Monday, 29 February 2016

Spain 2016 - Not Andalusia Day

I got my days mixed up and thought today was Andalusia Day but it turns out it was yesterday. It is one of the 2 holidays that are exclusively Andalusian (the other is Maundy Thursday). The area we are staying in, Southern Spain next to Portugal, including Seville, Malaga, Granada, Cordoba and Huelva, is the autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain called Andalusia. The name comes from  the Arabic, Al-Andalus, which in turn means "Land of the Vandals" ( a Germanic Tribe who occupied the area).
Because we thought today was a holiday we headed across the river to Portugal and decided to explore the coast.
We stopped in a little place with a huge parking lot full of RVs. The beach had lots of people walking and the beach cafes were full.
RVs or caravans are everywhere. Some communities create a place for them. They need a good road in, a large parking area, preferably by the beach and would probably appreciate a place to get water. In exchange the community gets a population of retired holidayers from the Northern areas of Europe, who will shop at the bars, cafes, restaurants and grocery stores that might otherwise have to close in the winter season.
Caravans also are to be found anywhere they can find a parking spot; lookouts, parking lots, vacant land.
Miles of sandy beach.

Next stop was Cacela Velha. We parked outside the village and walked in, great views over the tidal flats from the area around the church.
Farming some kind of shellfish.
The inside of the church was simple and peaceful and
you can see the sea through the door.
The little castle was closed but there were information boards around that Mum and I read. The town had quite a Moorish history and the castle was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake and rebuilt in 1759.

This modern sculpture seemed quite out of place between the church and the castle.
Mum and I decided we wanted to come back and sketch but in the mean time we wanted to continue down the coast.
We drove down into this area of what we thought were beach huts (you would rent them and use them to store your beach stuff and you would change there, for the beach).
Upon closer inspection we found they were being used by fishermen to store their gear and freezers for the fish.
The town was Cabanas and the name was derived from the huts that the tuna fishermen constructed to store their gear during the early 18th century.
Looking further we found a lovely sea front area with restaurants and a walkway along the harbour.
It was lunch time. Dad had a pizza, I had a seafood salad and Mum had a Mediterranean salad. A bottle of wine came free with every 2 meals.
Mum and I had dessert and we all had coffee and it came to about $20 each, including tip. We'll be back.
We all walked a little, after this large lunch, on the convenient walkway.
A man walking his lamb down the street. No leash or anything.
The big modern fishing boats have huge plastic bins to sort the fish into but these old wooden boats have movable wooden slats that can divide the deck for sorting.
The harbour was predominately working fishing boats. Just one recreational boat, a huge blue trimaran.
We drove back to Cacela Velha, parked where Dad could birdwatch over the marshes and Mum and I walked back in.
Its a very pretty little village with whitewashed houses with coloured trim and
fancy chimneys.
Mum sat and sketched while I wandered down to the beach on a pathway next to the castle.

There appears to be a coastal path here, not just down to the beach but along the edge of the dunes. This shrub was just coming into little white flowers.
These daisies are also growing like weeds, everywhere.
I took lots of pictures of this piece of the castle wall as Mum plans to paint it
and I sketched it.
Although the church itself, built in the 12th Century, is pretty simple, the carving around the door has some interesting (and odd) symbols.
A bull with...... a stethoscope? ear buds?
A weirdly distorted head.

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