♥ by Eva
A lot has happened in our lives in the last few months. While I’m writing this, I’m already sitting in my parents’ living room in Germany. This is why it feels a bit weird, nostalgic, to go back in time and recount our travel experience in Spain. The reason why we already finished our trip is, of course, the dear money. We knew we wouldn’t be able to travel forever, but we thought we had a little more time. Until we received an email from the French tax authorities one rainy morning in Portugal. And all of a sudden, our trip had theoretically come to an end. So we calculated and argued and in the end decided to finally leave Portugal, enjoy Andalusia for a while and then head back to France to Julien’s parents while trying to figure out what to do next.
Julien and me had both been to Spain before and we were quite excited to hear the language again, have some tapas and discover more legendary climbing spots which especially the South of Spain is famous for! (Just like for Portugal, we’ll dedicate a separate post to this topic.) So we crossed the border and headed straight for Seville. We tried to get some stuff done which turned out to be a mess and rather stressful – huge cars and busy, unknown cities are not a very good combo – but eventually park4night helped us find a really tranquil spot to spend the night at a monastery just outside Seville where we also – surprise! – met our Dutch travel friends Jose and Ruud!
The next day we went to do some sightseeing. We parked the camper in the centre and took the bikes and trailer. Cycling in Seville can be really nice, because there are quite a lot of well-done cycle lanes. But if you venture into the individual barrios it gets quite difficult. The roads are narrow and often one-way, the curbs are high and often have steps or stairs. We first tried to find some tapas in a bar that didn’t have pictures on the menu… A difficult mission! We found one where we could sit outside in the sun, unfortunately though, the food was disappointing (when have “patatas bravas” turned into fries with spicy ketchup and mayonnaise?). After that we cycled around, admiring the impressive buildings strewn across the city, and did some groceries in an organic shop (one of the few advantages of big cities!).
All that was quite exhausting so we were happy to meet our Dutch friends in the most beautiful little coffee bar near the Metropol Parasol where we had excellent frappe, the best green smoothie ever and delicious home-made cake. Check out La Cacharreria http://lacacharreriadesevilla.blogspot.de. And to complete the overkill, we got a portion of churros and chocolate to share from Kukuchurro right opposite. To share amongst us five, because the portions are huuuge. Then we cycled back to the camper along the river while the sun was setting – a beautiful sight. Despite the cold temperatures, the promenade was busy and the warm lights let the city glow.
After the busy city life we were yearning for some tranquillity so we decided to head direction Cerro del Hierro – an old iron mine in the mountains North of Seville. The climbing pros from Portugal had recommended the place, and even though we weren’t sure we’d be able to climb there, newbies that we are, we were sure to be able to do some good hiking. We got there the day after, and it offered all the calm we were looking for. The tiny village just before the sight was quiet to the point of being desolate, and the small parking at the sight’s info point was well-maintained and basically empty.
We spent a very cold night with temperatures around 0, and after a slow start the next day we packed up some lunch, I wrapped Carlotta on my back and we were off on a hike around the site in cold, but sunny and clear weather. We passed through fields of cork oaks, saw small stone chalets and bizarre rock formations, and found minerals like quartz and iron. We also wanted to visit the mines, but unfortunately it was too dangerous to access them at this time of year. In the end we hiked almost 15 km – not bad! We had planned to stay in that peaceful place at least one more night, but they announced -3 for the night so we headed South again instead, knowing that we’ll come back here when our lead climbing skills have improved a little.
So while we think that you can go visit Seville, or not, we really recommend seeing Cerro del Hierro – especially if you’re into climbing – but then we’re partial to natural sights 🙂