We had our last day in Seville in the van in the rain. Welcome actually, nice to sit back and relax. On Saturday we decided to move on and headed south west to El Rocío in Huelva province, on the edge of the Doñana natural park. We had wanted to visit here on our trip earlier this year but the rains drove us away. It’s wet at the moment but should be OK.
PS: this is my parting gift from Gelves, Seville – two mosquito bites 😢
Before I go on just wanted to mention that we’ve seemed to have entered another phase with engine trouble. The engine warning light is now on permanently and although our journey to El Rocío was short (about 50 miles), we lost power a couple of times, so more frequently. Time to try again at a local Fiat garage to see if they can help us. This will mean travelling back to Seville as there are a number of garages to choose from that might be able to help us.
But before that happens, we plan to spend a few days here in El Rocío. One word about the Spanish if you will indulge me 😉. The campsite here is fairly typical in that Spanish weekenders like to spend their time having a good time. No harm in that at all. It’s usually loud though which for us reserved Brits can be quite a culture shock. Our current neighbours fancy themselves as entertainers, dancers and singers so plenty of loud music and lots of loud singing, and hand clapping. The singing was in tune thank the lord. It’s now 1:20pm in the afternoon and this could well go on until 11-12pm so I can’t say whether I will feel quite so indulgent tonight. I will keep you posted.
We spent our first afternoon visiting the town which is less than 5 minutes cycle ride away and boy, were we surprised. In a good way I hasten to add. The town has no tarmac roads, they are sand, hence the Wild West reference. There are lots of tourists about mainly because of the Hermitage/church more of which I will explain later. The town as a whole feels like it’s in a time warp with people riding horseback through the unmade streets and sitting on their horses at bars. There are cars as well though….
The town was noisy and put our camping neighbours in context. It seemed that everywhere we went there were people singing and hand clapping occasionally accompanied by a guitar, drum and/or flute. These were ordinary people, not paid musicians. We heard them everywhere, outside houses, in horse drawn carriages, and in bars. It seems the flamenco tradition is widely practised here by everyone, young and old alike. It was quite amazing.
So, this town has two tourist attractions, the Hermitage/Church and the Doñana natural park.
First the Church. Once a year, 50 days after Easter, hundreds of thousands of people come here on pilgrimage to the shrine of La Blanca Paloma.
The traditional way to make this pilgrimage is on horseback, in a horse drawn carriage or on foot wearing traditional flamenco dress. The celebration lasts from Saturday to Monday. Quite a party I should imagine. As we weren’t there in this auspicious occasion, I’ve ‘borrowed’ some pictures from the TripAdvisor site to give you a flavour….
The following day we decided to cycle to the Doñana nature park and take a walk around the visitors centre. The weather was sunny but much colder with a keen wind. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much in the way of wildlife probably because it’s the wrong time of year.
At our campsite we were adopted during our stay by this cat. We nick named him BB on account of his natural endowments….
We also managed to capture this image of a tiny lizard, the pink in the background is Eric’s finger blocking its escape as I took its picture….
We really liked this town but on the whole and would be happy to return to see more of the wildlife in the Doñana nature park at a better time of year.
Now we are heading back to Seville to go to a Fiat garage and try and get our engine problem seen to…..