Friday 8th December
Back to Spain today after some glorious days in Portugal where we had superb weather – every day was an almost picture perfect day.
Again no challenges or hold ups going across the border though we did notice the lanes going into Portugal were being stopped and inspected.
Certainly this is the land of oranges and vineyards as these take up almost all of the landscape along the way. Even the towns we have been driving through have avenues of oranges growing in the streets of town and these are full of fruit (though lower branches have been stripped bare and only those up high surviving).
Our camp for tonight: Plage Matalascanas, Matalascanas
Back to a sea change today as we head for the southern tip of Spain.
The entry into this town has a fantastic National Park on both sides of the road but soon it was quite obvious that this town is a prime holiday resort destination.
We pass by hundreds upon hundreds of magnificent holiday homes and seaside apartment blocks. Our camp site is at the far end of a long wide sandy beach and along this beach front is a wide and long pedestrian walk and bikeway. Restaurants and more apartment blocks take up every inch along this 6km block.
Off came the bikes (long time since weather and biking conditions were so good) so happily rode along taking in the sun, sea and great views. Stopped at the end where the feature rock in the sea” was the focal point for people to take pictures and stop at one of the great open air restaurants. We did the same and sampled some great cuisine and beers (served in a glass that was so cold, the beer formed icicles on top) and stayed until almost sunset. Hurried back just as the sun was going down.
The beachfront Boardwalk and restaurants were alive with people and we learned it was a public holiday so people were down here to take advantage of a long weekend. Sadly there are so many signs of the effect of the GFC here with so many buildings not completed and just left. There was a massive resort directly behind our campsite which had just finished before the GFC and never got to open its doors.
The pay station was closed when we arrived and again in the morning there was no sign of anyone wanting to take our money.
Saturday 9th December
Had such a wonderful day but really looking forward to visiting Seville today.
Our campsite for tonight: Parking Seville Puerto, Seville
This is a massive mixed parking area that was only supposed to take around 10 motorhomes but when we arrived there were double that number and places that would normally be taken by cars were used for motorhomes – most were Spanish – probably because of the long weekend and the warmer sunny conditions.
The campsite is right on the river and only a short walk across a bridge took us right into the heart of this huge town. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people were everywhere and every restaurant and bar was packed to capacity. The queues to see their most spectacular Gothic Cathedral and other historical sites was so long, it would have taken hours to see them inside. We walked around gob smacked – what an unbelievable town this was.
Horse and carriages were everywhere taking tourists around the many cobbled streets. Entertainers were on every street corner – even had Mickey and Donald Duck ready to pose for photos with the kids – at a cost of course. Flamingo dancers performed in one of the squares.
We walked and walked for hours, taking in Seville’s bull ring, the Gold Tower and the beautiful gardens and so many other beautiful buildings and town squares all ready with lights perched on Xmas trees and buildings and walls of fairy lights looking like waterfalls – just waiting for nightfall to showcase this fairytale atmosphere.
Couldn’t find anywhere in the main central area to eat as it was so packed, so had to resort to finding something in one of the many side streets until nightfall. Didn’t take long before the lights came on, so left our restaurant and joined the crowds which now had tripled since we left them an hour ago. Only moved at a snails pace and were dragged along with the crowd. So many strollers and children now here to see the Xmas lights. Hard to describe the feeling as we walked around – just so amazingly beautiful and so special seeing the looks on the little ones faces.
Totally exhausted but just so so happy, we headed back along the river where restaurants and bars were also open – a magic city.
Sunday 10th December
Woke up to a very foggy morning – so thick we could barely see the motorhome next door. Left at about 11am and the fog was still thick with no sign of lifting for another couple of hours.
Didn’t see much of the countryside today and even after the fog lifted, it was a cloudy and dull day – just for a change.
Our Campsite for tonight: Parking Pasarela, El Puerto de Santa Maria
Had our sights set on going to Cadiz today so selected this campsite as it was only a short 20 minute catamaran ride from here to Cadiz. Again a large mixed riverfront park with the catamaran and the centre of town just across a small footbridge.
Headed off to get the timetable for the boat departures and found that on Sundays there are only a few – many more on work days the sign said!). We had missed 2pm boat and as the next was not leaving till 5pm decided to explore this small village. Strangely they have an old castle right in the centre of town (normally they are on top of a hill but this one was closed on Sundays). Orange trees again a feature of the castle square.
Walked the streets to find the ultimate degustation site and finally found the one where all the locals hung out. Tasted several tapas that were absolutely delicious and spent an enjoyable afternoon with the locals and the waiter who was excellent before leaving to catch our boat.
Wouldn’t you know it – just as we were arrived at the terminal, the rain came down, the wind began to howl and the dark clouds loomed overhead. Maybe today was not a good day to visit Cadiz after all!