Posted in Spain

9th February – 3rd March, Spanish Winter Sunshine

After waiting for 2 years following the Covid pandemic, at last everything came together after struggling to get the online forms completed and finally we departed from Portsmouth landing at Santander 28 hours later. It was a relatively short drive to Palencia through the lovely green Extremadura side of Madrid for an overnight stop. We we walked alongside a river with medieval bridges and into the pleasant town plaza with the church taking pride of place. Our first stop was celebrated with a beer on the plaza in warm Spanish sunshine.

Travelling south through huge green fields lining the roads, gradually we noticed the land changing to the oak tree filled hilly fields called Dehesa where the black Iberian pigs are raised for the traditional ‘jamon’. A second stop over on our way to the south coast was at the beautiful town of Trujillo with a large central Plaza, lovely cathedral and castle with fantastic views. It certainly was a memorable and beautiful town to spend the night outside the bull ring, and we could easily spend time here on a subsequent visit.

After only 3 days and a total of 640 miles from Santander, we arrived at El Puerto de Santa María, just west over the bay from Cádiz. Nice to relax in the sun and stay still for 5 days with time to explore. We walk to most places and enjoyed the promenade beside the sea with pine trees for shade, wild flowers and large recreation areas for picnics under the trees. There is a huge fine sandy beach and clear sea, it is great for a relaxing with small bars, restaurants and views of Cádiz over the sea.

We took a ferry to Cádiz and spent the day following a walking trail around the Medieval area of the city. The town hall and cathedral are two of the main tourist attractions along with numerous other churches and schools. The narrow streets with tall high buildings offer shade and breezes and the centre is laid out on a grid system so it was easy to find your way around. Located on a small peninsular it is quick to walk from one side to the other and there are great views of the long beach or back towards the city.

A trip recommended by friends was to Gutiérrez Colosia sherry bodega not far from the ferry terminal. We were informed about the processes involved and walked around the tall, cool warehouse full of large American oak barrels containing the she, the smell was beautiful. We had a tasting of 6 different types of sherry with crisps and nuts and water on the side. It was so interesting and our guide was knowledgeable with good English. At the end of the tour while we sipped our sherry, we were happy to try out our Spanish and spent 30 minutes chatting in both languages, both learning from each other. A thoroughly good trip.

Time to move on, and it was a nice short drive of under two hours to Bella Vista Camping close to where we would be meeting our friends at the nearby marina in Duquesa. This is our 4th visit to this area and there are walks in either direction along beach paths with protection zones to encourage the native fauna and flora. We added a few birds to our growing list, saw gannets diving out to sea and watched scuba divers coming back onto the beach.

On leaving the campsite we planned to cross to Murcia with a one night stop over at Salobreña. There was a beautiful beach and we saw the pretty white town with its castle at the top, didn’t walk up there but noted for another trip.

Arrived at Murcia at a large free Aire by Ikea and all manner of other out of town shopping outlets. We took a tram into the centre of Murcia to walk around the old centre for a while, found the cathedral which was huge and unfortunately closed, the large town hall with flower gardens and fountains and several plazas with interesting architectural features. There was no doubt other things to do and see but it was a flying visit before going to friends in the mountains tomorrow.