Spring 2003 in Central Spain
A grabshot of the San Gredo mountains from the access road to El Roblon, Sartajada, Spain.

We haven't been on any major holiday since Aisya was born. For 2003 we were adamant about going for a prolonged holiday with the kids and we decided on Spain. These pages before you tries to capture in the few selected images the places we visited and the sights we saw interspersed with a short ditty on the place. It was a definitely a good break for the entire family ... possibly a little dull for the kids.

The routeplan.

29th April Rolde => Leuwenhorst NH
30th April Leuwenhorst => Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: Sheraton
01st May Amsterdam Schiphol => Madrid Barajas Airport
01st May Madrid Barajas Airport => Sartajada: El Roblon
02nd -3rd May Sartajada: El Roblon
04th May Sartajada => Valencia de Alicantara
04th-17th May Valencia de Alicantara: Virgen de la Cabeza
13th May Trujillo: Parador de Trujillo
14th May Merida:Parador de Merida
15th May Valencia de Alicantara's "San Isidro"
16th May Alcantara
17th May Marvao, Portugal
18th May Caceras: Parador de Caceras
19th May Caceras => Monfrague
19-24th May Monfrague: Hospederia Parc de la Monfrague
20th May Plasencia
24th May Las Villafuercas
25th May Monfrague => Guadalupe
25-27th May Guadalupe: Parador de Guadalupe
28th May Guadalupe => Chinchon
28th May Chinchon: Parador de Chinchon under construction!
29th May Madrid Barajas => Amsterdam Sciphol => Rolde

Our original plan was to stick to a maximum of 2-3 major base accomodations with leisurely day sorties  if necessary. El Roblon (3 nights) was perfect introduction to Spain : gracious host, good food and scenic countryside and it's less than 2 hours from Madrid on the highway.

Virgen de la Cabeza (12 nights ) was rather secluded with high marks for tranquility but rather inconvenient due to the lengthy unsurfaced road and the seclusion! It was our first base, from there we made trips to Valencia de Alcantara, Caceras, Alacantara, Trujillo, Marvao and Merida. It was a good spot to get into the holiday mood. Quiet and far away from the maddening crowd but food was homecook meals by yours truly on the days that we stayed in. There are so many ways you can "create" paella!

Hospederia Parc de la Monfrague (7 nights) was a pricey alternative to another reservation which didn't pan out as expected ... but served great food and was excellent location wise to see the famed vultures and Parc de Monfrague in general. From here we made sorties to Plasencia and Las Villafuercas. Alternative arrangement for food nearby was not many and mostly limited by the odd times Spaniards eat.

Parador de Guadalupe was our last stop. It was probably on par with El Roblon with regards to charm and ambience, perfect for winding down before the trip home ... also with excellent menu. We mostly spent time in the city itself taking in it's usual daily routine, gawking at other tourists and trying out the many restaurants and their vesrion of paella. Guadalupe is special for being provincial and touristy (with a dose of Christian ardour) all at once.

Parador de Chinchon was our last hotel before the flight home. Our two waitresses served gourmet dinner right in our suite. Too bad we only managed one night there without actually having any time left to explore the city before the morning rush the next day to get to Barajas airport. The evening was quite and the food gorgeous!

Photographs were made using the following gear:

Leica R3, R7 on 35/2.0, 100/2.8 or 180/2.8 and/or a Sony TRV900.