I lived in a small town in northern Extremadura called Jaraíz de la Vera for twelve years. Plasencia seemed to be a big city and was the place to go to if you needed a hospital or go shopping, for example.
But, if there is one thing I remember about Plasencia, it is the legendary parque de los Pinos. It was (together with the fire station) a recurrent place for school trips and I am pretty sure there is no child in a 25-mile radius that has not visited this ornithological park.
Located on a hilly area only ten minutes away from the city centre and not far from the bus station, it is perfect for an afternoon walk enjoying good views of the city. And that is exactly where I went during my last trip to Plasencia.
After a four-hour coach journey from Madrid on a winding mountain road I arrived in Plasencia feeling carsick and quite tired. Even though I only had six hours to spend in the city before getting on a bus to Cáceres, I wanted to take it easy.
I did a bit of sightseeing (Ethnographic Museum, Trujillo Gate and the Cathedral) before heading to the main square for lunch. The centre bustled with people shopping and having some drinks and tapas in the bars around the square. After 15:00 the streets were dead, though. Bars, shops and monuments closed. Siesta time. I could not think of a better plan than spending the rest of the afternoon chilling out in the park on such a crispy cold but bright and sunny day. I had not been there in about 15 years and I was a bit excited to go back.
It was more or less as I remembered it. Its central pond full of ducks, beautiful peacocks strutting around freely, fountains, a bandstand and many different types of trees. However, this time there was no sign of school trips or children at all. In fact, there was no sign of any human activity whatsoever, apart from two weirdoes —me and a foreign visitor, that is.
I was quite surprised how close to you the peacocks get without running scared. Well, thinking about the amount of bread they must have been thrown by children for years, I should not have been surprised at all. The ducks and the other birds seemed a bit more fearful than the peacocks, but it was still easy to get good snaps of them from a close distance.
Peacocks are so used to having people around them that they would steal your food with their hands, if they had. Shortly before I left the park two peacocks started following a woman and her two children at the sight of a bag of crisps. They would not leave them alone and the poor woman left the park on the lookout for a crazy animal-free place.
People only started coming to the park well after 17:00, so I could easily have had a snooze on a bench if I wanted to. If you ever go to Plasencia make sure you pop into the park for a bit, whether alone or with children. Go there on a weekday after lunch if you want a quiet place to relax and enjoy a book or bring your children a bit later in the day or during weekends, when it gets busier with families.
If you want to have an idea of what you can see in Plasencia have a look at some pictures I took during my wee trip.
Parque de los Pinos de Plasencia
Address: avenida de la Hispanidad 2
Opening times: (winter) Mon-Sun 10:00-19:00; (summer) 10:00-20:30
The park on a map
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