Day 395: Donana National ParkMarch 16, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C
Donana is a national park on the coast about an hour from Seville. We'd skipped it last time as it didn't sound that interesting, and we weren't really sure about how much we'd push for world heritage sites at the time. But now our situation is quite different, so into the car we went.
It's a large wetlands area that's very popular with bird watchers as it's an important stop for migratory birds. We drove down in the morning and headed for one of the visitor's centres. Unfortunately you can't actually go into the park without a guided tour, and none of the operators I spoke to were running tours on that day. So we had to make do with essentially looking over the fences.
The place we stopped had a 3 kilometre hike around a large loop, with several lookouts and bird-watching hides to stop at, which we did. I actually found it quite fascinating, once you sit there in silence and just observe the birds coming and going. It's almost impossible to film with an iPhone camera though, since I don't really have much zoom to speak of.
We did the walk, then headed down to the coastline to a sand dune area that is also covered by the park. Here you can actually walk in to the park, though the boardwalk was largely covered by sand from the dunes and it felt quite easily to get lost. Also a thunderstorm was blowing in and Schnitzel was alone in the car, so we finished our filming and beat a hasty retreat.
Stopped in the nearby town for lunch, where I had an okay hamburger and Shandos a salad. It felt a bit odd here, since it was an enormous developed beachfront area that was largely devoid of life. It actually felt like a lot of it had been developed just prior to the GFC, since many places were unfinished or up for sale. You see that a lot in Spain, and I think in many ways they're still recovering.
Last stop for today was the town of El Rocio, a sort of Andalusian cowboy town. The roads are all dirt, with whitewashed terraced buildings in a small village sort of thing. It feels very authentic, even though most of the buildings are early 20th century. Very much like a cowboy town from the American south west. Quite cool. We hoped to sit on the river front here and have an ice cream, but nobody was selling them despite the heat! Eventually some guy managed to dig a couple of Magnums out of the freezer and sell them to us.
Back to Seville!
Rested up in the afternoon before walking over to our favourite restaurant from last time, La Azotea. It was about a 15 minute walk since we're on the other side of town here, but it was definitely worth it! Amusingly, we managed to order basically the same thing as last time too - pork cheeks in red wine sauce, oxtail meatballs, and prawn & leek rice paper rolls. All extremely delicious, and topped off with a chocolate fondant!Read more