Daily Archives: September 24, 2012

Day 76: Rest day in Cáceres

I enjoyed having a lie in and had breakfast about 9am. No Skyping today as Lizzy was asleep, Kelly and Daniel and Dan are away, and Shellbe was out, but this time next week I will be seeing them in person.

I headed off to do the laundry and have a small wander around. I found a post office and posted the two post cards I have been meaning to post since I left Barcelona.

Next up was lunch. There are about 10 restaurants in the square just outside the hotel so I went to one just along from the one last night. It was a better choice for lunch, I had a really nice smoked fish salad with salmon, anchovies, white fish, capers and lettuce, plus grilled vegetables – zucchini, egg plant, pepper, and mushroom. Last night I had a cheese entrée which was hard and a steak that was meant to be medium rare but was well done. I thought about complaining but the wait person did not speak English and I don’t speak Spanish.

Cáceres looks lush and tropical in the city

The city may look lush and tropical, but this photo was taken just outside the city

After lunch I had a wander around the old town. Cáceres has been a world heritage site since 1986 because of the blend of Moorish, Northern, Gothic and Italian renaissance architecture. This town was founded in 25BC; there are walls from the 4th, 12th 14th and 18th century. The old medieval town is used as a film site as within the walls there is no sign of any of the modern world.

The brown building between two white ones is our hotel Hotel Cáceres Casa Don Fernando

A building with a ceramic façade

Then it was back to the hotel to rest and update the blog.

View from the square outside the hotel

I ended up going to the same restaurant for dinner and had a really great steak. It was really nice sitting out in the square, it was nice and warm. There were lots of families with small children. The children were all playing happily in the square, even though it was nearly 10pm. I guess they all have a siesta in the afternoon as well. During siesta time the place is deserted, as you can see from the photo in the square there was no one around at 3pm, but the place was humming at 8:30pm.

A street off the square at 3:30pm

The same street at 9pm

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Day 75: Malpartida de Plasencia to Cáceres – 83k

5,933km down: 292km to go (95% of the way there!) Up 1,064 metres, down 1,054

I slept reasonably well last night. It was still dark at 7:30am, so after breakfast we had to wait for it to get light before we could leave. Hard to believe that only four weeks ago in Italy we were leaving at 6:30 in the morning to get some kilometres in before the heat.

The first part of the ride today was on a gravel and rocky road for 22k. We had great views from the top but it was a serious climb to get up there. We had to get up there more than once because the road not only kept going up but also back down as well. There were a couple of bits that I did not think I would get up as they were steep – 8% and 9% gradients – and my tyres were slipping on rocks.

View from the 22k gravel track

View from the 22k gravel track

I was pretty impressed with myself that I managed to get up without stopping, as some of the ups were long as well as steep and slippery. I would not have been able to ride this terrain without stopping at the beginning of the tour. Overall we climbed up 500 metres on the 22k gravel road.

Finally at the top of 22k gravel road with Esther

The brake pin from Brett’s bikes rear brakes came out, and he had to ride down the last gravel downhill plus another 34k to the lunch truck with only his front brakes – including down the spirally hills to the dam.  Once we got to the lunch truck he was able to put another set in. Gergo was on lunch so he helped as well.

Climbing up from the dam

We saw lots of cattle but the land they are on is very barren, the farmers give them hay to eat. We saw another cluster of eagles/condors, about 10 of them swooping and soaring above a field.

It was hot and after the gravel road my legs were tired so I was pleased it was only a 83k day. The last stretch seemed long, it was hot, and there was a head wind. It was nice to see Gergo in the lunch truck at the top of a rise about 10k from town with oranges for us.

The hotel tonight is nice – and not undergoing renovations. I had a rest and then a meal in the square just outside the hotel. When we arrived most of the shops were shut up as it was siesta time. The shops are shut between 2:30pm and 5:30pm, and then are open again until 8:30pm. The restaurants do not start serving dinner until 8pm.

I decided the laundry hunt could wait until tomorrow.

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Day 74: Madrigal de la Vera to Malpartida de Plasencia – 88k

5,850km down: 375km to go Up 1,250 metres, down 1,150

To start off with the camp site had looked really quiet, but we did not realize how many permanent residents of the camp there were. Plus there was a football game with Real Madrid playing at 8:30pm, so the bar got busy, and a stream of people making all kinds of racket headed to the bar to watch the game. Oh great, I thought, another night of no sleep, but I must have been really tired as I went to sleep quite quickly. I woke up for awhile in the middle of the night but got off to sleep again until the rooster started. I did suggest this morning that one of the riders has a recording that they play for fun but no one owned up.

After sleeping two nights ago in a sleeping bag and wearing arm warmers first thing in the morning, the weather has got warmer again.  This morning it was about 8:30am by the time it was light enough for us to get out on the road.


We went through a number of towns that ended in de la Vera (I must look up what that means, my best guess today is that de la Vera is the name of the mountain range we are travelling along). The most noteworthy of the de la Vera towns were:
1. Losar de la Vera – this town has heaps of poplar trees cut into interesting shapes, I kept expecting to see Edward Scissorhands at work
2. Jaraiz de la Vera – a really old town with crumbling stone walls etc, I will google it to see how old it is.

You can see the tree cuts up the street, in front a new type of shrine – cut into a tree

The campsite tonight is good. Good showers, toilets with seats and paper. There is still no soap but it has a really good washing area. And it has a bar with Wifi plus a small supermarket. So it is probably the best so far.

Tomorrow we ride to Cáceres and then have a rest day.

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