Ayamonte to Zafra

There is an old tidal mill on the outskirts of Ayamonte. We thought the museum would be open Sunday morning. It wasn’t, but we took a walk on a path in the tidal flats nearby.

We left Ayamonte and headed towards Zafra. After a few miles we stopped for fruit and cheese at a roadside rest area.

We stopped in the little town of Jerez de la Caballeros. We had snacks and walked around a bit. Driving the narrow streets was an adventure in and of itself.

On our way from Jerez de la Caballeros to Zafra we happened to see a sign for a Roman Bridge. We took a short path through the woods and there it was a second century bridge built by the Romans.

Nearby we stopped again to take pictures of a castle on a hill and what the signs said was a medieval bridge.

We are staying at the Parador in Zafra which is built in the 1457 Alcázar de los Duques de Féria.

After we checked in we went down to the Plaza Grande for coffee. Coincidentally they were doing some kind of art installation. First a woman carved a palm tree stump with a chain saw. Then another guy painted it and finally a bass opera type singer serenaded it. The whole thing was rather strange but the people watching was great fun.

We had a typical elaborate and tasty meal at the Parador.

Appetizers

Main course.

Lamb stew.

Veal sirloin.

And for dessert- fried ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Mazagon to Ayamonte

This morning before we left Mazagon we spent some time at an overlook beside the Parador. A couple of years ago a wild fire encircled the Parador.

We didn’t have far to drive today so we took back roads. We saw lots of orange groves,

and storks.

This afternoon after we checked in at Parador Ayamonte we sat outside our room and played hearts. For those of you who have played cards with Duke in the past you’ll be interested to know that he lost at hearts both yesterday and today!

This Parador is built on the site of an old fort overlooking the Portugal Spain border. The original fort located here was built by the Muslims.

For dinner we went into the town of Ayamonte and had wonderful paella at Bistro Vintage.

Seville to Mazagon

This morning we walked to the train station in Seville, rented a car, and managed to find our way through the narrow Seville streets to the road out of town.

Tonight we are staying not far from the Portugal border at the wonderful Parador de Mazagon. It a beautiful day and we can hear the wave crashing from the open door of our balcony.

This afternoon we took a walk on the beach and played cards on our balcony.

b

We had a great dinner at the Parador. The only pictures I remembered to take were of dessert.

Seville

We had a very full and fun day in Seville Thursday. We started in the Plaza de la Encarnación where we went up on top of the giant wood structure that the locals call the mushroom.

Underneath the giant mushroom are archaeological excavations and the remains of the Roman town.

After Butch and Myra visited the Cathedral we visited the Archives of the Indies. They are between exhibits so we only got to see the building itself.

Next we all went on a buggy ride around Seville.

It was wonderful. We saw things we hadn’t seen in our other visits to Seville. The Plaza de España was built for the 1929 world exhibition. It is colorful, big and beautiful.

Our final sightseeing stop of the day was the Royal Alcázar. It is a palace and gardens parts of which were originally built in the 10th century. This first picture is of the ceiling in the Hall of Ambassadors.

From the outside the Alcazar doesn’t seem that big but inside it is an enormous peaceful oasis. We

almost lost Butch and Duke in the maze.

Madrid to Seville

It rained off and on all day today. We walked to the train station in Madrid and then from the station in Seville to our hotel.

I love European high speed trains. Our trip from Madrid to Seville was fast and easy. Once we found our hotel we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Seville with occasional stops for tapas.

We had a great dinner at Chic&Olé.

On the way back to the hotel the rain had stopped and the cathedral was lit up.

Madrid

Our friends Butch and Myra joined us today. They will be traveling with us for the next two weeks. We met their plane and then spent the day showing them Madrid.

We stopped for chocolate and churros at Chocolateria San Gonés.

I especially enjoyed walking through San Miguel Market. They have such beautiful food.

The weather today was cool and it rained this morning but this afternoon it cleared some. We walked through Retiro Park.

Collioure to Madrid

Our train in Collioure left at 6:51 so we left our hotel and waked to the train in the very early morning light.

It was a twenty minute ride to Perpignan where we had an almost three hour layover before catching the train to Barcelona. So we were able to get our last French croissants and coffee while we waited.

From Barcelona we caught the high speed train to Madrid where we are tonight. We went to several nearby places and had tapas for dinner.

Collioure

Collioure where we are today is a stereotypically picturesque French seaside village. Even though it threatened rain most of the day we had fun walking all around the village and the surrounding hills.

We stopped for a mid afternoon snack at a cafe on the beach.

We had a tasty fish dinner.

Tonight is our last night in France. We have totally enjoyed France and the friendly French people. Easter Monday is a busy travel day so tomorrow we catch an early train (6:51 am). After three trains we will be in Madrid tomorrow night.

Carcassonne to Collioure

Tonight we are in a picturesque little seaside town on the Mediterranean quite close to the Spanish border. Collioure was full of people when we arrived.

We couldn’t get a dinner reservation until 9:30. When we got our place at the bar we had a fun tapas dinner at Casa Gala. It was a small place but it was packed with people all having a good time Everyone was laughing singing and enjoying themselves.