Friday 3rd May Day 8
Dear Reader, I am sorry that I am not as up to date with my posts as I would like to be, but life on the road with the Fosketts is pretty fast paced. In fact, it can be just this side of hectic! However, As I always have my readers’ interests at heart, I have upgraded my website so you won’t be bothered by any more of those annoying adverts. you should be redirected automatically to the new address, but just in case, the new site is www.semperdeinceps.org
We arose sluggishly this morning, following our late night with the Guards and cycled into Salamanca for a late breakfast. We arrived just after 1000 but nowhere was open until 1100 so we strolled around the town admiring its historic beauty.
Salamanca is the home of the third oldest university in the world, founded in 1134 (the two oldest are the University of Bologna, 1088 and Oxford University, 1096). When Christopher Columbus was struggling to get funding for his expedition to discover a westerly sea route to Asia, he made a plea to the council of Salamanca in 1487 as he thought the educated burghers of the city would see the sense in his argument. They didn’t; and he had to wait until King Ferdinand finally gave in five years later.
Salamanca has a fine roman bridge, that is still in use (there is likely to be a lot about roman bridges in the coming weeks!) and leads up into the old town past the conjoined cathedrals. Yes, that’s right, Salamanca has two cathedrals that lean up against each other; one is 12thCentury Romanesque, while the new one was begun in the 15thCentury and took two hundred years to complete.
Another building of note is the Casa la Concha, so called because it is adorned with stone seashell carvings. It was built by one of the knights of Santiago de Compostella who led the fight to reclaim Spain from the Moors. It was more impressive inside than it looks from the outside.
After bacon and eggs Spanish style it was back to campsite for a speedy pack up so we could leave before having to pay for a second day. We drove five minutes down the road back to the Decathlon. We needed a proper look to pass our expert eye over our first Spanish Decathlon. The weight of our shopping baskets showed it was a good one.
Next stop was Plascencia an hour further south on the A66. The journey gave us a taste of what was to come as it seemed like there were storks nesting on every pylon that lined the road.
Camping Monfrague is just outside the Monfrague National Park and is a veritable wildlife haven. We arrived in blistering sunshine cloudless skies and mid-twenties and managed to get two of the last remaining pitches as the campsite was very busy. It was full of families and it was great to hear the sound of children running around and generally having a good time. Wednesday was a National Holiday and Thursday was a holiday for Madrid, so most people have today off as a ‘bridging day’ to make a five-day weekend. The Spanish government have been trying to move May Day to a Monday as we do in the UK, but you can understand why they are struggling to do so!
No sooner had we set up than we realise the campsite had its own storks’ nest, the trees were full of azure magpies and everywhere there were people walking around with the biggest cameras, binoculars and telescopes you have ever seen outside the Optimist Nationals!
We managed to book ourselves on to a bird watching trip for tomorrow evening.
[By the way, if you think there are too many photos of birds in today’s blog; just wait until tomorrow!]