Destination Spain Heading South
Andalucia is where I have travelled most in Spain and is what I call the heart of Spain. It's were I am heading now. But all of Spain has it's own unique hidden places, it's just up to you to explore and find them.
First stop only an hour or so from the North coast is a pretty little town called Aguilar de Campoo in the central plateau of Castilla & Leon.
Elv: 906 M
I parked near the center and walked till I found a nice looking bar in the main plaza of the old town. I needed a pee, so why not choose a nice place, after all, it's a nice day and I got myself a coffee and a "pincho" tortilla with bacon €2.50 There are a lot of youngsters in the town that makes it a little lively.
I checked Google for camping nearby and found a place only 2 minutes away. There is an area for campervans and free. "Wild Camping"
As I like the feel of this place so I have decided to stay a night and spend the afternoon exploring. I got the bike out and cycled along the river out of town and up a bit of a hill to view the large lake, that has a dam with a view over the town.
Click on any image to view full size:
I then returned to the campervan as I want to walk up to the medieval castle that I have seen when first driving into town and have a well-earned beer afterwards in the main plaza. So I did!!
Aguilar de Campoo
Wild Camping means: Not paying to park up for the night. Also usually with no toilets or showers. Unless you have this fitted in your camper, if not then you will need to improvise! A wash down in the van with a bucket/bowl and a cup to rinse off is ok. If camping in the wild, then washing outside can easily be setup. For a toilet in the wild, all you need is a shovel and toilet paper. But camping in urban areas you need to improvise even more........... A man can pee in a bottle in emergencies if no public toilet available. But for No. 2's a doggy or compostable bag will be required. Not had the pleasure!!
The trick is not to drink any beer late afternoon/night time. Carry plenty of water to wash with and fresh drinking water. stock up on food that keeps with out a fridge. Wild camping one night and staying at a campsite the next gives you a shower every day. How do those hicking with a tent manage!!!!
See: Travel For Less To Travel For Longer
See: Travel For Less To Travel For Longer
Continuing South towards Salamanca.
I stopped at a town called Tordesillas on the River Duero. Followed signs to the campsite, but right next door I see the river, beach and bar and drove in and I will wild camp here for the night. There is fresh water and showers on the beach.
Day started off fresh and got up to 20°
Took a walk into town crossing the bridge. Has a lovely plaza with many bars and being a Saturday full of Spanish families. Got a beer with tapa €1.30
Tordesillas from wild camping spot with view of the town
I left early morning heading towards Salamanca, I took the wrong turning. The A road and not the Autovia national road. Which was fine, as I have not had a coffee yet and can always find a small independent bar. Within minutes I found a place more of a wild west bar. This is what I like to see and visit where time stands still! Even the town close by was called "7 churches" Siete Iglasias.
Wild west bar - coffee stop with sun rising
Continued South and found a nice campsite Pinajarros near to the town of Hervás in the Ambroz valley Extremadura. Once parked up, I got straight out on the bike and cycled up to Hervás town, it was lunch time, so a beer with tapa in a nice little Bar called Carlitos.
Temp: Now back in the 30's
Cycling to Hervás
The next day I decided to stay one more night (nice to be situated with the view of the mountains all around) and cycled up to the town again, straight out of the campsite and turn left. I can feel it a bit in my knees from cycling yestetday. It does not look like a hill but I am in 1st gear. And the road brought me to my bar Carlitos, but was closed so I continued and found a bar La Bodegaita with a sign saying una cana y tapa €1:00. After dos canas I continued to the other side of town for a beautiful view of the town and mountains. People are friendly and found a mini food store selling cheap fresh produce. It must have been a steep hill as I did not have to pedal once on the way back.
View of Hervás
Returned to the town that evening for the sunset, there was an old couple picking figs off a tree, then they sat down to view the sunset eenjoying their big bag of figs. Happy little moments!
I have decided to stay another night. This time I walked to town and the other side, across the
disused rail line and up towards the mountain and view the peak of Pinajerro.
The next morning I decided to continue South, I stopped at the city of Plasencia and went to the supermarket for water and washing powder. When I went to pay, I had not realised I had pushed in at the checkout, I turned around and could then see the queue, where the people had a number and were waiting to be called! But the checkout girl kindly said " no pasa nada"
I then continued South to Caceres and found free parking for camper van's and less than 15-minute walk from there to the old part of town. That is a must to visit and walk around. The campervan area allows for picknicks, disposable of dirty water and there is fresh drinking water.
Merida. Pop: 52,000 Temp: Hot
The next morning continued to South to Merida stopping at Alcvescar, a small village, where I could buy some supplies and continued South, found a beauty spot about 1/2 North of Merida and stopped for a rest and a drink, as the temperature is now over 35 deg.
Finally arrived at my friends in Merida at lunch time, I met with her and her daughter. They had a swimming pool to cool off in. Her husband arrived and prepared lunch. We chatted - It's nice to spend some quality time with a lovely Spanish family.
Salmorejo is a purée consisting of tomato, onion, garluc, and bread.
Click on image to view more of Roman Merida
We then took a short tour of the city, but not till after 8 pm as it was too hot to go walking, even at 9:30 it was 34 deg. The old part of the city was once an important Roman city and many of the grand ruins are still on view. With the Puente Romano - Roman Bridge still in use as a walk way to the old city center. The bridge 792 Meters long with 60 arches is one of the longest Roman built bridges.
Acueducto Los Milagros - Now used by nesting storks, once supplied the city with water from a dam at lake Prosepina about 5 k's from the city.
Any new building work in the old Roman city, can not have any underground parking, as there could be Roman ruins.
After a walk around the city, where we stopped for a plate of Jamon and a beer, before heading back for a shower and dinner.
It's been a nice ending to travelling South, with many new surprises found on the way down, for tomorrow I travel to Alajar in the province of Huelva, Andalucia................
Extremadura has been a pleasure to drive though, as this area has fewer tourists and many hidden interesting places. Extremadura means Land of extremes -Very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. It has known the depths of poverty and the riches of the Americas. Many 16th-century conquistadors including Cortes sprang from this land. Many towns/cities are more well known in the Americas than in this area of Spain,
which many are named after. Merida in Mexico and many countries in the Americas have a town named after Guadalupe, the name is from Arabic meaning: "hidden river" but to the Latin American Catholics the Virgin of Guadalupe remains a strong key figure.
View MAP for all my camping & food stops in France & Spain