Thursday 26th November
When we went to bed last night at 10.30pm we were the only motorhome in the aire, when we woke up there were five of us. I wanted to get some photos of the far side of the Alcazar so forced Stella to give us a route and ignore the 3.5t weight limits, who’s going to know!
It gave Lucy the chance to play about a bit more with my camera, as driver I have to concentrate 100% and sometimes miss some interesting bits.
The road was a bit dubious, cobblestone roads at steep angles but Frankie performed like a mountain goat and took it all in his stride. We were aiming to get to a lower altitude for our next stop and hopefully pick up some warmer weather and the road to Avila was our choice.
More walled city. This wall is 4.3 km long and completely surrounds the old town. We took the tour of the walls but for some reason we didn’t get a guide to show us what was what and all the signs were in Spanish. We saw other visitors clutching leaflets so now I can’t tell you too much about the place.
€5 to tour the walls was a bit steep and they looked a bit Disneyish, I guess they have been rebuilt a few times since the original walls were put in place. The crenellations just didn’t look substantial enough.
Again, this is another place where I could have used a drone and taken an aerial photo to try and get everything in, you haven’t written enough emails to Lucy to insist that we buy one.
The walls were first built in the 11th to 14th century and enclose an area of 31 hectares.
We had problems getting the blogs off and had four in the pipeline ready to send so wonderful me offered to buy another menu del dia. Many of the cafes and restaurants are prime tourist spots with prices to match so we ventured into the backstreets and found a top notch restaurant called Montevideo with menu del dia for €12.50 each consisting of two main courses, Lucy has spaghetti bolognese and then veal whilst I had minced up blood sausage and scrambled eggs followed by the veal. Sweet was two tiramisus, we had double rations of red wine and a cup of coffee each all for €30. Everything was delicious and we got the blogs sent off.
The aire at Avila is a very large car park with no signs to say that we can stay there, it’s in Camper Contact and there was another van there so that is good enough for us, we also got a good view of the walls, apparently the walls are the largest illuminated monument in the world.
Next morning and we set of for Cacares and along the way have to stop to take this photo. I can see 29 Vultures in this photo, all circling trying to catch the thermals.
The road from Avila to Cacares looked like it was going to be very long and straight and properly bring us out of the mountains. Mile after mile we ploughed on in a straight line, staying at the same altitude and then all of a sudden lots of hair pin bends to bring us down into the Jerte valley. Everywhere we looked we could see stone built terraces all planted with trees.
Lucy kept trying to work out what they were growing, there must have been hundreds of acres of terraces, all the way down the valley. We eventually found the answer, they were all cherry trees.
It was one of our longest days drives so when we got to Cacares we crashed out and chilled. The aire can take 12 motorhomes, there were 13 when we arrived on Wednesday and by the evening there must have been 20 there. Why so popular? We have puzzled over this many times, sometimes you’ll get to an aire and it is empty, sometimes there will be other vans there and they drive off in the evening. This aire is 60 miles away from the next nearest aire and is on the main route from north to south which could have something to do with it. It is in All the Aires book but that doesn’t explain the Dutch and Germans who we have seen very few of so far. It could explain the 4 British motorhomes there and one of them has now learnt to keep their door closed.
I managed to invite myself into Pam and Steve’s motorhome and took advantage of their immense hospitality and generous wine cellar. It wasn’t all one way, we did manage to finish the homemade sloe brandy which was on it’s third tour of Europe. We shared lots of tips and tricks and I left their van in the early hours feeling very much worse for wear.
Thursday was big hangover day so staying where we were and checking out the town was all we could do.
Caceres is a beautiful small medieval town and the old part is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Lots of little alleys, it was difficult to get far enough back from the buildings to take any photos, and the shutter click was upsetting my metabolism.
Most of the houses had towers dating from the Moorish period but now there are only 30 left. The town is famous for the number of Storks that nest here and is also used frequently for filming since there are very few signs of modernity.
This is the Bishops Palace (as far as we can make out).
I managed to get an internet signal on my phone and we managed to google a self service launderette in the town centre. We must be experts in launderettes now, walk in, clothes in the machine, buy tokens or feed cash into the central machine control and that’s it. I had to help a Spanish woman work out how to use the machines; bearing in mind that there were lots of signs, all in Spanish and I could work it out, why couldn’t she? We’ve come across this before in France and Portugal