Today was divided clearly into two halves. Both were enjoyable but both were also quite different one from the other.

In the first half, we awoke to something we hadn’t heard in a long, long time: rain tapping gently on the roof of the Magic Caravan. It wasn’t the drumbeat of former downpours we have endured, especially last autumn in Belgium, but nonetheless it was real rain. The sky showed no sign of blue and had changed to a greyish-white cover with the odd dark splodge where we surmised the water was stored.

The change in the weather gave us a great excuse not to go visiting the town so we just had breakfast and settled down to our own little things, me pottering about and playing Mah-Jong on the laptop while Mary curled up with her Kindle. Every so often our attention would be seized by the distinctive sound of rain suddenly falling against the front windows of the caravan, but typically it couldn’t bring itself to turn into what we hardened Scots know as a dreich, rainy day, preferring to fade away before coming back suddenly for a few minutes then disappear again.

Even as lunchtime came and went there was little sign of a break in the clouds, leaving everyone on the campsite in a bit of a quandary as to what to do. I was beginning to feel a tad twitchy with cabin fever and kept jumping up to go and do……. just about anything I could think of, quickly running out of inspiration and returning to my seat. But when I discovered we’d run out of margarine the penny dropped. The supermarket! Our salvation!

Unusually warm and weatherproof clothing was donned by both of us and I even put the umbrella in the back seat of the Audi before we drove off towards the town. When we got there I simply followed the signs to a big Carrefour situated on the southern edge of Caceres and in we went to have a bit of a wander. However, for once our shopping expedition did not turn into the fun it normally does. In fact it was a bit of a nightmare!

We bought loads of stuff we probably didn’t really want or need, like mint chocolate-flavoured tea. We simply couldn’t find fresh semi-skimmed milk although there were gallons of the full-fat variety. We totally forgot to buy the margarine, the one thing we were out of. And at the checkout, not only did our Travelex card not have enough on it to cover the total cost, but we had chosen a self-scan point and it went wonky halfway through, necessitating the grumpy assistant having to rescan all our items. See what I mean by nightmare?

Upon leaving the supermarket car park, the sun suddenly burst through the clouds, prompting me to swing round and follow signs to “Ciudad Monumental” which I had read on a brochure was the old part of Caceres where all the historical stuff could be found. What we discovered after parking in a convenient side street was a gem of a town, full of old walls, arches, towers, churches, palaces and quarters from a bygone age, all surprisingly well-preserved and tastefully presented to the inquisitive traveller.

The 2 Towers

The 2 Towers

The walls and arch

The walls and arch

So the second half of the day was a pure delight as we did what we like best, wandering through historic streets, visiting churches and castles and examining the contents of little museums. A particular highlight however was the opportunity to see those local black storks up close from the top of one of the towers in the old cathedral. As you will see from the photo, at one point we were only about 10 metres away from a mother standing at her nest with what may have been a chick snuggled up inside. That’s the kind of moment we really like – unexpected and dramatic.

Yes, we were that close!

Yes, we were that close!

Esmerelda!

Esmerelda!

Mary made tea tonight and then we passed the evening reorganizing our cupboards and getting rid of another ton of stuff we brought with us but have never used at any point. We were quite pleased with our efforts and hopefully life will be that little bit more convenient in the confines of our Magic Caravan.

Tomorrow we drive to Salamanca, the great university town of Spain. It should be roasting with all the degrees!

See, no shorts or t-shirt today

See, no shorts or t-shirt today

 

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