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Friday 29 March 2024

Spain Trip Oct 2023 - Part 3 Los Barruecos and Trujillo, Extremadura

The interesting granite rock formations and lakes near Caceres were designated a Natural Monument in 1996. The landscape is somewhat surreal, with rounded boulders everywhere, just in this one spot in the middle of the plains. The lakes (actually several but you can't see them all at once due to the rocks) are man-made, dating from the 15th century and were used for agriculture and wool washing. A battle scene in Game of Thrones was filmed here for Season 7.


Walking around the lake looked like a fairly short walk, however, the paths don't go all the way around the outside directly (and we didn't know there were several lakes either!) and so we were walking here there and everywhere, taking about 90 minutes eventually, and it was hot, and we didn't have anything to drink. At one point we thought we could take a short cut, only to come across a boggy stream made wider and muddier by the cattle so had to retrace our steps. All the while I was being moaned at by K because it was my idea to take a 'short' walk around the lake!


I saw my one and only lifer butterfly of the trip here in the short grass beside the lake, and I only noticed it because it was flitting about. It's the absolutely tiny African Grass Blue (Zizeeria knysna) with a wing span of just 18-23mm for males and slightly larger for females. This butterfly is found in Africa, the Iberian peninsular and Cyprus.






In the afternoon we drove across the steppe area from Caceres to Trujillo, which was a bit of an eye-opener. These fields were so arid and yet there were cattle in them, and even more surprising was the amount of bird life! We were able to stooge around slowly and spotted many Wheatears and Stonechats, plus Crested Larks and other little brown jobs. However we failed to see any Great Bustards or either of the two species of Sandgrouse that are to be found in this area.


It gets worse! If you open up the photo, you can just see cattle in the middle of the picture.


We then visited Trujillo, which is a town whose fortunes were made by the conquistadors who returned from Peru, having defeated the Incas. The most famous, and the person in the large statue was Francisco Pizarro, who was born here. The town's castle was used in Game of Thrones as the ancestral home of the Lannisters, in Season 7.

The main square at Trujillo.


Statue of Francisco Pizarro, 1478 - 1541. There is an identical statue in Lima, Peru.


Palace of the Conquest: many mansions were built by the returning conquistadors with their New World riches.




The castle, which has 9th century Moorish origins. It was purely a defensive castle with no residential rooms. Taken from the info board: "The importance of the Trujillo castle lies not only in being an important medieval defensive bastion, but also because of the important events that took place in it. In the time of Pedro I it was chosen so that the king's treasurer, the Jew Samuel Levi, would guard the wealth of the Crown, because it was considered one of the safest fortresses in the kingdom."


Looking down from the castle area.


White storks are fairly common around these areas and these are their nests, built up on metal platforms. They do seem to have a thing about church roofs!


Next post - back to the Romans again. There's no escaping them!

8 comments:

  1. The rock formations are amazing - sorry the lake walk turned out to be so long Well done on the butterfly "lifer". There is a lot of history in the town that you visited. You certainly see some super places Mandy. Have a good Easter.

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    1. Thanks very much Caroline. I wish there was more time (and money!) to travel more, as there's just so much to discover! Happy Easter to you too. xx

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  2. Congrats on your lifer! So exciting. I'm envious as I still have none in my gardens :-( I thoroughly enjoyed your trip summary, as always. So much history on your adventures! (Marianne in AZ)

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    1. Thanks so much Marianne! I haven't seen many butterflies in my garden actually, though there are some flying around across the road over the wild area on the slope. I did see quite a few recently on a lovely walk that I will post about soon. :-)

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  3. Fabulous as usual Mandy x

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  4. Knysna blue - didn't expect to see that here!

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    1. I didn't expect you to have it! I wrote Africa above, not thinking its range would be as far south as you! Quite often the Spanish butterflies are also found in North Africa so I guess that's what I was imagining. Nice to share something other than some migratory birds. :-)

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