Valdesor to Caceres

Made record time to Caceres from Valdesor, a short 13 km or so. Started out alone after a late breakfast and soon caught up to Monica. She is the Frenchwoman who we’ve been travelling alongside for a few days. And, for the first time in weeks I could freely chat in english. Yes, I really enjoyed it. And as I told her, in my experience, it is very unusual to find such a fluent english speaker who is French!   

My past two days have been a big surprise. My last time in Valdesor was something I didn’t want to repeat. Ever. 

This time, everything was different. Everything. From the albergue to the walk this morning has been good. The meal last night was very good, so different from the plastic snack I grabbed from the service station on the way out last time, in 2013. Of course, today wasn’t after nearly 30km and my blisters are considerably better managed nowadays. 

Anyhow, it’s been a very strong lesson for me: context is everything. Being with nice people (Victoria, Jesús and Monica) made it for me. (We convinced Julia to pose with us).

Having the bar owner, Julia, meet me with the albergue keys yesterday contributed too. One outcome: the best sleep I’ve had in weeks.

Bar at start of old Caceres 

I started Caceres in a bar, waiting for Victoria. I thought she was at least a km behind, as she left later and is slower anyhow. And I was really only there as the shop next door had some of the best peaches I’ve seen. That says a lot given the excellence of peaches in spain at this time of year. 

So, saw the bar and thought I’d wait for her. She now has an electronic map herself so it’s not as important as previously. With the boys it was always nice meeting the first person into a town in an early bar so I thought it would work. 

I was very cold when V and J finally arrived, about an hour behind me. They got lost, as I did my first time here. This time I did a lot better with the arrows, and some help from my map. I was very pleased to see them both. 

Reminds me: Jesus is such a nice guy. I’m sorry we are unlikely to meet him again as he is walking longer distances than I want to if I have an option.

Hotel

When I booked I asked for a room with a balcony or an external window. Thought I wasn’t going to get it  as we were checking in and the guy on the desk assured me if I wanted that I needed to pay for a superior room but that they were full. Bugger. 

I nearly dropped dead when I walked into a room with an external window and a type of balcony. In fact, you can see the Plaza Mayor from here. Wow!!! Yes, it’s everything I wanted. And, despite him being a bit tedious, I had booked a superior room. His english was worse than my Spanish and I know he didn’t impress V either. We think he thought us vagrants in shorts, boots, and with a pack each! 

Lunch at a nearby restaurant was interesting. An unusual menu left us having to select 2 things on toast, 2 tapas and 2 desserts. You can tell making a selection wasn’t easy! 

Things on toast were both cheese based: grilled sheep’s cheese and cheese on cherry jam. One tapas was migas, breadcrumbs toasted with some garlic and mixed with jamon and I don’t know what else (not on my list to repeat) and the other, goats cheese under caramelised onions on grilled pork (wonderful). Desserts: cheese cake and figs filled with ? and dipped in chocolate. 


Yes, light on veggies. Dinner was fruit and freshly roasted chestnuts.

Museum

As you may remember, old Caceres is like a town from the middle ages. Lovely old buildings in the curved streets all within remnants of the old walls. Looks impressive from the bell tower of the cathedral and from below as you wander around. 

And the museum: makes my list of interesting ones. My first time in it, sheerly through ignorance of what they have here. Many items from Neolithic and Palaeolithic periods, fascinating gravestones from centuries before the romans arrived, 

Roman ‘letters’, inscription written by a group I recently learnt a little about from Benedo, the the tartesios. 

Fascinating. Amazingly we ran into Monica in the museum, arranged to meet her afterwards and lost her! We’ll be in the same albergue tomorrow so will catch up then. Was most odd: improbable we found her and equally probable we could never have found her again. 

Tomorrow: short 11km to Casar de Cáceres with an albergue that’s not well designed. Nor do I remember it as expensive so, all can be relative. 

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