Sunday 7th & Monday 8th May
0920 start leaving the reservoir behind us, passing poppies along the edges of the road and small fields of really old vines. The earth here is orange and red punctuated either by vines in their neat rows or the green of the pines.
Back through the Villagordo – this time on the right road so no dramas. Travelling through the Sierra de Mira mountains we were very soon we were crossing a series of really high bridges across the turquoise lakes created by the damming of the Rio Cabriel – stunning, both as scenery and as feats of engineering – only shock was the low level of the water this early in the year. Apparently they have had a really dry spring too.
Then we started crossing the famous spanish plains. A huge wind-farm of over 100 turbines looked small agains the vast flat land around. Wheat fields, beautiful and green, vines in huge fields of red earth, fruit trees, olive groves and the road going on forever in a straight line, across the plain.
Turned towards Cordoba and at 1pm changed driver after pulling off the motorway for a Carrefour and finding that Sunday in Spain is reminiscent of how Sunday in Wales used to be – closed.
Kept driving past huge olive groves and occasional citrus orchards – we now understand why Spanish supermarkets are so full of tins and jars of olives and vats of olive oil. Further south, ripe golden wheat fields took over from green. Looks like summer has arrived down here. Outside temperature 33C.
Had a bit of an adventure when the tyre pressure alarm went off whilst doing 70mph. We pulled into the next service station which had a nice little restaurant/bar attached. Having decided that the tyres were probably over-heating rather than losing pressure, we went inside for a cold drink to let them cool down. Heaving with local villagers having Sunday lunch and a bar full of bikers watching a race, who emptied out as soon as it finished. We sat at the bar entrance and within minutes a couple of Guardia Seville police officers came in, guns on hips, for a coffee. A couple of minutes later a much smarter looking Policia Locale came in, exchanged greetings with the other 2 and went through to the back – presumably for his lunch. No-one blinked.
Moved on and within 20 minutes the alarm was sounding again so we pulled into a deserted service station and checked the pressures. One of the tyres was showing 90 PSI when normal is 75 so as we are not tyre experts we let some air out and carried on safely without further incident. Made us very glad of our tyre monitor gadget.
Reached Seville and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, hit heavy traffic and a huge motorcycle rally. The Satnav took us perfectly to within 200m of our destination then had a bit of a fit but we circled until we got it right. The Aire at Puerto Gelves is really nice – we were lucky to get a space even at this time of year. It is a small marina development, gated, which also allows motorhomes to park up on the piece of land between the marina and the Guadalquivir river. Which gave us fantastic views from our door down across the river and the yachts moored by its bank. We parked up and headed to the marina restaurant for cold beer.
Enjoyed it so much we returned for tapas at 8pm – 2 x sherry, a bottle of red, and 5 course tapas including chicken liver, jamon serrano, pork with whisky,’meat’ with tomato sauce and chorizo came to €27 – fantastic. Back to the van to find it was too hot for Danny and he needed to really cool down before sleep – every window and the door fully open to assist.
Monday was jobs day. It was 23C at 9.30 so perfect for washing. Hand-washed in the van and filled the rotary washing line – all dry in a couple of hours tops. Got out our summer wardrobe and put away our winter clothes in the boxes we store in the space where we removed the spare bed mattress – great extra storage. Put out our awning for some shade and did some other van type jobs through till lunch which we ate under the awning, a nice gentle breeze coming up the river. Watched the birds. while we relaxed, and were lucky enough to have a pair of red kite making use of the eucalyptus tree on the far bank for their courtship and mating. Watched him feed her a fish before sneaking in for a very quick encounter then both looked guilty and pretended to ignore each other. A bit later she started showing a bit of interest in him again but he pretended not to notice and started pruning himself. Men!
Eventually dragged ourselves away from the hard work of birdwatching to wash the front of the van and get the huge array of multicoloured bug remains off it. This was team-work, Kate washing and scrubbing and Danny braving the 33C heat inside the van to point out the bits that weren’t coming off. Obviously after that there was a requirement to rest again in the shade.
We braved the 5pm heat to look for the supermarket. After nearly getting ourselves killed on the main road we failed miserably to locate the Aldi, walked though a barrio to find a small grocery store which was closed, and staggered back to the port for a cold beer. We had earlier spotted what we thought was a petrol station for boats at the entrance to marina with men stood outside having a drink, so that was where we headed, and found it was actually a pretty little bar – with some locals having a drink. After a cold beer we determined to come back for a nightcap later.
Having returned from grocery shopping empty handed the larder was pretty bare so we ended up with a chilli & chorizo pasta. Danny creatively made up for the lack of garlic bread by filling a couple of tortilla wraps with the pasta – why have one carb when you can have two? He is convinced that spaghetti tortillas could be the next big thing.
Later returned to the bar which was full of locals and their children, enjoying tapas, and sampled their manzanilla sherry. There was a really good vibe so we stayed for a little while listening in to try to understand just a bit of what they were saying. Given Danny’s 2 Spanish courses we did very badly. The bill was a refreshing change at €1 a glass, and very nice too.
Sauntered back and sat outside listening to the frogs start their serenade. We appear to have found the sun!