Merida to Plasencia and a tribute to Alex

Leaving Merida, Tuesday 15 May

Absolute sheer pleasure! Oh yes. My boots both fit me again and there is (almost) NO pain. The swelling has gone, along with the toenail. Ahhh. I managed well over 10,000 steps on tuesday. In walking shoes. Phew..

Thinking of little difficulties: the local accent in Merida was a interesting. Imagine how you understand ‘do(s)’, meaning 2, when the end s is dropped! And imagine trying to converse with little changes like that in every word. 🤣🤣🤣


Travelling by bus past towns I’ve walked through, including Grimaldo, Caceres and Canaveral, was a mix of pleasure and disappointment: I’d have preferred another 4 or 5 days of walking after arriving at Merida. But, c’est la vie and I’ve got a chance to see a city I’d heard about a while ago, Plasencia, another old walled city. And it helps remind me how uncertain the future will always be, however we try to control it.


Easy to find where I’d booked and I discovered my new landlord, Miguel, knows as much about me as you do. I’d answered his query about my arrival time on email. Yes, it contains my blog address. He gave me possibly the best introduction to an apartment and a town I’ve ever had. Very personable and, luckily for me, doesn’t speak english so, we had to use Spanish. 😎

The apartment is probably the narrowest and darkest I’ve ever had. Less than a metre wide at its narrowest, I still duck when I walk under one passage light and through the arch. Don’t need to but both feel dangerously low. This apartment provides a good way to envisage life a few centuries ago in these houses: cold and dark.

At 09:00 or 10:00, with all blinds and shutters open, you can see how dark it is when you look to the distant bit of light in the front room of the house. If from there you look back to the bedroom it’s a little like the black hole of Calcutta, even when the hall lights are on. Sigh.

Central location and it has the facilities I’d expected but, yes, very dark and very cold. I left the front and back windows open all day to at least warm it up to the outside temperature. Didn’t work but, the heaters do and I’ve got a washing machine and stove. 😏. Ahh for feng shui applied. 😁

Plasencia as a tourist

I’ve spent the past few days wandering, seeing tourist haunts and trying the local food. Obvious here is tourist central with the number of shops specialising in local cheeses, jamón and olive oil. A local torta de casar is a bit stronger and even nicer than the one in Merida,

and I found a very nice gazpacho with the makings. Could eat that every day and be happy doing it.

The city walls are impressive in Plasencia. A large section is extant, enough to retain 6 gates, and best of all, you can walk along a section and look over some outer areas of the town.

There is still something magical seeing houses and streets alongside city walls and looking out, over a town.

More to come on Plasencia in the next blog. First, something more important.

Tribute to Dr Alex Ward

The world lost a great guy when Alex recently shucked his mortal coil. I lost a guy I really liked, a friend, my research partner for many years and together we coauthored many research papers and a book. Life was tough for him over the past few years and his death reminds me how important it is to live while you are alive. Farewell Alex.

I’ve found it hard to accept he really has gone, someone I’ve known for nearly 40 years, but I’ve now got a copy of his funeral notice. That makes it real, and final. He’ll be buried next Wednesday, as I’m flying into Dubai, on my way home. Thanks Sarah.

One thought on “Merida to Plasencia and a tribute to Alex

  1. Sorry for the loss of your friend of so many years Val. I always regret being unable to be present at the funeral of a friend/ relative when I am the other side of the world ( & this has happened more frequently as I grow older) but like you say you need to do Live life as best you can, while you can, & honour their memory (as you have so eloquently done)
    Glad the toe-nail is gone & the feet are happy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s