Perhaps the part of our long weekend road trip from Madrid into Extremadura that I was looking forward to the most was our drive through the Jerte Valley. We left Salamanca on Sunday morning and drove a little over an hour until we reached the Puerto de Tornavacas, which has a good view over the whole valley...sadly, I cannot confirm or deny that as our visit happened on a day that was foggy, rainy, and cloudy...at certain points we could hardly see beyond the first row of trees or the railing beside the road. It was a shame, for sure, but at least we weren't visiting earlier in the spring when the trees are blooming with cherry blossoms - then we really would've felt like we were missing out!
We veered a bit off of the route to visit the Monasterio de San Jerónimo de Yuste, a six hundred year old monastery that really seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but is really a gem. The grounds are green and lush, which is no surprise considering the weather we had been experiencing and how beautiful the surrounding area seemed - it really fit right in. We were able to tour the apartments of Charles V who lived at the monastery for a while, but for us the main attraction was the cloister and the gardens. As we finished and made our way to the car, we poked our head in the adjoining church, where a service had just let out.
The monastery is about 45 minutes from Plasencia, our stopping place for the night. We checked into our Airbnb, explored the town, had dinner, and decided that perhaps the rain wasn't going to return...so we drove back through the Jerte Valley. We went back and forth a few times (should we? shouldn't we? the extra gas! the environment!) before taking the plunge but we ended up being really glad we did. It took less than an hour to drive through the main part of the valley to the viewpoint, and on the way up we stopped for dessert featuring Jerte's famous cherries (delicious, but as usual, we felt we should've split one piece instead of each getting one). The valley is peaceful, gorgeous, and in my opinion, kind of undiscovered in the sense that it is pretty un-touristy (if it's popular with anyone, it's with Spaniards, but we hardly saw anyone throughout our entire time visiting Extremadura that seemed like a tourist).