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Week 4: Seville and chill

October 25, 2021

To say that Spain is rather beautiful is something of an understatement. Our lazy cross-country journey this week has taken us past miles upon miles of olive groves, blanketing the gentle rolling hills like a patchwork quilt. A breakfast stop at an olive oil factory resulted in cupboardfuls of bottles of grass-green nectar (plus a fridge magnet) and full bellies from the enormous hunks of tostada and iberico jamon. Once out of olive country we meandered past fields of cotton and then orchards of orange trees.

Having experienced one of the most jaw-dropping sunsets I’ve ever seen, we pitched up at Dos Hermanas (two sisters, don’t know whose) for a few days, to relax, recharge (both ourselves and the van’s batteries) and, most importantly, do some laundry. I was delighted to find the pool still open and it was very much needed as the thermometer crept up to 33 degrees.

We chose this campsite as it’s a short bus ride from Seville, a city we’ve been looking forward to visiting. Starting off at Plaza de España, we gaped in wonder at the stunning architecture, the porcelain balustrades, mosaiced cobblestones, the ornate tiled benches and the rainbow-casting fountain in the centre. Huge coy carp swam lazily through the crystal clear waterway, on which you could hire a rowboat if you didn’t feel like you might burst into flame at any given moment. A tireless flamenco dancer strutted on a balcony, his wooden heels competing with the Spanish guitar nearby. Glorious.

We then walked past the Real Alcazar (the city’s royal palace) and started to wend our way through tiny streets hosting restaurants, bars, souvenir shops and art galleries. You don’t get through this city quickly. On every corner and in each of the numerous piazzas and squares is another delicious tapas bar or shop selling some delight such as nougat, artisan chocolate, pastries or other tempting treat. As has become our habit, we also had to frequent most of the tat shops to stock up on fridge magnets and postcards. I was disappointed not to find a matador’s costume for my nephew, but I shall continue to look.

Despite not getting very far we managed to walk a solid 15,000 steps, according to Samsung Health, a number that caused Ben to turn quite ashen, but we made up for it the next day by barely moving from the poolside/chairs, our most strenuous effort being to keep my laptop out of the sun, string up a few fairy lights and slap away a few flies.

From Seville we took the motorway south to the coast, headed for friends in Sotogrande. We’re currently parked up in their driveway, atop a steep hill that overlooks the Rock of Gibraltar and, in the distance, Africa. It’s a stunning view, and much less built up than the north coast. Yesterday I had my first proper sea swim (warm and wavy!) and ended the day collecting seashells on the beach before a delicious dinner. This week we’ll be heading into Portugal and will be very sorry to say Adios to this wonderful country, even if just for a couple of weeks.

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