Castles, Courtyards and Cañas on the Coach

26 Oct

We are now feel old enough to join the University of the Third Age, better known as U3A even though here in Jàvea, at least, we are probably amongst the youngest. That suits us just fine as they’re a busy and sprightly bunch, often putting us to shame and there are so many activities we want to get involved in. One of these is the Travel Group which was organising a trip to Extremadura in the west of Spain, towards Portugal, an area we haven’t previously explored.

meridia-plaza-major

Monday morning found us lugging our sizable cases to the bus. Yes, that’s right, this was a pensioners’ coach trip. Several very welcome ‘comfort’ stops, two lunch stops (don’t ask) and ten hours later we were in Mérida with the evening free. Not the prettiest of towns, it’s attraction is in the the fact it has been built on a Roman city of which a huge amount still remains. That was all for the following day, however. The night was for the bars and restaurants. An October Monday evening is not the busiest of times but we soon found where the action was both in the Plaza Major and the back streets where a caña and a tapa would set you back the grand total of €1. And I can say, in all honesty, that the restaurant we finally chose had the best red wine I have ever tasted.

meridia-bridge

Tuesday was ours to explore and, being us, we were the first in the Roman amphitheatre. We had the place to ourselves initially giving us chance to savour walking in the footsteps of gladiators. It is possible to get a bit “Romaned out”, however. There were some twenty odd different Roman sites dotted about, all well worth a visit but by mid afternoon I was ready for a siesta. Did I mention this was a pensioners’ coach trip? Yep, most of them explored the lot.

meridia-temple-diana

Come evening and we were raring to go again and met up with another couple who encouraged us to visit one last ruin. The Temple of Diana, just around the corner from the main shopping street, was floodlit and stunning. This called for fizz.

 

Back to the coach on Wednesday to our next stopover and a guided tour of the medieval town of Cáceres and its fortified noble houses. We walked the walls, explored the church and the Jewish quarter before a lunch of tostada with smoked salmon on oranges, a combination I’d never heard of before but can definitely recommend.

alcantara-wall

Afternoon was medieval and renaissance Trujillo which was shut but perhaps more attractive for being empty. Home to Conquistadors, every turn was a photograph, but is perhaps best remembered by the U3A for the “little train” debacle.

alcantara-plaza-major

If it’s Thursday this must be Guadalupe and a rather disappointing visit to a monastery and a surprisingly good community lunch venue before overnight in Ciudad Real. Here the long threatened rain clouds finally burst with dramatic lightning causing us to run into the nearest restaurant for the best meal of our trip. Good food, good wine and great company.

Friday took us to Almagro and a visit to the theatre museum – not what we intended but perhaps actually better than the planned visit to the old theatre itself – and back for the grueling journey home to Jàvea. All great fun and wonderful places but perhaps we’re not ready for more coach trips just yet.

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9 Responses to “Castles, Courtyards and Cañas on the Coach”

  1. brummytezza October 26, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    More parallels. We’re in the Moraira U3A – and yes we seem to be about the youngest members. Fought off the coach trips so far but Mo is keen.

    If you’re in moraira and you fancy a meet up for a beer please contact us.

    Terry

    • lamputts October 27, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

      Definitely, Terry. Hope everything OK after the fire?

      • brummytezza October 27, 2016 at 10:58 pm #

        Fire did not effect us, as we’re well south of Benitachell. Must have been awful for those between there and Xabia. Look forward to a chat over a beer about all things Bavarian.

  2. southamptonoldlady October 27, 2016 at 12:29 am #

    I remember seeing those – did you stay in Paradores?

    • lamputts October 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

      No, although we did have a nose in them! Being on a coach trip we tended to stay in large business-type hotels on the outskirts although always within walking distance of the good bits.

      • southamptonoldlady October 30, 2016 at 5:48 am #

        I always think staying somewhere with a view to a beautiful building is better than being in the beautiful building!

      • lamputts October 30, 2016 at 6:14 am #

        Good point!

  3. Liz November 16, 2016 at 2:56 am #

    There is no lower age limit to joining U3A in the UK. Where are you now? Just recovering from ligament damage to both ankles & broken fibula.Did it leaving Bridgnorth hospital fete! So quite handy really😉😏. When are you back in the UK? x

    • lamputts November 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      Good grief, Liz! That sounds awful and must make it really difficult to get about. Hope you recover quickly. We’re not planning to spend much time in the UK if we can help it 😎

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