Today was going to be a day of biking. I had it all planned out in my head. We’ve not been for a ‘proper’ bike ride for what seems like ages and I was looking forward to it. We awoke this morning, however, to grey skies and the drumming of rain on the van roof. Tim has sloped off back to bed muttering something about needing ‘to check the back of his eyes’ so it looks as though the planned bike ride has now been postponed! Ah well, time to catch up on the blog then.
We left Donkey HQ in Aljezur, Portugal with a plan to walk some of the ‘Rota Vicentina‘, a network of walking trails covering the south west coastline of Portugal.
Unlike the Algarve to the south, the south west coast of Portugal is wild and rugged reminding me of parts of the north Cornish coast or sections of the Pembrokeshire coastline.
We spent three days walking short sections of the Fishermans Trail, a 120km route following the tracks made by locals to get to the beaches and fishing spots.
It’s quite hard going as much of the paths are single track soft sand but it’s exceedingly quiet and, of the three days we spent there, we only passed a handful of people.
The wild flowers were starting to emerge and I think March/April would be a perfect time to walk the whole route.
That’s maybe something we’ll do in the future though as we wanted to retrace our steps back across the Algarve to start exploring Spain again.
We made a quick one night pit stop at the aire in Lagos to watch the start of the RBS Six Nations and then had a day relaxing on the beach at Manta Rota, east of Faro and close to the Spanish border, before crossing back in to Spain.
Our first destination was Seville which we had intended visiting after we’d been to Córdoba but couldn’t face doing two cities back to back! We have very short attention spans and don’t seem to have the energy for too much culture in one go!
Seville had several options for motorhome aires so we decided on the one closest in to the city. It was just a city carpark but had 24 hour security and was a ten minute walk into the historic part of Seville. At €10 per night we thought it was a bargain and would recommend it although it doesn’t have any facilities for waste emptying.
Seville, the capital of Spain’s Andalusia region, famous for Flamenco, Don Juan, Carmen and Figaro, is quite simply stunning. As soon as we walked across the river into the historic old town and saw the Cathedral our jaws dropped.
The streets are clean, car free, lined with orange trees and an absolute feast for the eyes.
The whole atmosphere in Seville felt safe, friendly and welcoming.
We spent our first day wandering the streets of the old town and the surrounding areas trying to take it all in.
It was surprisingly quiet on the Wednesday so we were able to see all the buildings without being impeded too much.
As usual for me I hadn’t done any research before we arrived, other than have a quick flick through our Rough Guide, but in some ways that’s a good thing as we don’t have any preconceived ideas on how things will be.
We tend to just prefer to wander around with no set itinerary getting our bearings as we go.
With zero research we were then surprised and delighted when we strolled through the Parque Maria Luisa to reach the Plaza de España, such a pleasant and relaxing place to while away an afternoon.
On our second day in Seville we discovered more of the old town and whiled away a couple of hours mooching about in the Santa Cruz area which hides many plazas and flower decked patios.
Then more walking of the river to the north and over into the Triana district, which was once Seville’s gypsy quarter.
View across the Rio Guadalquivir towards the Triana district.
There’s so much to see in Seville that we couldn’t do it all and after two days we were feeling a little bit overwhelmed with information overload so decided to hit the road south following the Rio Gualdalquivir to the sea.
We arrived in Sanlucar de Barrameda last night which seems to be a lively small coastal town at the mouth of the Gualdalquivir overlooked by a Moorish castle.
The rain has now stopped so it’s about time we got out to have an explore!