Thursday, 25 February 2016

Thursday 25 February – Badajoz, Elvas (Portugal) and Cáceres

Where’s Colin? He’s at a municipal Aire in the town of Cáceres at N39 28.814, W6 22.033. There are officially ten spaces here. When I went out and counted a short whie ago there were 26 vans. Colin is masquerading as a bus, as are many others.

Our day started in Badajoz, which is a good thing really, as that’s where we’d gone to sleep last night, and I did get the briefest of looks around the place before we left this morning. Whilst Mick went for a run along the river, I strode out for the town and made it to the castle before half of my allotted 30 minutes was up, causing me to turn back.

Soon we were off over the border into Portugal and to Elvas, pausing only for the purchase of baked goodies on the way. One of the main attractions of a visit to Elvas is to see the late 16th/early 17th century aqueduct, and it is indeed an impressive sight as you drive towards it:

Our parking spot for the day was just behind the aqueduct. Colin’s in view in this shot, taken from up by the town:

The town does boast some very impressive fortifications, being entirely enclosed within multiple layers of walls…

…one of which forms a star shape, for which it has attained UNESCO World Heritage list status. However, once you’ve seen the aqueduct, the walls, the castle and a church or two then there doesn’t appear to be much more to do. We managed to wander around for a couple of hours, including a significant chunk of time spent searching for postcards (we found some in the Tourist Office at an extortionate 90c each), writing them and queuing in the post office for stamps. We would then have had lunch at one of the restaurants advertising a three course meal for €7.50, except that the only restaurant which wasn’t completely empty only had stand-up tables. I fancied neither standing nor being the only patrons, so back to Colin we went for sandwiches, our meal out temporarily deferred.

In times gone by, naughty people would get strung up from one of the hooks on this pillar, apparently.

A bit narrow, some of those streets.

As Elvas had taken less time than expected it occurred to me that we could squeeze in the shortest of visits to Cáceres (another UNESCO World Heritage site; we’re being such culture vultures today!), which had been dropped from the list of places to visit due to a lack of time. Back into Spain we went, across a huge plain on an often very straight road, arriving in Cáceres by 4pm.

Our walk up into the town wasn’t promising, with graffiti tarnishing the surroundings in every direction we looked, such that I was struggling to see any indication that this is a tourist destination and one worthy of its World Heritage listing. Then into the old town we arrived, where there’s not just the odd medieval-looking building dotted amongst moderness; the whole of the old town is, well, old!

The most informative visit we’ve made to a Tourist Office to date had us come out thinking that this place deserves far more than a quick pre-dinner stroll. We shall return up the hill tomorrow morning for a more detailed look around.

A bit of a fight broke out whilst we were in town…


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