Travel to Spain: Make mine a Michelin

Travel to Spain: Make mine a Michelin

Hola! I’m revisiting this post as Spain is the hot spot top visit in 2020. The restaurant is till flourishing and waitig for your attendance.

Travelling across the arid plains of the autonomous region handsomely called Extremadura, in Spain, there are sleepy, medieval towns that have not been pillaged by 21st century tourists. The classic three towns that not only have character, personality, history and more than enough charm to capture your imagination are: Trujillo, Cacares and Merida (settled in 258BC).

We meandered into Cacares at a Don Quixote on an old donkey pace. The old stones in the preserved building glowed like old gold in the midday sun and the welcome was warm.


Caceres has been named Spain’s Gastronomic Capital and as a special treat we are to have lunch at a two-star Michelin restaurant, Atrio.

This complete, ancient city from the Middle Ages oozes solid confidence – and so it should as it has embraced, been attacked, colonised and endured with tenacity a blended mix of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance civilisations throughout history. And here stand the buildings to prove it. About 30 towers still remain from the Muslim period in Caceres. And as we step over cobble stones and steps that have been polished by thousands of feet, we walk in to Atrio Restaurant Hotel in the Plaza de San Mateo.

A tour of the hotel with its cutting edge flair; the building following a canonical design in harmony with its surroundings we visit rooms with a simple ambience of neutrals and natural light. The terrace offers views of distant mountains and the neighbourliness of historic Caceres.

Before we were actually served our endless degustation we met with chef Tono (Juan Antonio Perez) a charming, modest man with an impish grin and a sparkling personality. He and his partner Jose Polo are behind this splendid, felicitous complex where we were about to encounter the essence of Cacares.
Our lunch followed a perfect pattern of delightful, imaginative dishes served with a light flourish. From a delicate bisque, to silvery slivers of tuna cappaccio and on and on and on until dessert, a dash of foam, fruit crème and a fine stick of chocolate.

What a privilege for my eyes and stomach to be so gastronomically rewarded – for what I know not, but I’ll happily accept the prize.
Writer Bev Malzard travelled to Spain, flying Emirates from Sydney to Dubai then in to Madrid. Visit:



Hola! (Extremadura means Hard and Strong.) to there and back again to there and back again

So many places, so little time: isn’t that always the case? Travelling to me covers many facets of movement: aeroplanes, ships, books, movies, conversation an exotic meal, searching through brochures or postcards . . . it’s mostly to change the reality of the moment. I can travel back through time (my time), I can travel forward in time but it all starts with a few seeds being sown.

I want to share my thoughts, travels, experiences, opinions, ideas and maybe even a few crackpot theories about travel with you. So, please come along for the ride . . .join me on the journey  . . . let’s go places together.

My latest travel crush is Spain. I visited last year – didn’t cover the entire country but I discovered an amazing region called ‘Extremadura’ which translates to hard and strong.

More about that visit later.

But – my first visit to Spain was in 1983. I had no idea about the country and went there on a whim after suffering through a freezing London winter. Two Kiwi friends and I landed in a state of light-headedness (drunk) off the plane and were transported to the very unlovely Torremolinos on our day the Costa del Sol.

What a hideous place – even to my cloudy eyes, the half finished high rise blocks of crappy flats, dirty streets and wild dogs roaming ‘our ‘neighbourhood. offended my hippie sensibility.

But the drinks were big and cheap! I discovered the art of picture menus. Blackboard menus outside cheek by jowl restaurants with coloured pictures of: steak and eggs, eggs and baked beans, eggs and chips or eggs, chips and sausages – that was the beginning of the Empire strikes back at Spain! The English had well and truly invaded. The entire coast was a nasty canteen with bars selling English food and beer. Not a Spanish dish in sight – no foreign muck for these tourists.

My memories of that six-day trip included being robbed by a bag-snatcher, sitting in a police station and listening to someone get beaten up, having a brawl with a disco operator (not my fault), drinking buckets of sangria, very cheap gin that I would probably classify as rocket fuel these days, the best Indonesian meal outside of Java (go figure!) and having my first ever swim in the cold Mediterranean Sea.

So Spain decades later was totally different for me – but that trip down memory lane is still as vivid as ever.