Friday, 15 November 2013

Cacares

Plaza Mayor in Cacares
Our journey to Caceres was marked by the first of several firsts! We pulled into an aire by the forecourt of the wrongly named Hostal Mirabel to eat our first en route picnic in Bailey. Corner steadies down, table laid, lunch ready - rapid and civilised! Driving through hills we saw wide areas of autumnal trees with beautiful yellows and oranges. There were also frequent sightings of large birds that may have been vultures. I haven't got around to googling them yet. They elegantly soar and hover alongside the motorways and are mostly dark coloured with white patches under their wings.

Camping Caceres was easy to find and we discovered that its baffling website mention of each pitch having its own bathroom was not a dodgy translation but meant just that: a small lockable shed bathroom with a wc, sink and shower inside and a water tap and washing up sink outside. A table and four chairs are also provided and most pitches are flat hardstanding. I undertook my first continental BookCrossing forays (another first!) by utilising the Libros shelves in Reception. However, the wifi was irritatingly sporadic and the whole site, while functional, was a bit too concrete for our liking. It was hot though! Sunday lunchtime was warm enough to eat al fresco (the third first).

Street in Caceres medieval quarter
photo by Dave Greene
Caceres has a tranquil medieval old quarter with a few museums within its walls but, unusually and pleasantly, no tacky tourist shops. They are all out in the modern streets! We visited a small army museum that had aerial photos of the surrounding towns. Particularly interesting was a series of Caceres images taken some twenty years apart and showing how the town had grown since the 1920s. Narrow cobbled streets are steep and, having not already seen Castelo De Vide at this point, we thought the medieval atmosphere was well preserved! There's a spacious Plaza Mayor just outside the walls where we stopped to have a coffee and I took the first photo illustrating this post. The second picture shows one of the cobbled streets in the old quarter. There's also pleasant tree lined promenades into town and, on the Sunday, a group of around 300 cyclists had gathered. We weren't exactly sure of the reason but it seemed to be organised by something along the lines of Bespoke. There's an interesting commercial town centre and we managed to get some of our groceries in little shops. A locally-made cheese, Queso de Casar, has an almost fruity tang and, at Dave's insistence we also tried a vibrant orange fruit called Kakis. They're persimmons and are delicious!

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