We finally left El Rompido on Monday the 13th of October and had a quick passage to Chipiona – not much wind so only managed to motor sail again! We were given the same berth as last time and soon settled in. Tuesday morning saw us head for the market to stock up on some good fruit and vegetables and then a quick cycle to the Super-sol to buy prawns (6 Euros per kilo!). We also asked the marina office to call the yacht club in Seville to re-confirm our arrival the following night. (it is rather daunting when you know you will be getting to a new place in the dark and comforting to know that the marineros will be there to meet you on the pontoon!) We left Chipiona around high water and motored up the river to just north of Bonanza – dropped the anchor and had a quiet meal before settling down for the night. I did the first anchor watch until 0030 and we had 3 ships pass by creating plenty of wash! Rob did the second half of the night which was a bit quieter in terms of shipping. In the morning we awoke to a slight mist and the boat was covered in lines of cobwebs from the top of the mast down to the boom. Goodness knows where they came from – we think possibly they were carried by the breeze from the forest on the west side of the river bank!
We left the anchorage about ½ an hour before low water and plugged the ebb heading north for our destination of Seville. The day was glorious - warm sunshine and a light breeze. We saw very little other traffic – one ship heading south until we reached the lock where there was a dredger working near the channel that goes to Gelves. Our speed gradually increased and soon we had to lower the revs. As we felt 9 knots was a bit excessive. We reached the lock around 1730 and knew we would have to anchor until 2100 so headed back to the Gelves channel where we had been advised to drop the hook. However as we were manoeuvring to do this another ship arrived and Rob called up the pilot to ask if we could join them in the lock. The chap agreed and so in we went. The lock itself is not very ‘yacht’ friendly! We were able to tie onto a ladder and had a bow line and a breast line attached there. The wash from the engines of the ship were a bit problematic but we managed to stay safe and soon motored out - made a sharp turn to starboard and anchored near the small jetty belonging to Marina Yachting Seville. We had supper and at 2100 called the lifting bridge – as per the instructions in the Pilot book, requesting the bridge be opened at 22.00. They acknowledged our request and so we duly set off up the river again under the large new suspension bridge and arrived finally at the lifting ‘Puente de las Delicious’ bridge. While waiting for the bridge to open we had a ‘toot’ from a passing Police vehicle on the road to the east of the river and later discovered that this chap has to be at the bridge to enable the road barriers to be lowered to stop the traffic. Apparently if no policeman arrives they aren’t allowed to open the bridge! We motored through and as soon as we were in sight of the yacht Club we heard voices calling us – our friends Mary and Bob whom we met in Alcoutim had (true to their word) turned out to meet us along with one of the club’s marineros. We were soon all fast and welcomed our friends aboard for a celebratory drink before turning in.
The facilities at the Club Naútico de Sevilla are excellent and of course it is in a fantastic position right in the centre of the city.
In fact about 300metres up river( on the other bank from here) there was a very luxurious cruise ship, we think it is full of Americans as we saw loads around the city yesterday!
On Thursday we met up with our friends from Sussex – Jill and Mike O’Connell who had flown in from Gatwick the previous day and were staying in a city hotel. We explored the centre of the city around the Cathedral (the 4th biggest in the world) and spent a leisurely lunch sitting under some orange trees having tapas in the Santa Cruz district, which is famous for its tiny winding lanes and alleyways with the occasional plaza. In the evening after supper on board we caught a taxi to a bar we had been recommended to visit where they have local flamenco artists performing. This was very far removed from the 'tourist' shows which charge around 35 Euros per head! We paid only for our drinks and had an interesting 2 hours of music, singing and dance performed by three quite young artists.
On Friday we had a stroll around the Plaza d'Espania and saw the magnificent tile work around the Plaza all built for the World Exhibition in 1929.
We then walked through the beautiful Parque de Maria Luisa which is huge and was created as part of the exhibition. It has a vast number of plants and tree species from around the world, with delightful 'glades' to rest in where there are seats and fountains etc.
We then went into the University of Seville a 19th Century building which used to be the cigarette factory (made famous from the opera Carmen) and is surrounded by a moat and has tall railings etc originally designed to stop thieving! Inside it was quite spectacular with marbled hallways and inner courtyards etc. An amazing place to study!
We crossed the road having walked through the building and found a great little place to have a cheap lunch (obviously used by the students!) 2 courses for 7Euros including a drink! After that we walked to the Alcazar an ancient palace which has the most amazing ornate tile and plaster work. It consists of several 'palaces' which are all joined together with courtyards and huge gardens etc. They provide you with an audio guide so you can walk through it all and here who built which bit etc. The earliest bits date from the 10th century so pretty old and it was added to throughout the 12th - 17th centuries.
Sunday morning we met up with Jill and Mike and took the bus to the main railway station to catch a train to Cordoba for the day as I doubt we will be back here again soon and it seems a shame to miss this famous city - it is only about 35 minutes away on the fast service. The journey was uneventful – fairly flat landscape mostly planted to citrus trees. On arrival in Cordoba we took a taxi to the old city and did all the touristy bits although unfortunately we couldn’t visit the Alcazar as it was closed on Sunday afternoons. The main attraction is the huge Mosque parts of which date to the 800s; it was built over an existing Visigoth church using its building materials and other remnants from a previous Roman structure. In the centre of this series of buildings was a renaissance style cathedral added in the 16th century - the whole place was fascinating and well worth the trip to see it all. After this we emerged to find it had rained heavily so we had a quick wander around the Jewish area – all narrow lanes and small houses with amazing terrace gardens, before heading back to catch our return train.
Our last day in Seville was spent doing the famous Cathedral and a climb up the Giralda Tower at its northern end, to get a magnificent view over the city. We were exhausted by the end and collapsed in a heap at a super taps bar and had a very long leisurely lunch before returning to the boat to get ready for our departure this evening.
We will not have WIFI for a while so no updates probably until we get back to Lagos in November.
Jacky and Rob