Monthly Archives: April 2015

Friday Straws

Grab one!

Strawberries

 

Not quite on a par with cake, I realise… but too beautiful to ignore on this morning’s grocery shopping expedition ūüôā

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Three Countries in Five Days

After nearly three months of nothing but Toledo (except for the delightful little day trip to Cuenca) I was starting to go a bit stir crazy. The only thing that kept¬†sane was an upcoming trip, which my friend Noelia had organised: Three¬†nights at her friend’s place in Badajoz, Extremadura, just a handful of miles from the Portuguese border. From there, we would invade the neighbouring country¬†and stuff ourselves silly with all the glorious Portuguese food we could cram down our gullets.¬†Then, it was onwards, across the entire country and down to Andaluc√≠a for a couple of days, following a kind invitation from one of Noelia’s workmates, who had bequeathed us a lovely flat overlooking the beach.

All you all ready and comfortable? Let’s get started ūüôā

Badajoz has some lovely public gardens

Badajoz has some picturesque public gardens…

...and glorious views.

…and glorious views. The town itself has a very southern Spanish flair, although it’s not much more south than Toledo. The Portuguese influence is keenly felt in the architecture, the colours and on restaurant menus. Salt cod and custard tarts galore!

Moving on to Portugal…

√Čvora's party piece: A Roman temple from the 1st century

√Čvora’s party piece: A Roman temple from the 1st century

Roman Temple and moi

Hidden gems

Lots of crumbling gems to discover…

...as well as some modern art. Noelia (left), and our hosts Gracia (right) and Lua (centre).

…as well as some modern art.
Noelia (left), and our hosts Gracia (right) and Lua (centre).

One of √Čvora's stunning residents turning his back on me

One of √Čvora’s most glamorous residents turning his back on me

The Almendres Cromlech, a few miles from √Čvora. A megalithic complex erected 8,000 years ago, and pretty well preserved. We just made it in time for sundown.

The Almendres Cromlech, a few miles from √Čvora city. A megalithic complex erected 8,000 years ago, and pretty well preserved. We just made it in time for sundown.

We're in Elvas now, another historic town settled since the year dot. Just don't ask me what that thing in the middle is...

We’re in Elvas now, another historic town settled since the year dot.
Just don’t ask me what that thing in the middle is supposed to signify…

Like any Portuguese town worth its salt, Elvas has a castle...

Like any Portuguese town worth its salt, Elvas has a castle…

...impossibly steep, cobbled streets...

…impossibly steep, cobbled streets…

...and plenty of tiles. Everywhere.

…and plenty of tiles. Everywhere.

 

And, of course, FOOD! Here we are, waiting for ours. The desserts at that place were to die for.

And, of course, FOOD! Here we are, waiting for ours. The desserts at that place were to die for.

For one last look at Portugal, how about this cork oak? The souvenir shops are full of cork products. You can even send postcards made of cork.

For one last look at Portugal, how about this majestic cork oak? The souvenir shops are full of cork products. You can even send postcards made of cork.

Cádiz Province, Andalucía, here we come!

Andalucía billboard

BEACH BEACH BEACH

BEACH BEACH BEACH!!!

I was very taken with that umbrella ;.)

I was rather taken with that cheery parasol¬†ūüôā

Andalucia Castellar

Did I mention the beach...?

Did I mention the beach…?

Noelia and our generous host and indefatigable tour guide, Paco

Noelia with our generous host and indefatigable tour guide, Paco

A cute frog fountain in Tarifa

A cute frog fountain in Tarifa

Soto Grande Boat

 

Gibraltar... that was the third "country" on our trip. We spent the morning there, I made a beeline to M&S, bought as many packs of hot cross buns as I could carry and several boxes of walnut whip. None of which survives.

Gibraltar, the third “country” visited on our trip. We spent a morning there, during which I made a beeline to M&S, heaping as many packs of hot cross buns as I could carry into my basket, as well as several boxes of walnut whip. None of which survives.

Now there’s just one thing missing, one VERY IMPORTANT¬†thing:

Badajoz Cake