Sun 08/05/16: And still it rained during the night and into to the morning with no let-up according to the weather channels. We could not stay in any longer without the high certainty of murder between us and so seeing a brief window of opportunity the bikes were taken down and made ready with the encouragement of a visit to a golf course for David we headed off, Paddington and rain coats to hand. We made it most of the way there without too much heavy rain and the golf course was very lovely and looked a good course to play but the shop was in liquidation and so no ball marker to be had for David. Ceasing the opportunity of no rain we headed into old town Caceres to see the tail end of the festival and just have a wander again in the old quarter, or rather the same spots we had been to yesterday. Bikes parked up we sat and had a drink and a tapa of tuna pasta with black olives and sweetcorn, very nice indeed and a sizeable portion whilst gazing at the other tables who had a chicken and rice concoction tapa as well. We still aren’t sure on the rules and equiquitte on tapa as many don’t touch them at all, or just pick or in some cases feed them to nearby animals- which amazes us completely. Surely that’s rude or insultive especially when we could have them, but there again there have been times only of late where we have had to wrap up pork grizzle in a serviette to dispose of it later. One man’s choice is another’s whatever the saying is. Are we tapa obsessed Yes probably but it is a whole new world for us. The stop in town was pleasant but a bit of a mistake as half way during the ride back the heavens opened again and my Paddington hood over cycle helmet did not keep out any of the rain or hailstones as they were by then and so the last 5k’s were absolutely horrid. Back at camp washing had to be done before the sheets walked of the bed themselves but the chore and the wet was helped along by the fact that Camping Caceres has a Jacuzzi and sauna, so the clothes were put on to wash while we ‘washed’ and heated ourselves as well. Dinner for the evening was rib eye steak from a local Superdia that we were hoping we could cook on the BBQ but there was no hope of that so the smoke alarm was again tested as we pan fried the steak and had as usual of David’s signature sauce of pepper mushrooms. The night rolled into the next day with the rain still thundering down on the roof.
Mon 09/05/16: The plan was to explore old town Caceres a bit more as we seem only to ever to take the route and into Plaza Mayor. Plus to have lunch in a recommended suckling pig restaurant- a must for David and also a speciality of the area. We explored in amongst the rain and then realised that in fact we had explored much of it before when we had stopped and were heading to the south at the start and in fact in sun shine then. However, this time we did visit inside a palace which was also showing a Goya print exhibition which was quite special to see and also inside one of the main churches which had 360 degree views of the town and countryside and was hosting a display of worldwide nativity models, quite odd given the time of year but very sweet. Upon reaching the restaurant even though 2.30 there was no one in it and the pig should have been ordered as well and was €22, not overly expensive for the dish but more to be honest than we wanted to pay or eat for Monday lunch so again what to do. Ideas and euthiasm are so much harder in the cold and wet but we happened upon Perfect Tapa just off the main square in the old town which had quite an intriguing and modern tapa menu and as the next downpour started we run in quickly and it was not a mistake. The tapas where actually more small sized plates made to share and the restaurant was wonderfully modern and trendy. We shared 3 dishes – small mini burgers, deep fried chicken which came with a lovely BBQ sauce and sliced potatoes and also a mushroom rice dish. All 3 were lovely and a bit different and on this basis plus the fact it was still pouring we had a desert. Mine being mandarin sorbet with cava, just like an ice-cream float. Along with the bill came 2 small liquors of acorn and lemon. The lemon one as usual was lovely but the acorn was really unusual, but would it be a case of ‘only tastes good at the time and place’- most likely.
Tues 10/05/16: Trujillo, another ancient walled town not far from Caceres but with no Aires or campsites so we opted to take the coach there and have a night in Posada dos Orillas, a delightful 16th century inn located within the city walls and just off the main square. If you are ever in Trujillo which I would recommend than please stay here, it’s the cutest little hotel. We had also managed to track down our mad cycling friends John and Sly who were trying to get some respite from the rain whilst doing the Camino de Santiago and also some bike repairs. They thought they were safe from us but they underestimate David’s tracking skills and not only did we track them to the town but also the Posada. The town not really being big enough to escape us we had lunch and dinner with them. Dinner was in a fairly upmarket restaurant in the main square and I had tuna rare with capers and a light soy sauce, while David opted for false truffles. Que? I hear you say as I did after. In fact they are a mixed meat minced and then made into truffle shapes and very tasty David confirmed. Again the acorn liquor made an appearance and it might have been better if it hadn’t given my slight head the next day.
Wed 11/05/16: We said our goodbyes all hoping for improved weather but more so for them with still so many miles to do on the Camino and as we headed back on the coach and into town the rain began again and it was a very wet journey back to NiKi and our campsite. The coach station at Trujillo as well as serving good food was also oddly a cheese shop and it had the most amazing array of cheeses including the recent 2015/2016 winner, a soft sheep cheese which we would have brought but we have quite a bit of cheese on board at the moment and unusually for us we flinched at the €8 price tag. What for dinner we struggled to think again with little or no brainwaves and with the wet not wishing to hang around town or even eat in the camp site restaurant. So a mid-week David favourite came into action- pasta with pesto sauce and bacon bits. To be honest it was easy, tasty and filled the gap.
