Really glad to leave Salamanca. Two weeks sharing-an-apartment-with-students was long enough. The need for a clean, private space had well and truly bubbled to the surface. Hauling the suitcase 2 km to the bus station, up hill, was a joy. Begin with the end in mind – Caceres.
The bus from Salamanca went off the freeway, because it services small towns along the way and so that meant the view was interesting. Saw many Camino signs, and a number of walkers doing the Silver Caminio – quite a hike from here. The countryside was mainly open treed rolling hills, and olive or orange groves. Dry stone walls going back centuries checkered the landscape. A few sheep and plenty of cattle, the occasional horse or donkey. Numerous ‘jamon’ processing plants, but no other indicators of pigs. Unlike the sandstone of Salamanca, granitic and slate formations dominated the landscape.
The fourth floor apartment in Calle Alfonso IX has wonderful views across yet another UNESCO world heritage site. And no lift. But not to worry, travelling with only 20 kg of luggage meant it was do-able at the end of a three hour bus ride. The owner of the apartment is most hospitable – an American woman who has lived in Spain for 25 years teaching English. Not too many foreign tourists make it to Caceres, which means it is quiet. So quiet in fact that one can hear one’s ears ringing in the silence (in between the ringing of church bells in the medieval city).
She offered to provide a little guided tour of the town (and to recommend some great tapas bars), so we headed down to the Plaza Major and came across a great ruckus – zombies! Bloodied nurses holding up drips and wheeling patients in wheelchairs (I’m sure the drips were filled sangria, which can be lethal depending on who mixes the stuff); scores of teenagers on roller blades looking like they’d seriously wiped themselves out with a fall or two – torn jeans, bloodied faces and limbs, bruises, black eyes and lank hair; together with blanched face, black-rimmed eyes children in prams – truly a picture of their blanched face, black-rimmed eyed parents! ‘World War Z’ party time. Any excuse to dress up!