Spain
Badajoz

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

30 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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  • Day10

    Set out from Al Real in crisp cold weather. The skies are quite spectacular in this weather - cold air streams must be interesting the cloud patterns. Again, another beautiful day of walking, for the first half of the walk along a quiet gravel road with a perfect walking surface. We crossed a few pretty streams, some via concrete fords covered in a few inches of water. My guess is that these are normally dry. Again, made it into Monasterio just as the rain started to spit. Tonight I am staying at a parochial albergue, very well set up and spotlessly clean.

    Photos today - setting out past the castle at Al Real, early morning with Romy from Germany, another castle along the way - and pastoral scenes. Those sheep are in sheep paradise! Plus a shot of the albergue.
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  • Day11

    Walking in the Air

    May 2 in Spain

    Today was a day that I’ll remember forever. A day of thin places. Moments of sheer joy. I walked most of the 22km alone - apart from an eagle soaring over me - and was absorbed by the beauty around me. It was a day that answered the question “Why do I keep coming back”.

    Again, a crisp cold day with heavenly blue skies and a lovely gravel path to walk on. About half way along the landscape changed from stone fences and trees (still trying to work out what they are) in small fields, to large open paddocks sewn with new wheat and other grain crops. Saw my first storks today, and enjoyed listening to the beak clattering on top the nests. Also saw my first poppies. The wildflowers are still spectacular.

    In Fuente de Cantos I am sharing a room in a “rural apartment hotel” with another Australian. A lovely old building, with the prettiest sunny garden, complete with pool and fountain. We decided against the municipal albergue in the old monastery on the basis of the weather - it’s freezing at night.
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  • Day15

    Beautiful Mélide

    May 6 in Spain

    Wow! What a gem. No wonder it is a world heritage site.

    The day started early, leaving our rather primitive albergue before dawn. There was a wedding last night and the locals seem to celebrate by driving round all night and sounding their horns in the early hours of the morning, so we were all wakened by a 5am cacophony.

    It was a straight tramp along the highway and we reached the Roman bridge into Mélide by morning tea time - perfect for sightseeing. Aside from the magnificent arched bridge I also saw the Roman ampitheatre, the circus, the Alcazaba (fort), temple of Diana and the Roman and Visigoth museums (phew!)

    And a local exhibition of folkloric singing and dancing!

    Tonight I and two other women are sharing a room in a good hotel. Such luxury to have our own bathroom and be able to spread our gear around.
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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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  • Day13

    Last night I was too pooped to write up the blog, but for the record - Zafra is a dear little town with a couple of pretty squares, a nice medieval centre, a couple of interesting Mudejar churches (none open) and the Convent of Santa Clara. Where I purchased some delicious pastries from the nuns for my contribution to the shared pilgrims dinner in the albergué. And arranged for some prayers to be said. It can’t hurt!

    I am now in Villafranca de los Barros - having showered and washed my clothes like a good pilgrim, I have my feet up. It was not a long walk today, only 19km, but it felt longer. I left late, stopped at a bar (cafe) and lingered, so I finished up walking in the midday heat. And my feet are sunburnt - I really need to stop and apply sunscreen more often.

    As the stages on the Via de la Plata are reasonably set, we meet the same people each night, and everyone has become friends. A nice varied group with 3 Australians, some French, Belgium, English,German and Catalonian s they emphasis NOT Spanish!). We often have a pilgrims dinner with wine at night, with everyone contributing something.
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  • Day16

    The stork season is well and truly here. So many flying overhead - I can’t tell if they are scouting for food or flying further north. But certainly every storks nest I pass, and there are many, is now occupied. The clattering of bills is such a joyous spring sound. I tried to take a photo of the nests and storks on top of the Roman aqueduct but you can’t really see the storks.

    Today’s walk was only 17km. A late start so I was glad it finished before the heat. I’m using my umbrella for shade. Wildflowers are still spectacular.
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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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  • Day26

    Day 26: Exploring Mérida

    March 13, 2017 in Spain

    Shandos managed to get up early and visit the local supermarket, so we were both well fed and relaxed by the time we headed out. Lots of ruins to check out today!

