Cáceres – one of the gems of Extremadura

Cáceres ExtremaduraI’m sitting here wrapped in a warm blanket, wondering what I should post next. I’ve accumulated a lot of material over the past months and there is a long list of great places which are waiting for their chance to be shown on my blog. What is hopefully the last bout of winter weather steers my thoughts to warm places, and this time it’s not Andalucía which springs to mind, but the somewhat warmer Extremadura – one of the hotter destinations I’ve been to in Spain.  I imagine that most of you will be hearing about this place for the first time, and so in a nutshell its – 40 degree heat in the shade, charming Spanish towns and lots of nature. This is what you can expect in Extremadura and to get the ball rolling, today you’re going to see Cáceres.

If in the middle of the Spanish summer, you happen to mention in casual conversation that you’re in fact planning to go to Extremadura, you’ll more than likely be met by a gaze which looks at you suspiciously as if asking “what are you on?” Even locals seem confused by the tourists choosing to visit at this time of year. The aforementioned 40 degree heat with no beach or sea within easy reach make natural pools in the nearby mountains the only source of respite for the citizens of the town and their guests. Anyhow, I guess I have to admit that we tend to travel to places in their respective low-season’s and the truth is that we never regret it. Blazing heat or rain are of no consequence and never seem to ruin our trips. You can fall in love with Cáceres even in with the trickiest weather conditions. Yes, it made a really good impression on me, as it seems different to the other Spanish towns I have visited and let’s agree, that over the past years there have been quite a few. Cáceres was particularly enjoyable after sunset, as once the temperature begins to drop to more endurable levels, the town wakes and the atmosphere is amazing! Wandering within the walls of the old town, you find yourself as if in a different era, or even a different world. There’s a wonderful ambiance from centuries past, with narrow streets, town palaces and churches which must certainly hide many legends and stories. You certainly don’t need to stretch your imagination too much to feel something special.

In my opinion, Cáceres should certainly be high up on the list of places that you have to visit in Spain. High season here is Easter Week, where traditional Spanish traditions are celebrated in their full splendor. There is only one thing which slightly dampens the delight I feel regarding Cáceres and it stems from the fact that this particular region of Spain is closely tied to the history of Mexico – one of the countries I truly love. Many conquistadors hailed from Extremadura, and the past is a difficult one in this regard. When I arrived in Cáceres, I felt, in part, as if I were in Mexico – just a little. It’s difficult not to think that the wealth and splendor you see around you, not only in Cáceres, but in other parts of Spain, is in some part built upon the suffering of South and Central America. History is not always bright and glorious, and in this case, Spain’s history does have its darker periods, as is true of other countries.

If you can, make sure to put Cáceres on the list of places that you intend to see in Spain and in doing so, don’t forget about Trujillo & Merida, which I’ll show you in the near future.

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