30th May. El Viaje

Way back at the end of last year Jo and I started to make plans for a holiday location for her forthcoming 40th (cough) birthday. I left the decision to her, after all it was her birthday. To my delight she chose a week in Extremadura staying in our favourite town of Trujillo.

So on the 30th May I bid farewell to the patch - to be honest after almost 3 months of consistently early mornings I was glad to see the back of it - and headed for the warmth of Spain.

An early morning flight would ensure that we'd be in our hotel just after lunch. After a combination of lost boarding passes and Jo's lack of basic physics  i.e. what constitutes a liquid in your hand luggage, that saw us become those twats that get their names called out just before the flight leaves. Despite this the flight went okay. The car hire cost us just £58 for eight days (plus £40 insurance) so I wasn't too upset at having to queue for over an hour to collect it. Leaving the airport at midday we were still on course to arrive by 2.30pm, still plenty of time for birding.

On the drive to Luton Airport Jo started that thing that all women do. The thing where they start going through a list of things that you might have forgotten. First on the list was "did you pack the guide book?" My response "er no!" This then fired up the part of my brain that remembers such things. "We've also forgotten the map and notebook" Note at this point the 'we'. Fortunately we had the sat nav and map of Spain loaded on the tablet pc. Yes the sat nav that got us f**king lost for over an hour and insisted on taking us into the centre of Madrid. After stopping to calm down, answer a work related text from a colleague (bastard!) and convince Jo* that we should look at the map on the tablet rather rely on the stupid cow inside the machine to direct us, we finally started to head in the right direction.

*that might not be exactly how it happened

Arriving in Trujillo just after 4pm I pulled out at a crossroads straight into the path of an oncoming van. By nothing short of lucky it stopped less than a foot from our car and after a few gesticulations from the occupants and words of encouragement from Jo I pulled myself together and made it safely to the hotel.
Despite Jo's insistence** that we should get straight out birding I suggested that we should call it a day, as far as driving was concerned, and stay within the safety of the hotel.

**a complete lie

On our previous trips here we've generally stayed in budget (though always pleasant) accommodation. On this trip we opted for the relative luxury of the Palacio de Santa Marta just off the main square. This proved to be an excellent choice a great hotel with stunning views over Trujillo and eye-level views of Lesser Kestrels, Pallid Swifts (probably about 20% of the swifts in the square), Crag Martins, plus Storks, Black Kite, Black Redstart, Serin and Blue Rock Thrush all from the balcony. After a dip in the pool, several cold beers and a great meal we turned in eager to greet the following morning.

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