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Review: Battle of Albuhera

Specialist Holiday - Historic

Spain

Five days in Spain to commemorate the Battle of Albuhera 1811

  • By SilverTraveller Paul-Gray

    5 reviews

  • May 2011
  • Colleague(s)

12 people found this review helpful

FIVE DAYS IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL TO CELEBRATE THE BATTLE OF ALBUHERA. 13-17 May 2011.

The Battle of Albuhera was fought on 16 May 1811. Among the Regiments which fought were the The Buffs (3rd of Foot), The 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment, and the 57th Regiment. Through various name changes and amalgamations, those three Regiments are now part of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR), and to commemorate our forebears participation in the battle, PWRR organised a visit to Spain and to Portugal for the 200th anniversary of the battle.

We flew to Lisbon by BA and TAP, had coaches to Badajoz, (3 hours), just over the border in Spain, and stayed in three hotels there: The Gran (4*), for those who we were paying for (ie VIPs), and those who could afford it; The Rio (3*); and the AC (2*). I stayed in the Rio, which was comfortable, with satisfactory food and convenient for our visit; with an excellent restaurent easy walking distance away. The weather was hot and the swimming pool not yet opened; apparently it was not hot enough for the locals!! Service in the bar and restaurent was not very good, the staff seemed unable to cope with two wedding parties and 50 or so retired soldiers!

On day two we visited the English cemetery in Elvas, which is just over the border, in Portugal. The cemetery is in one of the bastions of the castle, in a lovely setting overlooking the plain of Badajoz. Three senior officers who died of wounds after the battle are buried there. The cemetery, and a little chapel below, are maintained by the Friends of the British Cemetery — there is an influential ex-pat community in the area.

Day three was for battlefield tours. In the morning we went around the walls of Badajoz, to see where the earlier assaults were made ,and where the final successful assault, on 6 April 1812 was made. In the afternoon we went to the battlefield itself. We were able to see the ground, and our guides were most helpful in showing us where our Regiments had fought. It is all vinyards now, and one field looks much like another; but with some imagination, we could visualise the fighting.

Day four, the day of the Battle, was given over to the Commemoration in the Village of Albuera, with local dignitaries, speeches, flag raising, wreath laying, the Spanish Army on parade, members of military re-enactment societies, both British and Spanish, and local dancers.

Day five, when we returned to UK, by BA and TAP again, we had a short tour of Lisbon visiting the monastery with the Church, and the two sights by the River Tagus.

The visit was a great success everything went well and we had excellent weather; it was hot outside but there was an occasional little breeze.

Although this was essentially a military visit and Commemoration, those who have no particular interest in battles and sieges, will find enough in the area to justify a short stay. There are Roman ruins at Merida near by; and the museums in the village of Albuera (Spanish spelling) Badajoz are well worth a visit.

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