a wandering woman writes

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Cáceres and Trujillo


Cáceres

A few photos of Cáceres and Trujillo, in Extremadura. The bus trip reminded of the drive through western Nebraska on a secondary road north of the interstate when I moved from LA to Chicago. Lots of arid nothingness.... and then a little town. More arid nothingness and then....You get the idea. And people - open, salt of the earth, happy-to-talk-up-a-stranger people, from entrepreneurial (and seemingly octagenerian) nuns selling overpriced souvenir photo books and underpriced homemade sweets - while giving 1 euro tours of their 13th century palace to anyone bold enough to pull the mysterious cord attached to the tiny "pull this cord" note in the palace's patio - to the Plaza Mayor waiter thrilled to spend his busy Saturday night doting on a woman eating alone, and challenging himself to make each plato he picks out for her better than the plato before (and he succeeded!)

Both towns have amazingly preserved medieval quarters, with intact city walls and perfectly conserved renaissance palace neighborhoods. Both are filled with relics of the conquerors who passed through here - Romans, Visigoths and centuries and centuries of Moors, all before the Catholic nobles of Leon finally reconquered the city (for the last time) in the 13th century and Queen Isabel, who has always been on my list of women with whom I'd like to have a cup of coffee, showed up with more palace-building Castillians. But I also wandered through the houses of the conquerors who set off from here - the Extremaduran conquistadores who conquered Mexico, discovered the Pacific, the Mississippi and the Amazon, and, led by Franscisco Pizarro, an illegimate Trujillo boy made good, toppled the Inca Empire. And the palaces of 2 expats - princesses who married the Spaniards who had killed their fathers and followed them here to Extremadura. I'm never sure how much of my wide-eyed awe at Spain's history is about being American - and growing up thrilled to see an "ancient" 17th century building - but it's always wide-eyed awe, and I always pick up larger-than-life, heartbreaking legends on the local Spanish walking tours.


View of Trujillo's old quarter from the castle


Watching the tourist horsecart pass, Trujillo



Sharpening knives in Trujillo's Plaza Mayor


Plaza Mayor, Trujillo

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2 Comments:

  • My wife and I visited Trujillo in August of 2003. I loved the old city and the waiter in the Plaza Major was very helpful. My wife was born in Madrid but had never been in this part of Spain. By the way I now know where the expression "only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun" comes from. July, August is not the time to visit Trujillo

    By Anonymous Robert, at 8:17 PM  

  • Jejeje, I'm with you on the heat, but August was when I had the time. I don't mind it so much anymore, really. Think I've learned to walk in the shade, take a little nap, stop lots para tomar algo...And there's something about the climate change when you walk from the the street into some old stone palace - Like July to December, that I just love.

    It is such a lovely place. Of all my stops, Trujillo has really stayed with me. I'd love to get back this year.

    Thanks for the visit and the comment, Robert.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 9:22 AM  

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