• Richard and Petra

Adventures in Andalusia! Alhambra, Seville, Flamenco and Sherry!

We have had a wonderful few weeks exploring Spain and Portugal by bus, boat ferry, and car! Yes ! we took a road trip from Alcoutim across the Rio to Spain as far as Granada to see The Alhambra!

Up the Rio Guadiana, Alcoutim turned out to be an enchanting little spot. A special place where quite a lot of “ live aboard “ Yachties from Northern Europe, winter their boats at anchor.

It is a small rural town with a castle and a history of smuggling, some tourism, a zip wire from Spain to Portugal! Plus a constructed fresh water beach complete with bar! We saw wild boar whilst walking in the hills and lots of birds on our way down river. When we eventually cast off from our little safe haven, we caught the early ebb tide and the dawn sky was softly tinged pink with an upturned sliver of new moon rising.

Down river we spotted many herons, egrets, osprey, Crane’s and flocks of purpleback magpies as well as kingfishers galore! ButI am getting ahead of myself!

We berthed Celtic Star on the small pontoon at Alcoutim for 5 nights and set off on our inland venture by catching the 7.45 am bus down to Vila Real St Antonio and then the 15 minute ferry across to Ayemonte in Spain! From here we hired a car to drive to Seville where we stayed in an interesting Airbnb!

After an expensive encounter with a wall (*!*! )we found our Airbnb in the heart of a maze of tiny streets where cafes, restaurants and shops filled every corner. Situated two streets from the largest Cathedral in Europe and in the heart of this fascinating city which has flamenco,

history and religion jostling together, we wondered, wide eyed and without direction until we were full of the sights and sounds and ready to stop in a cafe to digest all we had seen over a delicious lunch.

Not only did we find the tomb of Christopher Columbus,

but we also ascended the Torre Ora

which was constructed to celebrate the first circumnavigation of the world, 500 years ago! As we are trying for our first circumnavigation, the artifacts and information displayed were of great interest to us!

The following day we visited Granada on a guided tour of the Alhambra and a walking tour of the old Moorish Town called the Albaicin. The Alhambra is a sprawling Hilltop fortress with architecturally intricate and awe-inspiring palaces built amidst delightful pools and gardens. My photos cannot evoke one iota of the extent of this monumentally amazing historical site but I will include a couple!

From here we had a brief visit to Cadiz before stopping in Jerez for Sherry tasting and the Andalusian horse show.

Having been to Sandemans in Porto we could not miss the equivalent tour in Jerez.

You may be wondering why Richard has 9 glasses to taste and I have only one?

In fairness we did share them! But that did not stop this happening.....

From there we visited Tio Pepe!

Where we also had a barrel of laughs!

Once we were full of sherry we went in search of dinner and found a local bohemian hole in the wall bar serving tapas on paper and your bill written in chalk on the counter! Plus More fabulous flamenco!

We are now back at anchor at Isle de Culatra where the summer season is ending. Even in the Algarve autumn is here and the days are shortening, evenings are cool, we are even getting heavy dew and fog!

Yesterday, we spent a lovely day wondering around the quaint old town of Faro and visited the very macabre bone chapel before we had a late lunch with Algarvian wine!

Now it is time to head to the Canaries, 600 miles south of here.Our crew arrive on Saturday 5th October and we will be setting sail for Fuerteventura where we should arrive after 4 to 5 days. Rig checks and boat preparation commence for this passage!

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