|Subject: Re: Portugal and Extremadura , Spain by car|
Joel beat me (and pretty good, I should say). May I add a place in
Portugal and comment a bit on the towns he mentions?
1._ If you draw a line from Cáceres to the portuguese frontier, on the other side you will find the small hill town of Marvao, with an enchanting moorish castle and a tiny Posada. The views are really great, all over the spanish Extremadura.
2._ If you are intending to travel on the motorway, you will go through Evora, well worth a detour.
3._ About Olivenza. Something really interesting about this town is the fact that it was part of Portugal until the year 1801, and there is an ongoing dispute with Portugal about it (not as bad as Gibraltar, I should say). The people still speak Portuguese, and there has always been a lot of relationships between the two countries. The influence in the architecture is pretty visible. The following page is in spanish, but it´s quite interesting : http://www.dip-badajoz.es/municipios/c_olivenza/olivenza/entrada.htm
4._The parador in Trujillo is not located exactly in the Plaza Mayor, but it is such a small place that it doesn´t matter. Trujillo is an interesting place to visit, with plenty of palaces built by the Conquistadores. Check the house of Pizarro up the hill, near the castle. The castle is also an interesting example of moorish architecture. I must ask my sister, but I think that in May or June they celebrate the Cheese Weekend, and it is a great exhibition and party at the same time. Talking about cheeses, don´t forget to try the Torta del Casar. We have eaten at a couple of places in the Plaza Mayor, both of them quite reasonable.
5._ Cáceres is a bit of a mix. Not so disappointing to me as Badajoz, but not so rewarding like Trujillo. Their old town is fully preserved, and they don´t allow to put modern signs on the shops and bars. In fact, it has been used to film a few historical films, like the Ridley Scott´s Colon (Salamanca was also used for this one). It has some interesting palaces and churches. The parador is located in this old town, and it is a beautiful place, although the service wasn´t so good a couple of years ago. My sister has two friends who were staying there on their wedding night, and the next day decided to move out to a small one star hotel near the Plaza Mayor. They were totally disappointed, and decided that they preferred to get out soon. You can imagine the face of the guests when, on the morning after, saw the happy couple coming into the breakfast room. The new town, modern and nothing to write home about, surrounds the old town. About food, there are a couple of interesting places : Atrium (in the new town) and the Palacio de los Golfines (in the old town). I don´t have the numbers but I can find them for you.
6._ Some places that I recommend to visit near Cáceres (well, not so near) are the Puente de Alcántara, an impressive roman bridge still working (nowadays a prize with its name is awarded every year to the best engineering work in the world) and near Arroyo de la Luz there are the sculptures of a german artist whose name is slipping of my mind# I´ll get back with it and the details.
7._ Storks. Joel is right. They are everywhere. When they built the Ruta de la Plata shopping mall in Cáceres, the storks discovered that nesting there was way much better that nesting in their traditional churches, so there you have them. Completely full, specially near the air conditioning. My sister had to get up on the roofs of the old town many times while she was studying (they had to draw plans of the houses as part of their degrees), and got friendly with many of them.
8._ And I´m not so good about Cuenca, sorry. But when we were children we were a couple of times at the Ciudad Encantada, and it was magical. Cuenca is also a World Heritage Site, like Caceres http://www.sitesatlas.com/Places/spaCuenca.htm
Well, enough for the moment, I should get my lunch.
Kind regards, Covadonga in Bilbao (Spain) Ps. Welcome back from Argentina