Peter's and Eshaia's RTW trip (Part 1) - Spain and Portugal

From Cairo we flew to Barcelona and then Madrid, Spain's capital. The contrast was quite significant - Spain was a lot more "civilized" compared to Egypt, but it was quite expensive and the people weren't as friendly. We didn't get much sleep on the red-eye flight but no matter, upon arrival we hit the highway right away.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
From Madrid we headed north. One of the cool things about Spain (and many other parts of Europe) is that you bump into fascinating things all the time just driving down the highway.

click for larger picture

The first major stop was the town of Segovia, which has a really cool Roman aqueduct (built in the 1st century AD) running through the center of town.

click for larger picture

Of course, one of us just had to climb on top of the aqueduct to get a view of the channel through which the water used to run.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
The Alcazar on the edge of town was started in the 11th century; it offers nice views of the valley bellow.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
Inside the Alcazar there are many rooms filled with armor and other fascinating things from the middle ages.

click for larger picture

The Alcazar was the pre-eminent European center for artillery science for several centruies and there are many wonderful examples of cannon and other artifacts, including an extensive archive of the history of the artillery school.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
The view from the roof of the Alcazar is quite breath-taking.

click for larger picture

Next stop - the town of Avilla. It was now time to look for a place to spend the night and we found an available room within the old city walls, in what used to be a 15th century palace, right next to the cathedral. The hotel is the building on the right in the second picture below.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
The best way to start a morning is with a cup of great espresso, which we did the next day in the main square of the town of Salamanca.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
The border between Spain and Portugal is easy to miss but the change in language and culture sure was quite significant - prices are much lower in Portugal and the people seem a lot friendlier.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
The recent fires really left their mark on the countryside, almost everywhere we went was saw swaths charred by the worst fires in living memory.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
Many smaller towns aren't really set up to handle tourism, we wanted to spend the night in the little Portuguese town of Portalegre and it took several hours to discover one of a grand total of two hotels in town. The narrow winding streets and the hospitality of the locals made up for any hardships, though.

click for larger picture

Next day we headed back into Spain and we encountered some interesting traffic on the road.

click for larger picture

We stopped for lunch in Trujillo, the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro (the conqueror of Peru). The food in Spain and Portugal was invariably wonderful, needless to say.

click for larger picture

The last stop before returning to Madrid was the town of Toledo, and what a wonderful surprise it was - the old town is built on a granite hill surrounded by a deep a gorge of the river Tagus.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
There are countless tiny winding streets, ancient buildings, churches, and of course the main cathedral is quite a sight to behold.
click for larger picture click for larger picture
We'll definitely be back - we need to spend more time in Toledo and other sights in Spain, but most of all we look forward to visiting Portugal again.


Next - Denmark

Back to the RTW page