Extramadura continued.

 

It was only the day before that we had remarked  we had not seen any Robins, and had looked up our bird guide to see if they would be in Spain, the guide confirmed that they would. Suddenly laying on the grass we saw a dead Robin, it looked in perfect condition, and we wondered how long it had been there. Had it been frozen in the snow all winter, or had it been migrating north this spring and stopped for a rest after flying up the south side of the mountain range. Even in spring the night time temperature in the mountains goes well below freezing.

We really had to tear ourselves away from the mountains, and head back down. On reaching the car there were about ten Ibex actually in the car park looking for food. Then we saw them licking the tarmac road surface, why we are not really sure, did they like the taste, where they getting some sort of minerals off the surface, I guess we will never know.

As we drove back down the road we could see the cloud in the Puerto del Pico still hanging in the pass. We later drove back down through the cloud, to enter the dull cloudy weather to the south of the mountains, and it had apparently been like it all day.

 

Wednesday
The forecast was for rain to pass through after dinner today. We had done a lot of driving the last three days so decided to do a local walk, which starts at one of the churches in Candeleda and follows an old mountain track to a Roman bridge which crosses the river, then the track continues on to the Puerto Candeleda, on the top of the mountains.
The cloud from the previous day had cleared, the sun was shining and it was warm again, we started the steep climb out of Candeleda along a cemented lane, the views back down towards the Rosarita Reservoir were good. The lane became narrower and more interesting with Peony's growing wild and violets.

We then found the path had disappeared under a new, forest road carved into the woodland, which quite honestly spoilt the start of the walk, I can understand that access is required in case of fire, but the forest road could take two fire engines side by side. When you meet this road keep on the road uphill don't take the lane to the left as it only leads to a goat/sheep farm.
Continuing along the gravel road, keep a look out on the left hand side and you will begin to see the old path emerging from under the gravel, and then the old path veers off the gravel road to the left, this point is marked with a small cairn.
And so back onto the more interesting path.

We followed the path which was giving good views of the boulder strewn river below and passed a Fuente. The going was good and we happily strolled on wondering when we might catch a glimpse of the roman bridge.

The path was lined with Lavender flowers, and we then started to descend slowly down to the river, which was a good sign that we might be soon reaching the bridge.
Down by the river I walked out in to the middle of the river, balancing on the rocks, and looked upstream. Still no bridge. We continued on for about twenty minutes, and stopped for a while.
Lyn then said she had had enough walking and we should remind ourselves that we had been walking for about two hours, and we had to go back the same way.
Never one to give up easily, I said wait here and I will walk on for another ten minutes to see if I could see the bridge. After the ten minutes I again got out into the middle of the river, and still no bridge, so I reluctantly walked back to tell Lyn.
The walk back to Candeleda took us about one and a half hours, which included a short break trying to locate what we thought might be a nest with baby eagles in, as there was a lot of calling going on.


The farthest point we reached on the way to the bridge.

On returning back to the house we spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening, eating and drinking while sat outside in the sun, and being seranaded by Nightingale, Cuckoos, Orioles etc. We even had two Hoopoes fighting in the air as they passed over the house several times. Looking on the map of our walk I reckon we were about half an hour short of the bridge, so maybe we will try again on another holiday. We really enjoyed the rest, and the rain that was forecast never came.


Thursday
Out in the car again today looking for more birds and the general area around.
We drove out through the La Veras to Jaraiz then on to Mesillas, Majadas and Casatejada. We got lost in one of the villages, not sure which one, the road signs just ran out, and it took a good ten minutes to find a way back out.
On to Saucedilla and Almaraz, where on a dirt track we watched Red Kites fighting in the air. While I was taking pictures of poppies Lyn spotted a Pale Booted Eagle.


On to Valdecanas de Tajo, Mesa de Ibor, and stopped at the Roman Ruins at Embalse de Valdecanas, where we saw hundreds of swallows/martins nesting under the concrete bridge that passes over the Embalse, the birds must need ear plugs, as the traffic over the bridge makes a terrific noise from the concrete sections of road.
We drove on through Valdecasa de Tajo, El puente del Arzobispo and Oropesa, then crossed the main road to join the road to Candeleda, which is one of the most beautiful roads in the area, lined with Cistus in places, and with great views of the Gredos Mountains, which we were growing to love more and more each day we were near them.




We spent the rest of the day relaxing in the garden, and in the evening walked through the fields out the back of the house, where the goats/sheep were being bought back into the farm for the night, the musical tones of the bells on their necks, is something you will never forget.

Friday
We returned to the Plataforma today, an hour and a half each way. Not so many Ibex around, but a few more people walking into the mountains. Had a very enjoyable day, and returned back to the house at 3.30pm, unfortunately the last full day of our holiday, so we enjoyed our dinner outside again, and didn't come back in till nearly dark, by then the nightingale had just about given up singing, after a long day for him/ her as well.

Saturday
We left the house at 8.00 am to start the two and a quarter hour drive back to the airport. As we passed the Storks nests and views along the Candeleda -Oreposa road we felt very sad that we had to leave the Gredos mountains behind, but if all goes well, I am sure we will be back again.

Thank you Richard and Julia for letting us use your house for the week, it had everything we could possibly need, even an electric blanket on the bed !!!.