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After we had loaded the trunks of the respective cars, fed the Google Maps Navigation with the data of our destination, we left the parking garage.

Paying close attention to the ruthless traffic in Madrid on an early afternoon, trying not to miss exits in the many round-abouts that were introduced in a wide spread in Spain a couple of years ago replacing traffic lights.

Synch-ing our speed with the rest of the commuters on the highway, becoming part of the swarm (or the collective if you were a Trekkie), we were headed west to the city of Oropesa on the M-5.

The experts among you know that we cross through three so-called Spanish “autonomous communities”:

Name

Rank in

Land Area

Capital

Cities visited

Castilla-La Mancha

3

Toledo

Oropesa

Extremadura

5

Mérida

Cáceres

Andalucía

2

Seville

Carmona / Rota /
Carmona / Cádiz/
Seville/ Córdoba

Reaching Oropesa is a straight-forward exercise once you have left Madrid.

Duration: 1:30

During our trip we descend from 667 meters (Madrid) to 430 meters above sea level to Oropesa, situated in a vast plain surrounded by the “Sierra de Gredos” (some of the mountain tops were still covered with snow).

Approaching on A5 the first thing you notice is the Parador de Oropesa, on a hill offering a 360degree view over the plain – helpful for those who had resided in the former castle many centuries ago. I suppose you wanted to know well ahead who was paying you a visit back then – was it friend or foe?

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The Parador is impressive – the city of Oropesa is not – however cosy and a nice lead-in to our jouney.

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Attached to the Parador there is the actual castle which can be visited for an entrance fee of EUR 3 – worth each Euro-Cent as the castle itself hosts an interesting collection of artifacts from the times the nobles of Toledo lived in Oropesa. Not to forget the great view over Oropesa and the land around the city.

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We had room number 501 with a spendid view over the plain and the “Sierra de Gredos”.

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All the halls and hall ways were formidable and invited to just sit down and to relax. Travelling from Parador to Parador does require the mind set of “Travel, arrive, travel, arrive”. After we had brought our suitcases to our rooms and freshened up, the exploration of the Parador began.

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Some of the Paradores also offer Spa and Wellness services – in many cases there is a swimming pool – that is also the case in the “Parador de Oropesa”

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After the “inspection” of our residence for the night, we turned to the exploration of the city of Oropesa. It was still in “siesta mode” as we four foreigners strolled through the narrow streets looking for a place to have a “Caña” (small beer), mineral water and a “café solo” (Espresso).

Even though the gastronomical quality in the restaurants of the Paradores has increased over the past years, we seldom dine in one of them as they tend to be pricey and we prefer to find a place to eat with a more local “flair” to it. We usually select restaurants or tapas bars in decent distance from the Parador to avoid to be taken advantage for being Parador guests.

In Oropesa there are three noteworthy places to eat all in close distance from the Parador. Two actually being situated across the street from each other.

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We selected: “Meson Carlos” where we had some drinks and did some “reconnoissance”, checking out the competition on the other side of the street, having a look at the menue.

As the evening card featured “Carriadas de Buey” (ox cheeks) it was clear that we would come back in a couple of hours. We told the owner that we’d be back at 9:00pm – she asked whether we would like to sit indoors or outdoors, we told her, the latter.

At 9:00pm we showed up – the table was already set, so we sat down and waited for the menue.

The service was fast and eye-candy, which this time could not lure me into ordering anything more expensive or a desert even.

We agreed on a bottle of red wine from the Extremadura (14.5 vol. %!!!) and ordered sparkling water (a mandatory ingredient for every dinner).

Starters:

  • Platter of Manchego Cheese to share – one of the best Manchegos we had ever eaten

Main Dishes:

  • Carrillada de cerdo al Pedro Ximénez
  • Lubina a la espalda con verduras
  • Ensaladilla de Aguacates
  • Pimientos Jabalin

Check for the evening: EUR 94

  • Food – 3.5 of 5 stars
  • Beverages – 4 of 5 stars
  • Location – 3 of 5 stars
  • Service – 4 of 5 stars

On our “Tour d’Oropesa”, we had bought another bottle of (red) wine, which we had put in the mini-bar to chill. When we arrived back at the Parador, we organized four wine glasses and sat down on one of the spacious balconies with a direct view on the now illuminated castle. Quite a nice setting to end the day with a night cup.