Casares de las Hurdes to Villamiel

Did I mention what an incredible spot it is where we are? I’d promised to cook the meal tonight, and whilst I’ve never prepared a meal with such remarkable views below me, I was too distracted to really get to appreciate our location fully, and only glimpsed the phenomenal sunset through the kitchen window.

I therefore decided to make up for this by getting up early to watch the sun rise the next morning. Despite my best efforts, I am absolutely not a morning person, but noting that sunrise was at 7.25, I reckoned I could probably manage that.

I was up and dressed in good time and watched the sun rise over the mountains. Amazing. Not having watched many sunrises in my time, I soon realised that I’d be putting my retinas at risk if I continued to gaze at this spectacle, and then caught on that I should now be facing the mountains behind me that were gradually being illuminated. So very lovely, and peaceful (I was outside by the way 😉).

After coffee and chocolate biscuits for breakfast, I then took on the mundane job of backing up Sophie’s gazillion photos on this trip to date. Why does Apple make it so hard to get well organised photos in their daily numbered folders on an iPhone onto a MacBook? Airdropping, or transfer by cable both work OK, even if a bit fiddly at times, but I’ve yet to find a way whereby my folder structure is transferred. I then finish that job by backing-up the MacBook to an external drive.

So as Sophie makes fresh rolls, I’m sat outside in the very warm sun, planning today’s route, and any service stops along the way.

The first part of the journey was a long wind down a big mountain right to the bottom of the valley. Before we left our vantage point, we’d noticed some smoke starting to rise from the forest just across on another slope. I explained it away to a concerned Sophie that it was likely a controlled fire by one of the locals. We had to drive quite close to the seat of the fire, and then seeing the local police car arriving, then the helicopter with a large water bucket, followed by a steady stream of yellow fire trucks and other official looking vehicles, made us realise that this actually was not an intended fire at all. Hopefully they’ll have it under control by now.

Whilst the valley is spectacular from above, and on the way down, these Philistines soon tired of the scenery, and were pleased to divert to a different route. Whilst there are sufficient motorhome facilities in these parts, they do require a little planning so as to include them in one’s route, and hence this little diversion to tip out and top up. Some parking was also provided, but whilst pleasant, we thought we could find somewhere to better meet our more exacting requirements.

Next stop was by a natural swimming pool next to a river, but the presence of a bar, although seemingly not running, and knowing it was a Friday night, always a more risky time noise-wise, it was back to the drawing board. The phone signal was a bit flakey there, another negative actually, and so research was tricky given that I like to see any place I’m going to drive us to.

Anyway, I plumped for a place about 20 minutes away that sounded ideal and involved a beautiful small village and a castle. On approaching we could see that it would be a fair old drive up a mountainside, despite it looking lovely, and so another alternative was sought.

By this time, the early evening sun was at its very best and the landscape, dominated by trees and large boulders, was looking spectacular. A quick check on Park4night showed us our ideal spot, just five minutes on. A large picnic area, well set off from the road, with great views across to mountains and small hilltop villages. Brilliant.

The temperatures have definitely risen since we came South of the mountains we’d been travelling along for the last week. Today could definitely have been sitting outside weather, the first of our trip so far, but technically you’re not supposed to in Spain & Portugal 😉.

So tonight we find ourselves unexpectedly 20 minutes from the Portuguese border, but we will be saving the pleasure of crossing that for later on in our trip, and will be heading back to continue our tour of Extremadura tomorrow.

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