Thurs 12/05/16: Camp Caceres had done its job and kept us out of the rain, but with no let-up still from
the rain prediction and Caceres exhausted we decided to move on. After a few repairs to the hanging spare wheel, thankfully noticed before we left we managed to not wheel spin off the sodden pitch and head towards a small border town called Valencia. Not THE Valencia but Valencia de Alcantara, another pretty town just some 7k’s from the Portuguese border and also home town of our wonderful hosts at our first stop in Spain- Camping Vejer. A delightful town and much to offer but we had decided just to visit and then head towards Parque Nacional Monfrague via Alcantara itself. Alcantara is another historic town dating back to roman times and has a most amazing roman bridge and also a huge dam. However, by the time we got there it was too late to do a walk around the dam and area and so after a few photo opportunities we moved on bedding up for the night at an Aire just outside a town called Moralejo. Nothing pretty or historic about this town, just a normal working Spanish place and we had decided to make sausage casserole with big meaty chorizo sausages we had brought that morning. It is a one pot dinner that we had cooked before successfully but I was slightly worried about these sausages as the pot isn’t that big and there were 6 of them. Upon reflection 4 might have been better, but with some effort I pushed them in and the dish again was lovely. It is at this point I will point out some of the oddities with supplies we have noticed in Spain. For me my morning wake up juice is hot lemon and here despite growing in abundance on the trees they really are liquid gold to buy. At home in Asda usually a bargain bag can be had or at worse relatively expensive in the well packaged M&S but here they are nearly at Harrods prices, usually about €3-4 for 4 or 5. We have managed to scrump a few but usually the best ones are well out of reach and are in peoples gardens. Given that they don’t actually hand over too many of them with fish or in drinks we can’t understand why they don’t just put them in boxes outside for us foreigners to take for our morning ‘pick me ups’ A few other odd prices points- tinned tomatoes usually around 60-70p an can. Bananas and apples also extremely pricey. Non biological washing products non-existent and the only one we have seen was €14!! These are just a few oddities we have found thus far but ones we can live with given the price in general of many other products.
close to the border and also quite weird in so much as they speak their own language which is a mix of Portuguese and Spanish. The cycle was lovely and it was great to exercise our legs again even though it still wasn’t hot hot. On route we passed to local country cheese makers and we stopped at one just outside Hoyos which specialised in 2 types of goat cheese, both upon tasting were really strong and dry, almost month cleansing. We purchased a small chunk of one and it has been lovely to have after dinner. Dinner that evening again was out of the store cupboard as we had not passed any shops of note nor any lunchtime menu del dia options. The store cupboard choice was pasta arrabiata with a puttanesca twist, the twist being that we threw in a tin of black olives at the end. Arrabiata is one of my favourites but for D he prefers the green pesto option so I was a bit curious if he would like it. However, whether it was because it had been a thin food day or the fact it was quite tasty it went down very well and given the last two nights had been on Aires it had also helped the budget a lot. We walked into town after dinner and headed to the local bar, in fact the only bar and upon entering it had the feel of a working man’s social club, but was friendly enough. The tapas here became the issue again as we had just eaten a huge amount of pasta. Olives were given and they were fat ones stuffed with something and not very inviting, so to be polite we swallowed 2 or 3 each quickly with a good gulp of wine. Then came crisps and some other crunchy nibble which David duly did proud but we lived in horror of then receiving our nightmare tapa, gherkins with pickled pepper and sliver skin onions. Which for me being a pickle fiend should be a fav, but these as the picture shows are monster kebab skewers of pickle and really with a glass of red not the ideal choice. Thankfully we escaped before they appeared as they were the next tapa option. Proof of the pudding that you shouldn’t or can’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Just swallow with a gulp of red or discreetly spit out into a napkin and dispose of!
Sat 14/05/16: We headed off to Pargue National Monfrague stopping on the way to do a major shop including much needed wine supplies. Making sure this time that we had planned ahead for more than 1 meal which of course I’m sure will go wrong somewhere. The camp site was busy and the restaurant popular with both campers and locals. We decided to ignore the site restaurant and head to one we had just passed on the main road in. When we saw the menu del dia we were both actually quite disappointed and felt we had made another mistake in not eating at our local. Yes we had done a shop but again we had decided given it was a special family wedding day at home that we would also join in the celebrations and eat out. We decided to eat ‘off piste’ and shared a plate of ham, David than having the lamb chops. After we ordered we both looked at each other and said was it also to be a mistake as the lamb chops here really are usually tiny and only just weaned. Thankfully not, the chops were proper UK sized and had been grilled with the fat crispy – yum for David and one of his favourites thus far in Spain. I opted for prawns and garlic, as I didn’t really fancy any of the meat options. As you can see the prawns were fat, succulent and swimming in garlic butter. Not a mistake at all and we both went back to our home very happy to settle down and watch some TV. The rest as they say is history as the night gave us more entertainment.
The sun shines again…………….