Friday, 26 February 2016

Friday 26 February–Cáceres and El Encinar

Where’s Colin? He’s in the Municipal Aire at El Encinar, which is the suburb of somewhere, 13km south of Salamanca. I’ve no idea what there is around here – we arrived in a snow storm and wasted no time in putting all the blinds up to keep the heat in.

I think that we’re done with winter warmth now. After yesterday’s 20 degree sunshine, today came in cool and wet. Not ideal weather for walking around a town, and if we had more time we likely would have had a quiet day with our books.

We reckon that the Aire (max capacity 10) peaked at 30 vans last night, making me think that Cáceres is a popular place. It wasn’t until the place swiftly emptied just after 9am that I realised that it’s located close to a main north-south route, thus it’s heavily used as a stopover. The mass evacuation did, for us, mean that we could move out of our ‘buses only’ bay and into a ‘motorhome only’ bay, which we did immediately before braving the rain to wander up into the town.

A different turn must have been taken on our way, as we found ourselves in a large square we hadn’t visited yesterday, right in front of the main gate to the old town:

We could have ascended that tower and walked the section of the town wall at this point (for €2.50), but indoor activities were appealing to us, so off to the cathedral we went. It wasn’t big, as cathedrals go, but it was interesting enough as we took in the altar pieces, the ‘bling’ in the museum and climbed to the top of the tower (half way up which I recalled that I don’t do well on spiral staircases; I was horribly dizzy by the top). It did afford a good view, even on this dull day:

Next was a museum, where our ill-timed arrival coincided with a tour group. Fortunately, as we’ve visited quite a few museums lately, we were happy with the quickest of glances around the archeologial rooms as we tried to shake them off. Unfortunately, they were also happy with the quickest of glances, as they caught us up and trapped us in the impressive underground cistern (this museum was, as with most we have visited, housed in an historic building, this one with its own basement rainwater storage facility). Finally managing to squeeze past the group, we hot-footed it to the bit of the museum I was most interested to see: the art gallery. The group didn’t turn up there, so we were at leisure to admire the pieces. It gets my ‘best gallery of the trip’ vote, mainly for the lack of renaissance art.

Emerging back into the rain it was feeling distinctly like lunch time and having been given flyers advertising the menus of various restaurants as we passed, we selected this one based on the menu having good entertainment value. I was literally doubled over and crying in the street as I read it:

Mick went for the ‘In a mess of mushroom and fungi’ followed by ‘Cochifrita of Pig to the chopped garlic’, which turned out to be a good choice. I went for a simple mixed salad starter followed by ‘Squid curled to the Roman’. Before all that arrived though, a dish of tripe in a sauce arrived at our table, which turned out not to be to my taste and (surprisingly) Mick was put off just by the look of it (I say surprisingly because usually he’ll try anything). It’s either pot-luck with the appetiser, or they just throught they’d have fun with us, as everyone who arrived after us got either crispy fried pork or olives, with little toasty-cheese things, all of which we’d have been happy to scoff:

By the time we’d done the necessary with Colin at the service point, visited Lidl and got on the road, it was gone 3.30, so we set the SatNav for a place halfway between Caceres and Salamanca, on the basis that we would get up early tomorrow and drive the rest of the way. Mid-drive minds were changed and we decided to do the bulk of the drive today, finishing at an Aire 13km south of the city. The second half of the drive gave us rather unexpected weather conditions:

From sunny and 20 degrees to snow and freezing level within 36 hours! We thought that when we dropped down towards our night-stop it would turn to rain, but although the roads became clear, it was still snowing convincingly when we arrived. I think it has stopped now, although the wind has picked up in its place.

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