Monday, April 15, 2013


Atrio Restaurante Hotel – 1 Plaza de San Mateo 011-34-92-724-2928;; in walled, medieval city (3.5 hours from Madrid); 14 rooms designed to take advantage of breath-taking views; also, tremendous modern art collection.
Parador de Caceres – 6 Calle Ancha; 011-34-927-211-759;; 4 star, luxury hotel; 14th Century palace with lovely siena-colored patio; city’s most charming inn.

Atrio – 22 Avenida de Espana; 011-34-927-242-928;; 2 Michelin stars; lush formal décor; deeply flavored dishes; best wine list in Spain.
Meson San Juan – 3 Plaza de San Juan; 011-34-927-626-648; straightforward tapas in lively tavern atmosphere.

Sights & Sites
Real Monasterio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe – Guadalupe; 011-34-92-736-7000;; UNESCO World Heritage Site; origins in late 13th Century, when shepherd from Cáceres discovered Blessed Virgin statue on Guadalupe River bank, apparently hidden by local inhabitants from Moorish invaders in 714; chapel built on site; King Alfonso XI invoked Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Battle of Rio Salado; ascribed victory to Madonna’s intercession; in 1389, Hieronymite monks took over monastery; in 1474 Henry IV of Castile entombed; here, in Extremadura, that Christopher Columbus made 1st pilgrimage after discovering America in 1492; remained most important cloister in Spain until monasteries’ secularization in 1835; in 20th Century, revived by Franciscan Order; dominated by templo mayor, built by Alfonso XI and his immediate successors in 14th & 15th Centuries; square Santa Catalina chapel also 15th Century; known for ornate, 17th Century tomb cluster; 16th Century reliquaries chapel connects Santa Catalina with baroque sacristy (1638-47), lavishly decorated and boasting Zurbarán painting series; behind basilica is Camarin de la Virgen, octagonal baroque structure (1687-96) with impressive stuccoed Chamber of Virgin and 9 paintings by Luca Giordano (one showing Madonna with elephant); jewel of this profusely ornamented hall is throne containing statue that gave monastery its name; other notable structures include Mudéjar cloister (1389-1405), with magnificent Plateresque portal, late Gothic cloister from 1531-33, and new church, commissioned by Columbus descendant in 1730.

Hospederia del Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Guadalupe – 1 Plaza Juan Carlos; 011-34-927-367-000;; working monastery with austere but pleasant rooms.

Hospederia del Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Guadalupe – 1 Plaza Juan Carlos; 011-34-927-367-000;; excellent food.

Restaurante Nardi – 19 Braulio Navas; 011-34-927-481-323; lighter, updated versions of regional classics.

TRUJILLO (includes Jerte)
Hotel-Spa Tunel del Hada – 10612 Jerte (Jerte); 011-34-927-470-000;; in village; cozy country inn with upscale touches and beautiful views.
NH Palacio de Santa Marta – 6 Ballesteros; 011-34-927-659-190;; tastefully renovated with modern amenities.

Meson La Troya – 10 Plaza Mayor; 011-34-927-321-364; centrally located restaurant featuring regional cuisine; white walls are decorated with ceramic plates, potted plants, and red tiles; devouring fixed-price menu, with more-than-ample portions; food items change daily; local dishes include prueba de cerdo (garlic-flavored pork casserole), carne con tomate (beef cooked in tomato sauce), and spit-roasted goat.
Restaurante Pizarro – 13 Plaza Mayor; 011-34-927-320-255; traditional Extremadura fare; next door to La Troya; quieter; menu includes dishes like chicken stuffed with truffles, and frito de cordero (lamb stew).

Zafra Parador – 7 Plaza Corazon de Maria; 011-34-92-455-4540;; 15th Century storybook castle with stone battlements, 9 looming towers, and original coats of arm in hallways.

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