On Sunday we regretfully left the lovely campsite at El Rocio (OK, we fancied some peace and quiet, as boy, do they party there!)

1 campsite at el rocio

2 El rocio

Rocio

We decided to head south to have a look at the coast before we headed off to Seville.  The actual coast was a real damp squib, as far as we were concerned.  It was a huge strip development that gave us a Torremolinos feeling, so we turned back and headed north.  We had noticed that we were driving through the national park of Doñana  so we thought we might have a little look. The map showed that there was a large wild area, with a lot of lakes/rivers. As we drove into the park, there were lots of signs, warning us of lynx but we saw nada.  As we walked into the national park proper, there were signs warning about disturbing hornets, snakes and scorpions.  I stayed on the boardwalk and stamped a lot.

3 wild animals

The park it self was lovely, with nicely set out walkways, bits of sculpture and hides to watch the bird life.  Unfortunately the lakes were totally dry and there was no chance of seeing any wildlife due to a very noisy brat standing next to the sign demanding silence. 

4 wild animals 2

5 national park

We did see one bird, but it was….. a robin!  Very exotic.  Well, at least the cafe did a nice lunch.

It was also interesting to see an old mill that was used to extract the pinenuts from the pinecones.  Sadly this bit of kit is now out of action, but we saw some locals collecting the pinecones to do their own extraction.

6 pine nut mill

We drove on to Seville and found our hotel with no difficulty (I could not find a campsite at all near the city, but this hotel cost about £30 a night including breakfast, good old booking.com!)  The only problem was that the free parking was height restricted, but luckily there was a place to leave Camel right next door.  We spent the afternoon sampling the local bars beer wine and tapas, starting and ending up in the one just round the corner, a family run establishment with a great atmosphere and a nice line in entertainment  (small children running around).  We also liked the local version of Boris Bikes

7 Boris Bikes

On Monday we caught the bus into Seville and had a lovely time exploring the old town.  There is no way we could have done such a fine old city justice in the time available, but we loved the time we spent in the Alcazar.  It is huge, as you walk around the outside, there is a fine set of gardens, but you get no idea of what is inside. 

8 Royal gardens outside

This lady looked a bit cross (probably a queen)

9 miserable queen

And this monument to Christopher Columbus was way over the top

10 christopher columbus

I was intrigued by the plants around the city.  You could tell the Spaniards had been out and about.  I was quite entranced by the roots of one old specimen

12 rubber plant

And then when I looked at the leaves I realised it was a rubber plant.  The same species that used to share our living room until I managed to overwater it.  The tree was so tall I could not photograph it in any sensible way.  I always knew that pot plant was evil!

As we walked on we realised there was a little chink in  the Alcazar wall, a way in.  It was for…….

11 royal school

An infants school.  How weird is that.

We finally found the entrance to the royal palace (Allcazar) and paid the €8 entrance fee; we were not disappointed.  There are so many rooms, courtyards and gardens that we found it very difficult to find the exit.

14 royal garden 1

15 Poseidon

13 fan

A very unusual asymmetric fan

14 royal garden 1

16 water organ

The only remaining hydraulic organ in Europe. The only bloke who can fix it is British, apparently!

17 pewking lion with apron

Every garden needs a pewking lion with an apron

We then wandered around the streets, just enjoying the atmosphere.  Seville seems a more serious place than, say, Madrid, but the food was fab and we found the Irish bar. 

It was nice to see that the local police were ready for the Bromptons, despite the fact we took the bus

18 protection

I really liked Seille; there were some great sights

19 tower

But I felt someone should have warned this little piggy about going to market….

20 this little piggy

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