Spain 18 - 1492, Christopher Columbus, horrible histories and a crash bang whallop

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May 19th 2014
Published: May 19th 2014
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Sometimes you find yourself singing a song but adding the wrong words. Today was one of those days. We had planned to go to Seville and then to Huelva. OK you say where in the world is Huelva and why are we going there? And for that matter what has it to do with a song. The Hollies “On a Carousel” is the song and the connection has nothing to do with Heulva. As we were going to see caravelles the sea going ships of Christopher Columbus the Italian naval explorer known to the Spanish as Christobal Colon became a mantra for us as we sang On a caravelle very loudly in Suzy. Interspersed with " there are an awful lot of oranges in Seville."

It is Sunday. A day of rest. However most of Spain seem to be heading for the coast or to Portugal which is only just over the border by a gnats tail. It was a long drive in the hot baking sun. It is relentless and as northern Europeans we are just not used to it.

The colours of the fields quickly gave way to fields of sunflowers. Some green and with just the promise of flowers to come. Others with their huge heads pointing to sun as if grinning at it and spreading their sunshine all over the fields. Fields of black solar panels spoilt the view but they have to go somewhere. Mellow golden corn ripened. Some had already been harvested and baled. A month earlier than back at home at least. Potentillas bright yellow completed the picture as they grew wild at the side of the road.

We drove through the modern port of Heulva. Container ships in dock, huge petroleum tanks and Repsol signs. It reminded me of Ellesmere Port with its oil refinery. Rather ugly. Our destination was the Murelle de las Carabelas. A cross between a theme park, a history lesson in Christopher Columbus and his search for the New World, an education centre and museum.

It’s 1492 and Christopher Columbus is setting off from Huelva with three caravelles , The Pinta, the Nina and the Santa Maria hopefully to discover the short route to the Orient. His navigation is a bit out of sync and he finds islands that are now in the Caribbean. He meets the natives, gives them European diseases, most die off and he returns to Spain a hero. Sounds like horrible histories. He does this four times gaining more riches for Isabella and Ferdinand and for himself before dying. His body is buried many times and is now reputedly entombed in Seville cathedral. On the other hand the Dominican Republic think they have it instead. We are hoping to see it tomorrow when we get to Seville.

The museum which costs a couple of euros to go in has audio visual material and artifacts but everything is in Spanish so we gave them a miss and has replicas of the three caravelles moored in a lagoon. They are authentic and fully rigged and well worth the visit to see what life was like on board one of these tiny ships. And they were tiny. The thought of travelling across such an expanse of ocean in them was a daunting prospect. Below deck were the provisions and it is not hard to imagine the rats, the weevils, the scurvy and conditions aboard the ships.

Around the perimeter were all the items he needed to provision his ships and the usual quayside buildings associated with harbour life in the late 15th century. Further round there were replica native huts complete with hammocks, bare natives spearing fishes, cooking meals and weaving. All a bit clichéd but nevertheless entertaining. . Hisbiscis plants completed the scene and just to tickle your audio senses the noises of parrots permeated the grounds.

We ate lunch a simple tuna salad with croquette caseras in the tiny cafe.

A fun afternoon before we headed to the Donana national park for our evening camping at La Aldea el Rocio. But before we got there – crash, bang, whallop. A huge stone flew up off the car in front, smashed into Suzy’s windscreen and gouged a hole the size of a pea in the glass. From it a spider like web of cracks appeared. Luckily only a quarter of an inch long and have not spread so hopefully we will get home before they do. Another dip in the pocket to pay for a new windscreen which will be no mean task in the motorhome.

La Aldea was another ACSI site at 16 euros and again we were told to park anywhere. It was a dusty site and a little car went round a regular intervals to spread water on the sandy road. Everywhere is sandy with dunes reminiscent of the beach. Reception as usual helpful. No restaurant or supermarket in sight again. We have been poorly served at the places we have visited this time and the fridge sadly looks a touch bare. Washing machines available at 3 euros so it was time to do the chores before we moved on. I am beginning to suffer from withdrawal symptoms - I need a supermarket .

Tomorrow we will arrive in Seville another Moorish city with Real Alcazar which we intend to visit. I am falling in love with Moorish architecture and cannot get enough of it.


19th May 2014
Provisions for the journey

This part of the world is very alluring.
21st May 2014
Provisions for the journey

Ilove italy and croatia but have to say the moorish architecture is absolutely stunning

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