Week 45

Day 309 – Friday 11th January 2019

Another sunny day, a little chilly in the breeze but beautiful nonetheless.  As it’s our last full day in Portugal after lunch we went on a ride in the countryside on Zippy.

Almond blossom

Ended up at a lovely deserted beach, Praia de Figueira

Back at the camp I said bye to Juan Carlos & Marco the lads who organise all the activities

Day 310 – Saturday 12th January 2019

Another sunny day, up early and off to Spain.

Ready to roll

In theory the route to Isla Cristina in Spain is fairly easy; just motor along the N125 for a couple of hours.  Doris however sent us on a detour into the Algarve hills.

The historic town of Silves. Very pretty but well out of our way

Getting back on route along the IC1 a question leapt into my mind… How bad does a Portuguese road have to be before they resurface it? The answer, if the IC1 is anything to go by, is very fuckin’ bad indeed.

They grow a lot of oranges in Portugal; they sell them dirt cheap at the side of the road.

there’s no excuse for getting scurvy in Portugal

As soon as we crossed the border into Spain the polytunnels appeared, miles and miles of them.

Camping Playa Taray gets a fair write up on most review sights but it’s not a patch on the site at Luz. I fear we’ve been spoilt rotten for the last 10 weeks.

The consolation is there is a very large beach here

We’ve had a few worries about Cfor; what will he think when he looks out the door and the little world he has become used to over the past 10 weeks has all changed?

At first he was a little wary but he ventured out soon enough and it wasn’t long before the little swine was off about the site.

Cfor investigates.

At Luz we were so far from the road we let him out at night. He loved it. Here however we are less than 50m from 2 main roads so he’s under curfew. He will not be happy.

Day 311 – Sunday 13th January 2019

 A sunny morning if a little cold in the shade.

We are here by Isla Cristina because I want to find places where we can spend part of next winter. This winter we had nearly 3 months in Luz and I’d like a little more variety next winter.

Isla Cristina is the first of many places we’re looking at. Why Isla Cristina? Because if sounded good and the campsite got good reviews, ‘under new ownership and improving!’

Well the campsite still has a lot of improving to do. The toilet block is okay but the pitches are just dirt.

Any rain and this place would instantly be a quagmire for days

There are also a lot of permanent caravan placements here so half the site has the air of a refugee camp.

As for the free wifi, it’s useless. Can’t even load up the Guardian on it let alone watch a program on Netflix. It’d be far better for them to get a fibre connection, some good aerials and charge a couple of euros a day for a decent connection.

Having said all that there are a dozen or so smart German vans and caravans clearly dug-in for the winter.

The town of Isla Cristina isn’t any great shakes either. It’s an ordinary provincial working town and like a lot of working towns in Southern Europe it has suffered hard times.

Plaza San Francisco, Isla Cristina

The tourist development along this part of the coast is 7km away at a purpose built place called Islantilla. It’s a bit quiet at this time of year but it has a smart shopping area with plenty of restaurants and a great sandy beach.

The beach at Islantilla

We won’t be spending any of next winter in Isla Cristina.

Day 312 – Monday 14th January 2019

Another sunny day but it was properly cold riding Zippy early this morning. After we had packed up we drove to Camping Villsom in Seville. The campsite is alright, toilets and showers are a little dated but clean. Cracking wifi speeds though.

After a quick lunch we hopped on the bus into town and were dropped off by the impressive Plaza de España.

Plaza de España. It’s big and ornate. Too big for a phone camera to do it proper justice

Spanish tourist tat, fridge magnets, key rings, fans, little spanish guitars, parasols; everything you don’t need.

Hola Sevilla

Seville’s number 2 tourist attraction done we set off to find Seville’s Hardrock Café so Julie could add a tee shirt to her collection.

Only another 202 to go!

One sight I wanted to see was the Setas de Sevilla, the Mushrooms of Seville. Supposedly the largest wooden structure in the world.

Bizarre

For €3 you can have a walk around the top of them.

See the sights of the city

and peer into people’s apartments

Day 313 – Tuesday 15th January 2019

An overcast start to the day. Into Seville for lunch. I’d Googled vegetarian tapas and had come up with a place called Alameda Rock that was highly recommended. Alameda is not a tourist area and was a bit of a yomp from the town centre. It turned out to be closed as they were moving premises. Apparently it was on their Facebook page but in Spanish. Brilliant.

Starving and to avoid a mutiny from Julie we sat down at a café in Plaza Alameda and had some top nosh.

Julie plumped for the Pork in Sherry sauce

I went for the more pig friendly Patatas Bravas & Espinacas con Garbanzos

After lunch I started to sneeze which was probably due to the chilli in the Patatas Bravas sauce; it didn’t stop until about 10pm.

Day 314 – Wednesday 16th January 2019

Thin cloud cover this morning so it was a little chilly. I wrapped up warm so I didn’t start sneezing again and we took the bus into Seville for a nose about.

Behind the cathedral we stumbled across the Santa Cruz district which is the old part of town. Full of narrow alleyways nowadays it’s mainly boutique hotels and tapas bars.

Santa Cruz

Seville Bullring. A few people might argue that meat isn’t murder but I don’t think anyone could dispute that bullfighting is animal torture for public entertainment. How the EU can bang on about animal rights and still allow bullfighting is beyond me.

After lunch we tried some Churros y Chocolate

Not for me but Julie had no problem finishing them off even though she gave up sweet things for New Year!

Saville has the world’s 3rd biggest cathedral and at €9 to get in and even more if you want to get on the roof it might be the most profitable. I’m not religious and as I only ever take a couple of snaps I decided not today.

besides nothing could compare to the church roof at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on a windy day

Back at the campsite Cfor made the most of the late sunshine

Day 315 – Thursday 17th January 2019

Yet another overcast morning. Richard Ayoade said this place was the frying pan of Europe but I’m not so sure. A lazy morning before getting the bus into town for lunch.

The Bodega Santa Cruz looked the busiest tapas bar in town so I presumed it was the best

Lunch

Fried aubergines with honey, tortilla, patatas bravas, pig cheeks in sauce, calamari, a couple of cold beers & a glass of wine. Tasty stuff and when you consider it cost less than the price of admission to the cathedral a complete bargain.

Tomorrow we move on to El Rocio, cowboy town.

 

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