TRUJILLO, SPAIN. One of Trujillo’s claims to fame is that it happens to be the birthplace of one of the conquistadors of the New World. Not just any conquistador, Francisco Pizarro is known to be one of the most successful conquistadors in the New World’s history, and is most well known as the “discoverer” of Peru. I put discoverer in quotations as an allusion to the fact that the conquistadors did not actually discover anything, but are by in large credited for making the connection between the Old World and the New World. From this connection, widely known as the Columbian Exchange, came many things: plants, animals, culture, people, ideas, and diseases.

I was not aware that Pizarro was from Trujillo before I journeyed to the small town of the Extremadura in the province of Cáceres, but the second I arrived I was quickly made aware of this fact. There is a larger-than-life-sized bronze statue of Pizarro that literally dominates the town’s square. This plaza was one of the prettiest I have seen in Spain, and boasts a very open area with outdoor seating and a lovely view of the castle walls above. In fact this whole town is built on a hilltop, so as one explores the city, the view of the surrounding area grows nicer and nicer.

The true gem of Trujillo lies at the end of its city-tour, the castle of Trujillo. Built in the 13th century over an old Muslim fortress, this castle sits atop a winding road paved with beautiful yellow flowers.  It has a nice courtyard bordered by a square wall, surely a lookout back when the castle was still in operation.  Here lies the million-dollar view.  Running along the wall, one can see out into the Extremadura quite expansively.  I felt like I could see Madrid from there!  Of course I couldn’t, but it had that appeal and unique feeling.  Visiting historical sites such as this one can be very powerful as one can embrace all the history and events that must have occurred there.

The food in Trujillo was not bad either. Tapas, of course, Spain’s favorite. One of the region’s specialties is migas, which is essentially a plate of sausage and bread crumbs all mixed together. Not to be taken without a glass of water or a cerveza at hand, this dish is quite formidable to eat, but tastes even better. I devoured my migas along with the usual patatas bravas, tortilla española, and the unfamiliar bowl of meat and grease, which I enjoyed quite a bit despite its appearance.

My trip to Extremadura was unforgettable. Seeing Mérida, Cáceres, Trujillo, many castles, many walls, and many Roman ruins is not the most glamorous weekend getaway to the casual vacationer, but a little bit of education never hurt anyone.  Seeing the contrast between old and new is quite profound, and sticks in my mind the most out of my trip to Trujillo. Peering up at the Pizarro statue in front of a castle wall flanked by tapas cafes is quite a site to behold. It points out just how far society has come, and that it is our past that has led us into the future. For anyone wondering if a trip to Extremadura is worth the time, it is. Surely it would be a decision you will not regret.