guadalupe, spain

Guadalupe was our last stop on our long-weekend road trip through Extremadura this past May.  It's a tiny little town of about 2,000 people, and if I'm not mistaken, the primary reason it gets visitors is because of its UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Real Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, or Royal Monastery of Santa María of Guadalupe.  The only way to visit the 14th-century monastery is by taking a guided tour (available in Spanish only)...something we weren't necessarily stoked about doing, but we were willing to put our Spanish to the test in order to get farther than the lobby.

The Mudéjar cloister of the monastery is green and calm, made particularly interesting because of the Moorish influence intertwined with the classic, Catholic style of the time, and for sure my favorite part of the visit.  To be honest, we didn't glean much from the guided tour, but that's really no one's fault but ours.  

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After visiting the monastery, we wandered down a few quiet streets - not hard to find in Guadalupe, but nonetheless, we were charmed by the traditional homes, spotless plaza complete with a flowing fountain, and stones beneath our feet.  

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And with that, we began our trek back to Madrid.  As we started heading for the hills we turned around to find stellar views of Guadalupe and the valley below.  The three hour drive back home was mostly lush and lovely, at least until we got closer to the city.  Extremadura is such an overlooked part Spain, and I can't recommend a long weekend spent in the area enough.  Coming right on the heels of our lengthy road trip around France, this trip was slower paced and quieter as we intentionally tried to slow down a bit as we visited peaceful towns and drove through verdant countryside.  

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See the rest of our long weekend trip - our first stop at the palace of La Granja, our day in Salamanca, and then our drive through the Jerte Valley and afternoon and evening in Plasencia.  On our third full day, we visited Monfragüe National Park and Cáceres before finishing up in Mérida.  Finally, we checked out Trujillo and then Guadalupe before heading back to Madrid.