23. Sep, 2021

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THURSDAY 23-09-21

We had a disturbed night last night. First the floodlights came on for the sports pitches front and back of us. It was like parking against the walls of a prison. These lights then attracted the teenage Spanish moths who were quite noisy until quite late. Then at 01:00 the thunderstorms started. The rain came down so hard that it couldn't get off our roof quick enough. We could hear rain landing in puddles right above our heads.

By morning the storms seemed to have moved on and we enjoyed the bonus of a lovely hot shower as we had the dump station close by with a fresh water tap and so we didn't have to worry about how much water we used.

Once scrubbed up and fed we made our way in to the town.

So a bit about Caseres:

The city was founded by the Romans in 25 BC. Visitors can see remains from medieval times, the Roman occupation, Moorish occupation and the Golden age of the Jewish culture in Spain.

Cáceres has four main areas to be explored: the historical quarter, the Jewish quarter, the modern centre, and the outskirts.

Its Old town, Ciudad Monumental, has a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, with cobbled medieval streets, fortified houses and palaces. Encircled by 12th-century Moorish walls, it also has around 30 towers, some occupied by nesting storks.

Cáceres was declared a World heritage City by UNESCO in 1986 because of the city's blend of Roman, Moorish, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. Thirty towers from the Islamic period still stand in Cáceres, of which the Torre del Bujaco is the most famous.

Having read up on it we were expecting something a bit special. How disappointed we were. Clearly the storks which get mentioned in guide books also got fed up with the place and left. There was no evidence of storks or their large nests anywhere on the towers etc. Not only that, but the wall that is supposed to surround  the town is almost non-existent. Only small parts of it remain. I think the other visitors, who like us were not on guided tours, were also wandering round trying to discover what the place had to offer.

Next it was a thunderstorm, so that was it. We decided we'd had enough and as soon as the rain left off we would go 'home', have lunch and head out of town. Fortunately The Chef was able to buy a fresh baguette from a small shop we passed.

Whilst Rosina made lunch I topped up the fresh water tank using my watering can, emptied the loo cassette and dumped the grey water using a collapsible bucket. This would avoid us having to go on to the dump station after lunch.

Originally we were going to move to the local campsite for a couple of nights but with all the rain, and more forecast, it seemed pointless to sit in mud wishing we  were somewhere else.

We got away at about 12:30, though not before 'She' in the Satnav had attempted to send us through those crazy narrow cobbled streets of the old town to get out. It was quite a game doing a three point turn to correct matters. Next stop Merida.

The journey was only an hour or so away on the motorway. I said to The Chef that I hoped that we would get a parking space, as if not we didn't have a plan 'B'.

Travelling through Merida was a bit of a nightmare. In the end I just stayed in the outside lane as the nearside had so many drivers double parked in it. Nobody gives a damn about the chaos it causes. You can be following a car in the nearside lane and the next thing it sticks its hazard warning lights on and just parks in front of you. So now you're stationery and needing to change lanes, if other motorists will let you, though to be fair I have found most drivers here very forgiving.

We had one further delay in town whilst waiting in a queue of cars at a 'T' Junction up a sloping road. For some reason the traffic just wasn't moving. In the end a few of us got out to see what the problem was. It was a woman driver at the front of the queue whose car just wouldn't start. A few of us got behind it and pushed it round the corner out of the way. It was hard work I can tell you with it being uphill, plus the driver I swear thought we were going to push her the whole way home as she didn't seem to want to pull over to the side of the road.

As I walked back to the vehicle the big brave armpits were still giving it some on their horns, so I just gave them all the bird and climbed back in to the cab. We were soon away and within about ten minutes we arrived at the Camperstop here in Merida (GPS: N38.919050° W6.336056°). We took a ticket at the barrier, so I guess they work out your charge as you leave. The Camperstop book also says that there is the option to also have electricity at three euro's a night, though I hadn't seen any hook-up points. Having parked up I told The Chef I was going for a walk to check the place out, only to return within minutes as I had found the hook-ups at the end of our line, and a space had just become vacant close to them. We were soon re-parked and I had the cable rolled out and plugged in. All we need now is for the weather to improve.

Back in Salamanca we visited the fresh food market and were amazed to see cows snouts for sale. I kid you not. They were in pride of place alongside tripe, pigs trotters and pigs ears. These Spaniards waste nothing, although back home we are probably eating the same thing except that it's minced up and called 'Mince' or 'Sausages'. Anyhow, at the local Lidl supermarket we bought a rack of pork ribs thinking we'd go to a campsite within days and enjoy a barbecue. And here we are days later still waiting for one. So as we're hooked-up here, tonight we're going to have a go at cooking them in our little Lakeland electric oven and maybe have some wedges with them.

In the news we seem to have seriously peed off the French by doing a deal with America and Australia to help the Aussies build nuclear submarines to help to counter the growing threat from China in the South China Sea. They had a contract with the French to build a number of diesel electric subs but the production and delivery of those boats was clearly causing the Aussies some concern. The French engineering unions are particularly annoyed as they may well lose jobs over it, and without jobs they can't go on strike.

It looks as if we've hit problems producing the gasses needed for food production, and then there's the growing problem with the distribution of food due to the shortage of HGV drivers. It seems that many of these drivers were East European and beggered off back home after Brexit which they were perfectly entitled to do.Though of course the haulage industry and government played their part. It's time we started to train our own HGV drivers on swifter, slicker training course and having done so, pay them more and give them better facilities like toilets, showers and rest areas en route and at their final destinations.

Then we have the huge rise in wholesale gas prices. Hardly surprising since the government was warned a few years ago that the UK's gas storage tank capacity was woefully inadequate for our needs and needed to be expanded  (the tanks I believe are somewhere up north). What did they do instead with the money? Build HS2, a high speed train which will overrun by tens of billions of pounds by the time it's finished, having destroyed the countryside along the way, just so that a few people can arrive in Birmingham twenty minutes before they currently do.

Tomorrow we walk in to Meriva for a good look around before heading south to the coast on Saturday.