BadajozApril 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 😋Read more