After Caceres, we needed a break from old towns so we headed inland to the less developed parts of the Extramadura. It is a very large area and we only scratched the surface but, we enjoyed the change of scenery and the lack of civilisation. There was a campsite in the Nacional Geopark that looked appealing, so we turned up at Castenor de Ibor to spend a lonely night with lovely views of extensive olive groves. The campsite was newly opened and there were no other campers yet. We had a couple of hours sitting in the sun with our books, a stroll into the rather uninspiring village (no bars open!) and then a peaceful night. No barking dogs, just a creaky donkey and an enthusiastic cockerel to break the silence.
Driving on through various Sierras, we stopped for a coffee break by a large and scenic reservoir – Embalse de Valdecanas, on the EX118. We were surprised to discover columns from a Roman Temple that had been moved there to be preserved in 1931 when the reservoir was created. The Roman temple was called Los Mormoles. Known as La Cilla because it was last used as a granary. It was a grand sight and added something extra to the very attractive reservoir.
We were heading for another campsite that was supposedly nestling alongside an attractive river. When we got there, along a dirt track that followed a pretty stream, it was undergoing “works” so we decided not to stop and took to the road again. This time we managed to find some even more scenic roads through Sierra Gredos. The CC94 was especially narrow and twisty, and made more exciting by meeting a bus coming towards us on a bend! On this road we found a surprise at a convenient resting place. There was a group of stone figures standing on a platform overlooking the steep valley. The figures were all looking in different directions. The information board defeated us a bit, but it seemed to be something to do with freedom from dictatorship.
We did not find anywhere we fancied stopping for the night along the way, so we spent another lonely night on a barely open campsite near the village of Hervas.
We were still enjoying the countryside and reservoirs, of which there are many in this region, so we moved again in the direction of Toledo and had a couple of nights at Cazalegas. This was another campsite but this time overlooking a pretty reservoir where there were signs of life. We were still the only campers until another British couple arrived for a night on their way south from Santander. However, there was a very nice restaurant on site which attracted visitors from outside. We enjoyed a large glass of wine at the bar and watched the world go by. We had a nice couple of days relaxing here and enjoyed a walk along the shore and into the village.
The journey through this region was always interesting with plenty of olive groves and mountains to marvel at as we drove along. We only skimmed through and would find plenty to enjoy on another trip.