Into Portugal

We’re heading for Portugal today (Tuesday), a first for both of us. However, we are only dipping our toes in it, staying at Elvas, just a few kilometres from Badajoz.

The nearer we got to Salamanca yesterday, the greener the countryside became; not quite as green as we think of, but there were trees in abundance, something missing from the earlier part of the day’s journey.  As we left there today, heading directly south, there was much of the same but in the distance we could see the hazy peaks of what I assume were the Sierra de Grados.

28878423323_93fd28c120The route did become more mountainous, although by no means as high or extreme as the Pyrenees. We came across a sign (exit 455 just above Plasencia) for a Roman Ruin https://goo.gl/maps/Uji62V776o72  and we thought, given we needed a drink and a loo, that we’d stop and take a look.  Serendipity won once more, it was well worth the 6km unplanned detour, to experience the ruins and the rest stop (which was small but VERY busy). As we drove on towards Cáceres, it became hotter and hotter, reaching 43ºC at one stage. Phew. When we filled up the guy (jokingly) said ‘this is winter here is Spain’ – ha ha.

From here on, we seem to have passed into the olive belt. We have seen evidence of pig farms, cows grazing in the shade of moorland trees and mile after mile of olive trees, both before and after Cáceres, when left the dual carriageway (road number) and headed onto the EX100 heading for Badajoz at a steady 44ºC!

We’re staying in Elvas overnight, which has an impressive aqueduct just opposite the hotel. Our research has suggested that Elvas has a UNESCO World Heritage listing for its ancient fortifications and city walls.  It is certainly a little gem, which we would have enjoyed all the more if the temperature had been just a few degrees less than it was.  It was all we could do to walk up the hill into town and fall into a small, very local bar for beers and agua con gas. My first ever Sagre Beer.

We later explored the town and its shops in a little more comfort as the elevated position and narrow streets kept the temperature down to a more manageable level. We ate at ‘A Coluna’ and enjoyed the food very much. I had pork feather (!) and Sharon had Grilled Cod with toasted garlic. Both were were more delicious and better presented than my description sounds.

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