Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Once across Spain

 The white in his eyes and the fixed gaze focused on us, give an idea of what he is thinking. Don't take another step or you will get in trouble with me. No movement, not even a muscle twitch to chase away the many flies, goes through the bull. We can't get any further anyway, because a fence separates us from the pasture, but does the bull know that? A splendid specimen which is certainly used for breeding.

Bull in the region Extrema Duira, Spain

We are on our way from Sevilla to Càceres which is located in the Spanish region of Extrema Dura. You could also say in the "Wild West" of Spain, at least that's what it looks like here. Yellow-brown, sun burnt land, steppe with single oak trees under which the cattle find shade. Small canons of dried out rivers run through the country. If one does not drive straight through such a canyon, the road goes straight for several kilometers across the plain. There is no settlement for miles and miles, you may see a house from time to time. The fuel gauge has been showing reserve for half an hour and the co-driver is already getting restless again. In such situations I always turn up the volume of the radio to an almost unbearable level, because the naming of my person is not G-rated on the one hand, and on the other hand it scratches my self-confidence, so I don't want to go into this situation any further here. Finally we reach Càceres unharmed and with a full tank. 

Càceres UNESCO World Heritage, Spain

The city center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986 and that is why we are here. The cistern "Alijbe of Càceres" is the biggest cistern in the world. The city center is very well preserved and the city wall is partly walkable. After an extensive city walk, we stop in a bar and get into conversation with a Spanish man living in London. Time flew by and it was great fun to listen to him. The next day we continue our journey. We want to visit a friend who lives near Valladolid. The joy is great when we meet again after five years. We explore Valladolid with our friend Angeles and eat our way through the countless tapas bars. 

We in Valladolid

The day before our departure we visit a bodega and convince ourselves of the excellent wine that is grown here in the region. Our journey continues, we reach Toledo in the afternoon. We have arrived in the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha, or in the land of the clever Junker Don Quixote of La Mancha. Toledo is a great city with many sights, narrow streets and beautiful squares. However, in times of Covid-19 Toledo also leaves a sad impression. Many small stores in the city center are permanently closed, many restaurants are closed. There are only a few tourists who get lost here. The stores are courting every passer-by and try to win him as a customer. Many have not survived this difficult time financially and many more will follow. 

Toledo, Spain

Inevitably, Don Quixote comes to mind and I see Don Spahn sitting on his health system Rosinante and fighting together with his squire Sancho "Altmaier" Panza against the mills of the Covid-19 virus. May the story take a different course than in the knightly novel by Miguel de Cervantes. In fact, there are still some windmills in the surroundings of Toledo that can be visited.

Windmill in La Mancha, Spain

As far as the eye can see, almond and fruit trees, in the distance a chain of hills and there they are, two windmills that we really want to see. With a little effort we find the turnoff into the steeply ascending dirt road, ping, ping, ping, ping, the fuel gauge is doing it, oh dear, I start turning the radio up again. At the latest in Fuente el Fresno we put on our own knight's armor, sit on a rickety horse and ride through the barren country. In a bar we drink a beer, a glass of vino blanco and eat four tapas for 5€. The warmth and the joy of the people out here in the countryside have captured us.

Tapas in  a Bar, Spain

Happy and satisfied, we look back on the experience once again. We are glad to have made this trip despite this difficult time. We tackle the last kilometers to our boat to Cartagena and are back on our Katinka in the evening. There a lot of work awaits us in the next week, until we continue our journey towards Gibraltar. You can read about what's up next week in the next blog. Until then we wish, as always, fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.  

Marina Cartagena, Spain