Week 4 - Hells Bells! It’s cold here.

Monday 3rd November 2014.

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Flopped about for most of this morning but we thought we should do something so went to Chinchón for a look see. It is a fabulous little town with a quite unique main plaza that has in the past been used as a bull ring and surrounded by terraced dwellings now mainly used as restaurants. Walking around the plaza it contains, as one would expect in a popular tourist town a number of expensive “tat” shops, but if you look close there are also some little gems, like the dark little store that sold gardening tools, seeds etc. Sitting in the semi darkness at the back of the shop was a group of half a dozen wizened old men, some making baskets from some reed type material and some just sitting chatting. We wanted some of the local garlic, we were given a string of eight bulbs for just €1.50. The local garlic is “light pinky mother of pearl in colour and small in size but of the finest quality”.

Further round the plaza was a bakers selling local breads and cakes. We bought some traditional bread that was baked with a sugar topping and infused with anis (aniseed) - delicious!

Cinchon is famous for the production of anis and anis spirit.

We had decided on a fideuá for our dinner tonight and although we have the basics, its off to the supermacado for fresh prawns, fresh squid, fresh merluza (hake), fish stock, peppers and onion (turns out “the basics” was fideuá pasta and a drizzle of olive oil). The fideuá turned out to be a little wetter then we usually make it but the flavour was top notch. We both voted it the best so far.

Tuesday 4th November 2014.

It rained all night last night and to add insult to injury the site has no water this morning. In fact the entire town has no water this morning. The camp site staff are trying to contact the local water company to find out when it will be back on.

Done absolutely nothing but shopping today, after our huge meal last night we elected to have a light dinner - just some of the jamón ibérico de bellota we had bought a couple of days ago. Then we thought some nice cheese would go well and some local brawn would compliment it all and of course crusty bread - oh and the Manchego cheese we bought is traditionally served with dulce de membrillo (quince jelly) so we needed to find some of that. Fortunately it is quite common and we got some in a local  delicatessen. The Spanish, apparently, would accompany such a meal with manzanilla sherry, a type of fino sherry but we were unable to find it so settled for a lightly chilled tawny port. After so much faffing about it was just as well it was a fantastic meal - mind you it would have been far cheaper to have gone to a restaurant.

We have also spent a great deal of time today discussing our next move. The weather forecast for the next couple of weeks is a bit grim everywhere in Spain and we are supposed to be going north again, not far just a couple of hundred kilometres but far enough to make a weather difference. We are going to go a little south and east, for a few days and will then head into Portugal to a site we have been on before, Camping Alentejo where we will hunker down till the weather improves (or we get bored)

Wednesday 5th November 2014.

By jabbers it felt cold last night. Felt but probably wasn’t although the temperature is set to plummet. A week ago the daytime temperature here was around 28º C today it is 14º C and by the second half of November it is expected to almost halve again and with a few exceptions virtually every day between now and the end of the month is for cloud and rain - yes I know long range forecasts are notoriously inaccurate but do, I alway feel, tend to be optimistic.

As blue skies may be in short supply for a week or two Sue has done all the laundry today.

We had another iberian speciality for dinner tonight - rabbit casserole, the recipe is on the food page HERE.

Thursday 6th November 2014

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Today is Toledo visiting day. We were up early (believe that you will believe anything - editor) after breakfast and in bright sunshine off we went. It’s a 50km drive through pleasant countryside and on arrival we parked in the railway station car park as we had been told that the car parks in the old town were underground and too low for us with our top box. The walk up the hill gave great views but by half way up I feared I would have a heart attack and by the top thought I had. We climbed up steps going practically straight up, I don’t know how many steps there were as I couldn’t fight for breath and count at the same time. Eventually we reached the top and wandered the old town till we came across the tourist information centre and after getting a map and information of local attractions we were standing outside deciding where to go first when a Spanish chap said that a local craft workshop was open to the public till 1.30pm where you could watch the craftsmen making jewellery and other items. We found the place, at the third attempt, and entered into a small workshop with around ten benches at some of which sat the craftsman (including the chap who suggested the visit) working with very fine 22 and 24 carat gold wire, gold leaf and silver wire and leaf. They were decorating earrings, pendants and broaches with nothing but a small hammer and a variety of tiny punches. Some of the items were quite large and I asked one craftsman how long it would take to finish the plate he was working on to which he replied around eighteen days. The plate was about 20cm (8”) diameter.  From the workshop we visited the sales shop and found the goods to be relatively cheap - leastways thats what we told ourselves as we handed over our dosh.

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Toledo was a wonderful town although we saw little of it and intend to return, perhaps in the spring particularly as we have found out that there is an escalator system that takes you effortlessly from the railway station level to the old town level in six easy stages.

Went to the site restaurant for dinner tonight very good. For a report see the food page HERE.

Friday 7th November 2014.

It rained most of last night and this morning doesn't look as if it’s going to get any better so we sat around for most of the day reading although we did pop out to visit the nearby town of Ocaña which on Google appeared to have a very nice Plaza Mayor, sadly the plaza did not live up to its billing so we came almost straight back, we did however, each get a cream filled croissant with an apricot glaze to eat with our afternoon tea, it was quite delicious.

Saturday 8th November 2014.

We went back to Toledo today although we were offered two free return railway tickets to Madrid but somehow we cannot get excited about Madrid even though everyone we have met who has been has raved about the place. I expect we will go sometime but not today.

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Sue particularly wanted to see the two Toledo Synagogues as they have strong moorish influences as in early years moors, christians and jews co-existed happily in Toledo. The synagogues were indeed something to see, but sadly although taking photos was allowed using flash was not and in such a dark environment!!

Toledo has always been famous for its steel and many shops sell huge ranges of swords and knives. Lots look to be very poor “tourist” quality but we did see one shop where the quality was obviously top notch and went in for a look - they had some knives made in Toledo by the Damascus method. If the prices of the knives reflected the quality and not the gullibility of tourists they would be a joy to own and use.

Sunday 8th November 2014.

Moving day today. We had intended to go north and west to Salamanca but with such grotty weather forecasts we have gone 335 km (208 miles)  south and west to Cáceres in the hope that the next week or two may be better the further south we get. Well thats what we hope although in reality the grotty weather seems to covering virtually the whole of Spain and Portugal. The site we are on is different to any other we have been on in that every pitch has its own shower, toilet, basin, washing up sink, drinking water supply (not that we would ever drink tap water in Spain - Editor) and grey water drain. We should be very comfortable here.

Last updated Sunday 21st June 2015                                                                                © S W Ghost 2015