    First up we headed to the Circus Maximus which was right near our apartment, and bought ourselves a combination ticket which grants access to the five main ruins of the town. The Circus Maximus is the horse racing circuit (think Ben-Hur chariot racing), and it's still remarkably well-preserved - apparently the best preserved one outside of Italy. It's 400 metres long, 60 metres across and on race days would've held up to 60,000 spectators which surely would've been everyone in town.

    I should note that the town itself was founded around 25 BC by Emperor Augustus, and was originally called Augustus Emeritus - built to house former soldiers from his legions during the conquest of Spain. It was actually the capital of Lusitania province, an area that covers basically the south-western quarter of modern Spain and Portugal. So a pretty important city back in the day.

    Next up we walked over to the amphitheatre and theatre, both of which are still standing and incredible. The amphitheatre is a lot like the Colosseum in Rome, though smaller, and the theatre is modelled after one in Pompeii (that also still exists). Both seemed very large for the size of the city, holding around 15,000-20,000 spectators, but I guess it shows the importance of theatre and spectacle.

    The amphitheatre would hold gladiator bouts and show "hunts" (eg two men vs a lion), while the theatre was for plays, comedies and so on. Again both were really well preserved, and with lots of good information signs in English, Spanish and Portuguese. There was a large museum holding a bunch of statues and stuff as well, but it was closed on Mondays so we couldn't go in.

    Outside we stopped at a cafe for a lunch baguette (though our intended quick lunch became a long lunch when our food took 40 minutes to materialise), then headed across town to check out a few other things. We saw a snow well, which is where snow (or probably large ice blocks, I was dubious of the translation) was kept during summer, along with some partially buried manor houses, thermal baths, a ridiculously long low bridge over the main river (760 metres long!!), and the original main entrance gate to the city. There's now a small fortress there called the Alcazabar, as it was built by the Arabs after their conquest in the 800s.

    After a long day we headed back to our apartment for a rest, though we headed back out soon afterwards to give Schnitzel a run around. Poor little guy had been confined to the apartment all day while we'd been exploring! Spent the rest of the afternoon/evening in the apartment doing work. I was feeling inspired and put together a video of the past two days!

    It's also time now that I can reveal my secret new project - aiming to visit every UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world, and doing brief YouTube videos on each one. I've so far done Seville, Cordoba, Ubeda/Baeza and was finishing up today on Merida. Still need to do Alhambra and the dolmens of Antequera, and then keeping up to date on the future ones we visit! Spain has the third-most sites behind only Italy and China, so I'll be very busy for a while! I don't know whether I'll actually finish the journey as there are some extraordinarily difficult ones (Yemen, Saudi, Syria, Libya, Niger to name a few), but it'll be fun and exciting seeing how close I can get!
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  • Day27

    Day 27: More of Merida

    March 14, 2017 in Spain

    Much quieter day today. We actually slept in by accident, and didn't get up until nearly 10am! Weather outside has turned again, it's now quite chilly and very windy. We hung around the apartment for the morning doing various project work, then had lunch and headed for the Museum that had been closed yesterday.

    It was quite interesting and well done, lots of stuff to see and plenty of signs in English and Spanish again. Original sculptures from the buildings outside, as well as mosaic floors that had been recovered from various villas around the town. Also a very large collection of coins with the different emperors on each one, again in great condition.

    Afterwards we headed out into the super-quiet centre of town (siesta time, so everything was shut), and made our way over to the Church of Santa Eulalia. Apparently this is the spot where Saint Eulalia was martyred during the Christian purges of the late Roman empire. She was supposedly buried here and a chapel set up over the top, but her remains are long gone and there's now only various tombs from the last couple of thousand years under a large gothic church.

    If that sounds interesting, well, unfortunately it wasn't. There was a huge amount of information entirely in Spanish, and the section where you could go into the crypts under the church and directly see the graves from Romans, Visigoths, early Christians and then Muslims just felt odd. Mainly because we were just underneath a false floor for the church above, and the giant gothic pillars looked perhaps a little less sturdy than you'd hope.

    Back to the apartment where we brought Schnitzel downstairs and took him around the nearby park. Happy to get outside, but not as excited as he was yesterday. We didn't stay out for too long though, as the wind had shifted direction and now smelled distinctly of "fertiliser".

    Upstairs to the warmth where we kept working, watched some football and had a Skype session with mum before heading to bed around midnight.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Provincia de Badajoz, Badajoz, バダホス

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