October 25, 2012 – Getting to Caceres, Spain

As it turns out the weather and the traffic are not cooperating. What should have been a four hour drive with a stop in Estremoz, the city of marble, turns out to be a six hour trip through massive traffic in Lisbon and howling wind and rain the rest of the way. We also lose an hour due the time change between Portugal and Spain. Our only stop is at a roadside eatery where we have a surprisingly good bean and vegetable soup. One of the highlights of the day is crossing the Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon.

The sail-like cable-stay piers give the Vasco da Gama bridge the impression of a large Portuguese caravel

We arrive at our next destination, Caceres, Spain, late in the afternoon. We are staying at a parador here. According to Wikipedia the Paradores de Turismo de España are a chain of Spanish luxury hotels. Paradores de Turismo was founded by Alfonso XIII of Spain as a means to promote tourism in Spain, with the first opening in Gredos, Ávila, in 1928. A profitable state-run enterprise, the hotels are often in castles, palaces, fortresses, convents, monasteries and other historic buildings. Of course this means that they are often in the rabbit warren of narrow lanes in the city centers. Parador de Caceres is no exception.

We are directed to find a plaza with some bollards at one end. Then we must use the intercom to ask that the bollards be lowered. Once inside the bollards we must locate the hotel. Jack, our GPS, gets us close but decides we have reached our destination without the hotel being in sight. Round and round we go trying to find the hotel. No luck. John asks directions twice. People are helpful but do not speak English. We can only glean what they are saying by where they are pointing. Finally, by accident, we come across the correct set of bollards. At last we find the hotel. We are pretty stressed out.

The hotel is in a palace refurbished as a hotel. Our room is very nice and looks out over the tiny lane that the hotel fronts. We have some tapas and wine and fall asleep early exhausted from the day’s adventures.

Our room at the Parador de Caceres

View from our tiny balcony

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