It comes from El Corral del Rey in Trujillo
I’ve always been mesmerized by medieval villages and architecture because it’s hard for me to believe that these places have been around for centuries upon centuries, but are still in such a condition that you can almost imagine being alive during that time. To walk along the same paths as the kings and the queens, as well as famous explorers and conquistadors, is an experience not many of us will ever forget – climbing to the top of medieval castle and looking down on the village, and watching the people walk around in the Plaza Mayor. And this is exactly what I have taken from my day in Trujillo.
After a lovely and memorable morning with Wine Bus tasting some of Spain’s most luxurious wines and feasting at a typical restaurant of Extremadura, we were anxious to start our tour of the city. For many of us, it was our first time in Trujillo, but most of us had heard about its fascinating and rich history – once a fortress of the Moors, only to be reclaimed by the Christian kings, and later gave birth to Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Incan Empire. Although many centuries have passed since these historical times and events, the city remains seemingly untouched by the 21st century.
We started our tour with the oldest church in Trujillo, La Iglesia de Santiago, which was founded in the 13th century by the Knights of Santiago. After letting the age and the history of the place sink in and, of course, taking a quick climb to the bell tower, we were on our way to the next, equally-known church – La Iglesia de Santa María La Mayor. This church was also built in the 13th century, but is almost twice the size that of La Iglesia de Santiago, and also holds the tombs of two important families in Trujillo during the 15th and 16th centuries. After 106 incredibly difficult and possibly dangerous stairs, we reached the top of the bell tower to be greeted with the most incredible, most expansive panoramic views of Trujillo and Cáceres – well worth every calorie burnt during the climb. From this lookout, you could see the medieval city beneath you and the rolling, green hills until you could see no further – the sheep grazing in their pastures, the recent bloom of wild flowers, and the dull-grey sky (as it had finally stopped raining).
However, we didn’t stop there, even though I could’ve easily spent the rest of the afternoon gazing upon the city. We continued on our tour, and after being greeted by a nun from inside the closest convent, we found ourselves beneath the city in the “aljibe árabe” (Arabic cistern) from the 10th century. This now seemingly-miniscule water supply used to supply water to the entire Islamic community when the Moors had control over this town. Then, after a quick walk-through of the Pizarro house and museum, we found ourselves at the end of the tour – the Alcazaba. The Alcazaba dates back to the 10th century when it was a Moorish fortress, which was later converted into a castle when the Christian kings regained power over the land of Trujillo, and now remains as a token from the past. Although now it’s not much more than stone walls, each one of us became completely immersed wandering around the top of the walls, taking in the views.
Before we knew it, we were already 10 minutes late to the bus, and that’s when we heard it – a triumphant melody coming from the town below. As we came down the hill, we saw that a marching band, completely suited and in formation, was marching around the Plaza Mayor for, what it seemed like, a dress rehearsal for Semana Santa. Of course things like this don’t happen every day, so despite our rush to make it back to the bus, all we could do was stand there, listen, and enjoy – the triumphant beat matching our contentment of an afternoon well spent in Trujillo.
This experience is something I will not forget easily – the people (Ignacio, along with all of the others who accompanied the trip, as well as the locals), the food, the places, and of course, the wine. Never have I been able to do so much, and have such an enjoyable time, with people I had only met a few hours prior. I’m looking forward to my next adventure with Wine Bus.
Written by Sarah Ernst