Published by_ Happy Woman magazine - Baleska Press."Check-Out" section.
In the Kingdom of Leon
Twenty miles away from Badajoz rests Almendral. A place that survived the middle ages and kept a nest of silence, Rocamador. The 16th-century monastery converted into a 5-star hotel. There are no signs, or maps to guide us – or anything past the desire to get there. It seems part of the experience to feel lost before we find it. But it only makes it the most beautiful arrival.
The night had fallen when I arrived. It was like witnessing a vision arising under a dark starry sky, covered in a castle-like texture and the hypnotic chant of crickets. This former Franciscan monastery built in 1512, still keeps the same stress-melting silence. It served as an infirmary and a Philosophical Studies Center over the XVII and XIX centuries. Today it is a hotel filled with History, featuring original objects and frescos, sunny terraces, rooms made of rocks and even a Hospital of Words.
Inside, the hosts are dressed as monks, wearing white socks under frugal leather sandals and solemnly whispering their greetings. They tiptoed by heart the great maze of stone and dreams that took me almost one day to learn. And there I was, in my cell of peace.
All 31 rooms are unique, spacious and surprisingly comfortable. The décor makes wood and stone feel like heaven. In the morning, I woke up to stunning surroundings, where nature expresses in all its splendour. I explored through the chapel, the gardens and secret places. Through the aromas of good food, incense and burning wood. Distracted by narrow corridors and the vibration of Gregorian chants hovering on every object. At breakfast, I indulged in hot barley and toasted bread with sea salt and olive oil. Served, as every meal, with the full flavour of regional Extremadura cuisine, with a touch of Michelin star.
Beyond the window frames, the landscape overflows with green and white. From the Natural Park of Sierra Aracena to Jerez de Los Caballeros; and from Mérida to Zafra. The place where once Muslims, Jews and Christians once lived together in peace.
Rocamador lies right at the centre of the 'Triangle of Humanity'. The thin plot between medieval Caceres, the Royal Monastery of Puebla of Guadalupe and Trujillo, the birthplace of conquistadors. Perfect for moments of quietness. With no urban noise, no nightlife, no technology. Where deprived of the rest of the world, we find a greater one to discover.