February 24, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    So today we got up early and drove the 50 miles to Mérida before having coffee! Talk about tourists with a purpose. By 10, we had parked the car and were sitting in a café near the Arab Castle having our café con leche with a tostada. Boy, the coffee in Spain is SO much better than what we drink in Portugal!

    We had a really nice tourist day. From Moorish castle to Roman villa to Roman theater and Roman circus to Roman crypt to great vegetarian restaurant. After a nice long pause with really good food (in our experience, you can usually count on vegetarian restaurants in Spain to be good), we ended the day with a visit to the Roman Art museum, where you can get up close and personal with the mosaics, and then a quick trip through the visigothic art museum. The visigoths, who came in after the Romans, had a much less sophisticated but more appealing style to my uncultured taste.

    Before getting back in the car and heading home, we walked over the LONG Roman bridge. Really a beautiful bridge, still standing from Roman times. I have walked over this bridge before while walking the Via de la Plata, and hope to walk over it again this May as I walk the Camino Mozárabe from Almería, which joins up with the Via de la Plata right here in Mérida.
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  • Day13

    Back in Spain

    February 22, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    I finished teaching and was back in the hotel by 1, we were at the car rental place and on the road by 2:00, and 3.5 hours later we drove into the small city of Trujillo Spain. Finding the parador was surprisingly easy. Given the time change, it didn't leave us much of the day, but we took a quick stroll around to see the jaw-dropping plaza mayor. It may not be as beautiful as Salamanca's, but it is pretty gorgeous.

    Back at the parador, ready for a quick dinner in their restaurant. Parador restaurants are usually a bit pricey but decent quality, if not totally yummy. Since we have a busy day planned tomorrow, we decided to eat with the other old folks who beat down the door as soon as it opens for dinner, at the early hour of 8:30 p.m. No Spaniard would ever darken a restaurant for dinner at this scandalous hour, but oh well.
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Plaza Mayor