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A bit of a trip around Extremadura

All of the famous Conquistadores, well the two I know the names of, Cortés and Pizarro, came from the region of Extremadura. The conventional wisdom is that it was such a desolate place that they were willing to do anything to get away. Even today it is one of the poorest regions of Spain but because it's the next region to the South of Ciudad Rodrigo and as we'd never been to the provincial Capital at Badajoz and because we had the "Bank Holiday" weekend we thought we should go and have a nosey.

Everyone had warned us about Badajoz but we had taken no heed. It was as boring as they said. Two hours and we'd had enough. We headed for Mérida, the town that makes its living from the Roman remains. We couldn't find a hotel. This weekend of fun and frolic was turning into a mini disaster. We decided that we may as well come back home. By now we'd driven for some 4½ hours and done over 400kms but we were cross enough to just turn around and head home in the middle of the night. Fortunately for us, about 30kms out of Mérida there was a truck stop café cum hotel and we stayed there in a slightly musty room. The next morning we went back to Mérida to see the splendid Roman Museum and then on to Guadalupe.

The little town of Guadalupe was rather nice. Full of tourists and trinket shops but then we were tourists happy to browse amongst the trinkets in the warm sun. Guadalupe is another of those places where a statue of the Virgin was found under miraculous conditions and where a Monastery was built up around the statue. This one was lucky enough to get Royal Patronage though and Our Lady of Guadalupe became a rallying cry for Spanish armies through the centuries. We joined the 4€ tour of the monastery but the Franciscan monk who was set to show us the statue made it very clear that seeing "Our Lady" had nothing whatsoever to do with the guided tour we'd just had and that if we weren't believers then we should push off pronto. He made the crowd recite something, that they all seemed to know, and then they filed past the statue kissing something that the priest held up for them. We were scared. Maggie had a story ready about her Methodist beliefs and I was frantically trying to put together a workable Spanish translation of the Second Commandment. We hung back and saw the statue from two or three metres away and made good our escape with the last of the believers.

Then we had a beer and we drove home. Just a bit over 850kms all together, there and back.

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Combining my blogs

This blog is now dormant. It records our time in the beautiful city of Ciudad Rodrigo but it's a while since we've lived there. We now spend part of our time in Cartagena, Murcia and a part in Culebrón, Alicante.

If you would like to gave a look at what we're up to now just click on one of the tabs at the top of the page.

That's it

Done. Finished. I'm just about to disconnect the computer and that will be it. We managed to get everything in the cars, tomorrow morning we'll dope up Edu and then all we have to do is to drive across Spain. The Culebrón link below will be in use for the next few weeks before we move on to Cartagena in September. Click on the links below.
So this blog is dead. Ciudad Rodrigo is history. Culebrón for the summer and then Cartagena.
The story continues .......

Missed something else

This morning, as I cleaned my teeth, I heard hooves in the street. I didn't bother to rush out. I took my time, I put on my boots and strolled out to buy fags and a paper. There were signs of horses or mules or donkeys having passed down the street. When I came out of the fag shop I noticed a fair sized crowd by the Fat Tree but the fun was over, the crowd was drifting away and I didn't have my camera anyway.
I've just checked the town web site and it says that The Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Peña de Francia, having been blessed by a local chaplain, set out on a Romeria (a sort of pilgrimage) from the town today heading for one of the highest peaks in the area - the Peña de Francia. They won't get there till Sunday as it's some 50km from here.