Sunday 5th May
Andy, Lesley and Wendy took the opportunity this morning to enjoy for one last time the National Park and took the dogs for a walk, leaving me to catch up with the blog. All too soon we were saying farewell to the birds and other assorted wildlife of Monfragüe and continuing our journey south to Caceres.
Campsite Ciudad de Caceres is right on the outskirts of the city right beside the local football ground. As we arrived, we could hear the roars from the crowds as the home side scored in one of the final games of the season. The site was unique in that every pitch has its own wet room, containing a shower, toilet and washbasin.
The temperature was well into the mid 20s but there was to be no peace for the wicked, so out came the bikes and trailers and we set off to explore the centre of Caceres. I confidently announced that I would lead, as I had sorted out some glitches with my bike’s Garmin. However halfway into our journey it had a hissy fit, shrugged its shoulders and gave up! my attempt at navigating on dead reckoning alone meant that we cycled an extra couple of kilometres including the ascent of a steep hill twice. We arrived at the town’s Plaza Mayor with the scent of mutiny in the air and talk of ditching the navigator.
Caceres’ Plaza Mayor (town square) is supposed to be one of the best in Spain, but I didn’t think it matched up to the square in Salamanca. We shackled our bikes to the Tourist Information Office’s bin and skipped up the steps in to the Ciudad Monumental (apparently, they feature in Game of Thrones – a young person’s TV series apparently). We could hear some loud music playing and walked through a couple of squares to find a Flamenco School giving a dancing display. I am not usually a fan of dancing, but this Spanish take on line dancing was very impressive. A large group of women, girls and a solitary lad were clearly having a great time and their performance was being loudly appreciated by the watching crowd. Rio, was far more critical. He didn’t like the noise and preferred to watch from the safety of the church steps.
Ever since we arrived in Spain Andy has been looking for a place to enjoy a meal of traditional Spanish Tapas; and at a café on the Plaza Mayor we had our first. I think the general opinion was that it was OK. It was a benchmark by which we will judge future meals, but it certainly quelled the growing hunger pangs and fortified us for the cycle back. My attempt to resurrect my career as a navigator got off to a less than auspicious start as I set off down a one-way street the wrong way, then I was stopped by the local police coming the right way in their car. I was fearing the worst, but all they did was tell me to ride on the pavement. In the ensuing confusion Wendy and I became separated from Any and Lesley as they went the right way down the adjacent one-way street and got snarled up in pedestrians with trollies and push chairs.
Somehow we all arrived back relieved if a little sweaty, at the campsite just as dusk was falling. Time to put our own private wet rooms to the test.