If you’ve not read part one or two of this series, go back and find my previous posts: A Week on the Spanish Border – Part 1 and Part 2.
This is my last of three posts on my experience on the Spanish-Portuguese Border back in November 2016. I was considering simply having two posts however I feel that this one will suitably round off the end of my story and also showcase some of the sightseeing outside of Badajoz that we did in that week.
Midweek we went to Olivenza, a town that has been contested by both the Spanish and Portuguese throughout history because of its close proximity to the border. Once again, I was impressed with the beauty of this town which shared so much of both the Portuguese and Spanish culture. Examples of this aren’t just seen in the food but also in other aspects of daily life. Street names, for example, aren’t just in Spanish but also written in Portuguese; as can be seen in the featured photo. Additionally, both languages are spoken reasonably equally by the inhabitants of a town which literally sits on the border.
In the main square of Olivenza stands the Saint Mary of the Castle Church and Olivenza Castle. Both are very interesting, especially the castle which doesn’t use stairs to gain to the upper levels but a ramp which goes up through the inside wall. As we were arriving, it was getting towards the end of the afternoon and so there were only a few hours of daylight remaining. Despite this, our guide took us through Olivenza, showing us the sights of this beautiful and ancient town.
We were fortunate enough to gain entry to both the Iglesia de Santa María del Castillo (The Saint Mary of the Castle Church), Inglesia de Santa Maria Magdelena (Saint Mary Magdelene Church) and the Castle as well as the museum of Badajoz that was in the castle grounds. Olivenza is in the province of Badajoz and so there was a rather extensive collection of artifacts and information on the province, as well as the role that Olivenza and larger Badajoz has played in wars and politics over the centuries.
Our tour ended at Olivenza Town Hall, a place which is often used for ceremonial purposes nowadays. It was getting close to dark as we finished up however we had time for a group photo and, as we were leaving, I noticed the Town Hall Clock, which I though looked fantastic in the dying light. It is a photo which I’ve coincidently set as my desktop background because, despite it’s simplicity, it captures so much and the lighting was fantastic.
With that I’m brought to my last image, and the end of this short series. The sun was setting as we climbed down from the top of the castle. We’d only had fifteen minutes to get back to the main square and as we hadn’t had chance to scale to the top during our tour. From the ramparts, the sun looked fantastic as it set over Oliveza and the long rolling plains of Badajoz province. In this photo you can see the main square in the foreground with the Church of St Mary Magdalene silhouetted by the setting sun. It had been an educational and interesting week. I’d tried new things, new food and finally been to Spain as, despite it’s popularity, I’d never been!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my short time in Spain on the Portuguese border.
Until next time,