The border town of Ayamonte was our first overnight stop in Spain. The small white washed town bordering the Guadiana River has a compact centre that can be easily explored in a couple of hours. It has obviously seen some backlash from Spain’s financial hardship as there are numerous shops empty with boards in for sale or to let. That aside it’s a pleasant place to stop off on the way to or from Portugal.
After a couple of weeks of coast we were seeking some culture though, so headed to just outside the city of Huelva to the museum of Christopher Columbus. The Museum displays artefacts and costumes relating to his journey across the Atlantic, but best of all are the three replica boats, the Nina, Santa Maria and Pinta. You can climb aboard and explore the three caravelles in detail. It really does bring to life the feat that Columbus and his team achieved, amazingly his final voyage only ended 2 years before he died.
With more culture in mind we made our way next to the City of Seville. According to Lonely Planet some cities blast you away, others slowly win you over, Seville disarms and seduces you and I couldn’t agree more. Compact, rich in history and famous for its flamenco, tapas bars and orange trees, Seville is an ideal city break destination.
Its easy to explore on foot and we’d done this on our previous visit, but this time we wanted to understand more about the history and culture, so joined a free walking tour with www.freetour.com/seville.
You are guided for free and at the end of the tour you give the a tip based on your experience. We chose the Monumental tour which took in the main sites of the city starting at City Hall and taking in the Cathedral, the real Alcazar as well as the fabrica de Tobacco and Plaza De Espana.
Although Seville is a very historic city, it still has a modern side for you to enjoy. The best example of modern architecture in the city is the Metropol Parasol, also known as“Las Setas.”This mushroom-shaped monument is actually the largest wooden structure in the world and caused quite a stir when erected, given its unusual shape and style. It offers some of the best panoramic views of Seville from the top, but unfortunately it was closed to visitors whilst we were there so we only got to see it from ground level.
Seville also gives you splendid opportunity to devour some local cuisine. With hundreds of tapas bars dotted around the city, it’s an easy to sample the local delicacies. Do it like a Spaniard would and order just one or two dishes with a drink then move on to somewhere else. It’s a fabulous way to explore the city and taste it’s culinary delights.
At this time of year the trees around the city are laden with oranges, but these won’t taste good if picked to eat. The oranges in this region are mostly exported to the UK and used for marmalade and also in Beefeater gin! I knew there was an easy way of getting my 5 a day!
Ayemonte Purpose built aire next to the marina. This has to be one of the most difficult aires to access. There’s an outer barrier to get into the marina where you have to call a telephone number. Unfortunately with our limited Spanish and them not understanding English we got the the stage where we’d reversed out to find another spot when the barrier finally opened. Once in the complex there’s another barrier with an automated machine which is easy enough to work out. The cost of staying is €9.55 electric is extra at 0.08 per hour. Services are €3 however it’s good to do everything together as if you just want to empty the loo, but don’t need water it will still cost you €3! GPS 37.210602 –7.40623
Huelva Our overnight spot was outside the Columbus museum, where there’s ample parking. No services but you can park for free.GPS 37.210667 –6.925464
Seville All the positives I can say about this are that it’s secure and has services. It’s a huge parking area within a car transporter yard. Walkable to the city and it has washing machines and showers although we used our own. 12€ per night extra for electric. GPS 37.361988 –5.994442. We did spot a freeby on our way into town though at 37.369821 –5.995555 where others were parked.
Next stops the Pueblo Blanco’s of Andalucia.