4-Xtremes – Part 54: Idyllic reservoirs, historic buildings and a family visit

Series: 4-Xtremes – The World Tour

Heading north-eastwards.

The Kammermanns once again travelled through Spain before heading towards pastures new. On their way, they crossed centuries-old bridges, got their feet wet and welcomed a new family member into the world!


If we're honest, we had hoped for a bit more of a spectacle at the launch of the next stage of our 4-Xtremes Tour, spanning seven new countries. In actual fact, the occasion was marked by crossing the Portuguese border over an old stone bridge in the middle of nowhere. The only thing telling us we'd returned to Spain was a small sign halfway across.

We really liked Portugal, but Spain felt a lot more familiar.  Maybe because we had already spent so much time here? It's definitely also down to the fact we speak the language. That always makes things easier, and it brings us closer to the country and its people.

Our first stop was Alcántara. This historic, idyllic town, nestled at the heart of a chain of hills, is best known for its stone arch bridge: the 70-metre-high and 194-metre-long Puente de Alcántara is considered the world's largest, fully preserved Roman bridge structure – and to this day it has been approved for vehicles up to 20 tonnes.


Easy to miss: the border crossing from Portugal to Spain is in the middle of nowhere.
Easy to miss: the border crossing from Portugal to Spain is in the middle of nowhere.
On the way to the world’s largest, fully preserved Roman bridge, Puente de Alcántara.
On the way to the world’s largest, fully preserved Roman bridge, Puente de Alcántara.
Soaring temperatures: the perfect excuse for the Kammermanns to enjoy some cool, refreshing reservoirs!
Soaring temperatures: the perfect excuse for the Kammermanns to enjoy some cool, refreshing reservoirs!
Soaring temperatures: the perfect excuse for the Kammermanns to enjoy some cool, refreshing reservoirs!
Soaring temperatures: the perfect excuse for the Kammermanns to enjoy some cool, refreshing reservoirs!
Soaring temperatures: the perfect excuse for the Kammermanns to enjoy some cool, refreshing reservoirs!
Soaring temperatures: the perfect excuse for the Kammermanns to enjoy some cool, refreshing reservoirs!

Cycling barefoot along the river.

From here, we travelled along narrow roads, heading further towards the hinterland, pitching up at several reservoirs along the way. We stopped on the banks of the river Alagón and marvelled at a lovely curve the river took: a real beauty spot. The river definitely carries more water in winter, but even now, at a lower level, the view is amazing.

On our way back to the Axor, we decided to cycle along the riverbed:  an undertaking that unfortunately turned out to be more difficult than expected. We had to push our bikes barefoot very slowly through the water several times to avoid coming off on slippery stones. We only just made it back in time before the heavens opened.


A spectacular view, even when the water's low: the bend of the Alagón River.
A spectacular view, even when the water's low: the bend of the Alagón River.
At first glance, the riverside path looked very appealing...
At first glance, the riverside path looked very appealing...
... but it wasn't long before Andrea struggled with the current.
... but it wasn't long before Andrea struggled with the current.

Visiting the “Golden City” of Salamanca.

Our next destination was Salamanca, also known as the “Golden City”. It's one of the oldest cities in the Castile and León region. All of the town's facades are made of stone from Villamayor, a municipality in Salamanca province. The stone's high iron content is what gives the buildings their traditional, golden shimmer. It goes without saying that we also tried some hornazo, a type of Spanish pasty. Not quite made to keep us in shape, but definitely very tasty!

Ávila lies a good 100 kilometres from Salamanca. The 2,500-metre-long, completely preserved Roman city walls dating from between the 11th and 14th century, featuring 88 towers and nine city gates, are the city's centrepiece. They looked particularly enchanting at night, stretching out across the hill like a glow-in-the-dark snake.


Fascinating architecture in the “golden city” of Salamanca.
Fascinating architecture in the “golden city” of Salamanca.
Fascinating architecture in the “golden city” of Salamanca.
Fascinating architecture in the “golden city” of Salamanca.
Fascinating architecture in the “golden city” of Salamanca.
Fascinating architecture in the “golden city” of Salamanca.
Not for calorie counters: hornazo, a Salamanca delicacy.
Not for calorie counters: hornazo, a Salamanca delicacy.

A spring-clean and some TLC for the Axor!

After another 100 kilometres, we finally arrived in Madrid. As I, Andrea, have recently become an auntie, it goes without saying that we took a slight detour to visit my sister and her family and welcomed my young nephew Alex into the world!

After that it was time for us to head north... more or less anyway... Technically we headed north-east... But before having to face longer stints, we stopped at another reservoir, where Mike gave the Axor some TLC. Yet again, he cleaned the air filters with compressed air, lubricated, oiled and greased the vehicle where necessary, before clearing out, cleaning and tidying the storage space. And then he sorted out the living quarters.

Once that was all done, we continued on to the city of Zaragoza with its fascinating mix of historical and modern architecture. The stretch between Zaragoza and Lleida crossed the route we took months ago now, when we had first arrived in Spain. We crossed the prime meridian, recreating the picture from last time, just standing on the other side.


Whether it be during the day...
Whether it be during the day...
... or at night: Ávilas' over 500 year-old city walls are a fascinating construction.
... or at night: Ávilas' over 500 year-old city walls are a fascinating construction.
Time for the Axor to get a spring clean!
Time for the Axor to get a spring clean!
Time for the Axor's spring clean, and that also meant ...
Time for the Axor's spring clean, and that also meant ...
... quality control by Aimée.
... quality control by Aimée.

High time for the next destination.

Having arrived in the dry north of Spain, it had now turned unpleasantly hot, and we looked forward to a quick stop high up in the mountains before really "eating up the miles" and heading towards our next destination in the north. All there is to say about that is that  the window of time to take atmospheric photos during our visit was very brief, so we almost missed it, hoping that we'd still be lucky enough to witness local wildlife!

Given that long motorway journeys were also part and parcel of our everyday travel routine, we really appreciated the comfort features that our Axor provided: cruise control, air conditioning and the additional cab insulation. And consequently, we were able to look forward to the next 1,000 kilometres!


Zaragoza's cityscape is absolutlely captivating, offering an exciting mix of old and new.
Zaragoza's cityscape is absolutlely captivating, offering an exciting mix of old and new.
Zaragoza's cityscape is absolutlely captivating, offering an exciting mix of old and new.
Zaragoza's cityscape is absolutlely captivating, offering an exciting mix of old and new.
From then on...
From then on...
... the Kammermanns and the Axor had to "eat up the miles".
... the Kammermanns and the Axor had to "eat up the miles".

4-Xtremes – The World Tour.

An unparalleled journey.

Andrea and Mike Kammermann have been on tour in their Axor for three years. "4-Xtremes – The World Tour" is the motto of the journey that the two Swiss nationals embarked on in mid-2020 and which they share with the RoadStars community. Keep up to date and don't miss out on any of the stunning destinations visited by the adventurous pair.

You can find all the parts from the “4-Xtremes – The World Tour” series here.


Photos: 4-Xtremes

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