Dr Who

Caceres Travel Blog

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Stunning backdrop to a lovely drop!

More on the Cáceres adventure. I fell in love with this beautiful town and even looked for opportunities to work there. I think the only option (until I can speak Spanish more fluently) is to teach English.

So . . .on Saturday afternoon after the last blog, Ramon and I wandered for a while in the old walled city and came across a teeny bar in a laneway. The walls of the surrounding homes (medieaval mansions!) were covered in Wisteria, like a rainbow. It was magical just sitting and quietly chatting with a stunning glass of red.

From there we went in search of a little more adventure. I had passed a student bar on my way back from the internet cafe and took Ramon there. We had a beer with the boys and they told us about a great (locals only) tapas bar away from the main touristy part of town.

Energy efficient lighting
We followed their directions to end up in Calle Doctor Fleming! I have come across a Calle John Lennon and was told that there is even a Calle AC/DC but the sign is repeatedly stolen!

So we found this bar and it was packed (now about 8.30pm) with locals. For every drink you order you get a ´free´tapa (something from the huge is selection presented on a round of toasted french stick). You can buy other Tapas for only 1E each! Our selection included Morcilla topped with quail egg (black pudding), carne picada (pork mince grilled), oreja (pigs ear), sepia (like teeny calamari on mayonnaise), warmed sheeps queso (cheese) with herbs and Jamon with paprika.

Wow! Sufficiently full after that we decided to try to get into one of the mediaeval plays being staged at various outdoor venues in the old city.

Ramon and the 'prostitute'
They started at 11.00pm but by the time we got there at 10.30 all the tickets had been sold. There was a free event at the old museum also with the same theme so we wound through more cobbled streets lined with huge blazing candelabras and long velvet flags fluttering above. I was in a time warp!

On arrival, there were some stalls set up selling ceramic pottery (very olde worlde), mediaeval dress up clothes, a blacksmith and assorted donkeys, chickens and geese. There were ´actors´ wandering among the crowd playing various roles totally in character: the Bishop offering pardons (I can breathe easily now), a knight (guapo!), a wealthy woman of means (beautifully made up), a knave and of course a prostitute (not so beautifully made up). It was so surreal with the candlelight and the music.

My first 'knight'
There was a restaurant with a mediaeval feast in progress (all outdoor) and a play was being staged among the tables.

The event manager had ensured that everything remotely 20th century had been covered in hessian and the atmosphere was so real. Even the beer taps were covered and drinks were served in ceramic beakers.

Ramon and I had brought with us a lovely bottle of wine procured that afternoon and we shared it with some nice local boys. They offered to take us to a local bar not far (also in the old town) called El Corral de las Ciguenas. Ciguenas are the storks that inhabit every post and church spire in Spain. People love them and so do I.

Well, this bar (another outside venue) was fantastic. It was surrounded with high walls covered with ivy and had a very small bar.

The plaza major in Caceres
It was shoulder to shoulder with the locals. Everyone was having a great time. No-one was badly behaved, no agression or drunken carry on that I am used to in Melbourne. It was so pleasant and grown up but really fun. One of my new best friends decided he was going to be my Knight of Santiago and pledged his allegiance to me, promising to come to my aid if I should ever need it. I got home at 3.00am!

So the next morning I was not walking and could have a wee sleep in. Ramon had to leave as his time on the Camino is limited. It was a sad goodbye to my lovely friend and I will miss our Spanish/English conversations and yelling ´La Buena Vida de Los Peregrinos´at the top of our lungs as we walked!

My day was wonderful, exploring the town and generally taking life slowly.

Pablo and Ska taking me on a locals tour of Caceres
I found a fabulous Cultural Centre with 3D representations of the town through its various incarnations - pre-Christianity, Moors, Christians, Romans and Christians again. The entire walled city has been retained as close to original as possible and not many people actually live there now as the buildings are so old.

Later that day I met up with a couchsurfing friend, Pablo and his absolutely gorgeous scruffy dog called ´ska´. Pablo took me to see a Flamenco Jazz fusion concert with his mum. It was outside at a modern art museum and was the finale of a weekend of people learning animation cinematography. There was great food - an entire Jamon Iberico was sliced and placed on dozens of plates to be passed around. It was gone in about 5 minutes.

The beautiful Marketa in Casar de Caceres and the remains of our queso!
The Spanish love their Jamon!

Pablo also took me to meet some of his friends who were in a dungeon-like room in the basement of one of the old mansions. It belonged to the father of one of the boys. The were playing that war game with the soldiers that you move after throwing dice (I am sure it is far more complicated than that). Well, the point is that it was another one of those surreal moments. We were in a vaulted room maybe 600 years old playing war games!

The entire time I was in Cáceres I wondered every time I walked outside what century I would end up in - it was like the Tardis!

I spent Sunday night with very bad stomach cramps and did not sleep at all - maybe some tap water? I am still not right but it does not take away from the crazy life I am living at the moment.

The amazing albergue at Alcantara

So yesterday I walked only 11km (in rain) to Casar de Cáceres, a town reknowned for its special cheese called Torta de Casar. It is made from sheeps milk warmed and then curdled with wild thistle. The result is a round hard rind cheese with a liquid centre that you eat with a spoon. I met a beautiful Chech girl (Marketa) at the albergue and we tried some cheese together. It was breathtaking!

Another magic moment last night - she sings in a choir and has loads of music with her. While cooking spaghetti, she played my favourite song from the movie ´Once´. It was really special for me (Deb and Paul will understand)

Today we walked about 23km to a reservoir called Alcantara. There is really nothing here but a few old houses, a boat ramp, some yachts and the Albergue (stunning modern building built 3 years ago just for pilgrims).

Leaving the embalse (dam) at sunrise, alone and in awe
The hospitalerio has lent me his computer so I have found another Camino angel as internet is few and far between around here. It is a gorgeous setting and Marketa and I want to stay here!

Unfortunately I think I have a big day tomorrow and she will take a bus some way as her time is limited.

Next time you walk out the door - imagine you are leaving the Tardis. Be Dr Who for a few hours and create your own fantasy . . . .

Besos to all, Gracia

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Stunning backdrop to a lovely drop!
Stunning backdrop to a lovely drop!
Energy efficient lighting
Energy efficient lighting
Ramon and the prostitute
Ramon and the 'prostitute'
My first knight
My first 'knight'
The plaza major in Caceres
The plaza major in Caceres
Pablo and Ska taking me on a local…
Pablo and Ska taking me on a loca…
The beautiful Marketa in Casar de …
The beautiful Marketa in Casar de…
The amazing albergue at Alcantara
The amazing albergue at Alcantara
Leaving the embalse (dam) at sunri…
Leaving the embalse (dam) at sunr…
photo by: zefusa