Last time I explained how much there is to see in Seville and how we headed to Portugal the next day. Well if you know me at all you know that it is not that easy. Of course there were some stops on the way.????
The first stop was La Rabida down on the coast and across the river from Huelva. This is about an hour and a half drive from Seville and is the launching port for Christopher Columbus’s historic voyage. Here they have recreated the three ships used on his voyage along with the typical medieval European marketplace and native villages he encountered. I am amazed at how small these ships were for a voyage into the unknown and how many people they carried. The Santa Maria carried 40 sailors and was only 78 feet long…..and this was the biggest of the three.
When here it is important to visit the Monastery of Santa María. This Franciscan friary was founded in 1261 and the current buildings were started in the late 14th century. This is where Columbus stayed before setting out and the friars gave lots of support to his endeavor.
The second stop I wanted to make is to visit the Doñana National Park. This World Heritage Site occupies the right bank of the Guadalquivir river estuary into the Atlantic Ocean. It is notable for the great diversity of its landscape, especially lagoons, marshlands, fixed and mobile dunes, and scrub woodland. Home to five threatened bird species, it is one of the largest heronries in the Mediterranean region and is the wintering site for more than 500,000 birds each year.
There seems to be several different entrances into the park and I chose for us to enter from Huelva. Lucky for me there was a information booth when we checked out the Columbus sites and they told me to take the road from there into the park and where the turn offs were to visit some of the lagoons. We walked the foot paths of the Huerto and Pajas lagoons. Even though they were dried up this time of year it was wonderful to be in nature after three weeks visiting Morocco and southern Spain.
Ok. Now it is time to start a Portuguese adventure. Who is with me?