Goodbye Portugal, hello Spain….again…. .

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.

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View looking back to Monte Clerigo.

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.

DSC00749.JPGWe 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.

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On the rocks above Praia de Amoreira beach.

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.

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View above Praia de Odeceixe (we are reliably informed it is pronounced Odd-a-say-sha).

The wild flowers were starting to emerge and I think March/April would be a perfect time to walk the whole route.

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Zambujeira do Mar.

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.

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Relaxing on Praia da Manta Rota.

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.

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Seville’s huge Gothic Cathedral with Moorish bell tower.  It’s the largest Cathedral in Europe.

The streets are clean, car free, lined with orange trees and an absolute feast for the eyes.

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Avenida de la Constitucion.

The whole atmosphere in Seville felt safe, friendly and welcoming.

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Plaza de San Francisco.

We spent our first day wandering the streets of the old town and the surrounding areas trying to take it all in.

DSC00780.JPGIt was surprisingly quiet on the Wednesday so we were able to see all the buildings without being impeded too much.

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Metropol Parasol – designed by Jurgen Mayer and opened in 2011.  Houses an archaelogical museum, market and several bars and restaurants.  Apparently the locals call it ‘Las Setas’, (the mushrooms).

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.

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Plaza de Cabildo.

We tend to just prefer to wander around with no set itinerary getting our bearings as we go.

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Entrance to the Cathedral.

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.

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Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares set in the Parque Maria Luisa.  The museum displays traditional Andalusian folk arts.
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Plaza de Espana.
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View of the Plaza de Espana from the first floor balcony.
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Regional scenes on ceramic tiles – the work of Anibal Gonzalez.

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.

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Square lined with orange trees.

Then more walking of the river to the north and over into the Triana district, which was once Seville’s gypsy quarter.

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Puente de Isabel II conecting central Seville with the Triana district.

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View across the Rio Guadalquivir towards the Triana district.

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Internet binge using the cafe wifi!

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.

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Sanlucar de Barrameda.

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!

Hasta Luego!

 

 

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bonvanageblog

We are Jane and Tim and we recently gave up our jobs and rented out our house to persue a life of travel across Europe in our motorhome called Ollie.

8 thoughts on “Goodbye Portugal, hello Spain….again…. .”

  1. Hi … It all looks so amazing. I do feel envious of the freedom you have just to go where the mood takes you. I’m sure you’re not missing Trowbridge in the slightest (and I bet you’ve both got great tans 😝!).
    I bumped into Hazel in matalan yesterday, she gave me the benefit of her fashion advice, who needs Gok Wan!!!
    Take care
    Joanne xxx

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    1. Hey Joanne, good to hear from you 🙂 If it makes you feel better we’ve had 36 hours of rain and it’s still coming down now! Too much sun and we’ll start to resemble two old leather bags so factor 50 for me! Nope, not missing Trow Vegas, not at all! We should be back in April sometime so we’ll have to meet up – I can then have the benefit of Hazels fashion advice – I need it after recycling the same few sets of clothes for the past two years 😉 xx

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