So yesterday evening we were parked between a Spanish caravan, complete with wound-out awning and a Spanish motorhome.
I did have an interaction with the Spanish motorhome couple as they were having problems connecting up to their spare LPG cylinder. Seeing that I took out our powerful spot-lamp. The owner was very grateful indeed that we had made the effort to help, though he arrived at the scene at the same time as me armed with a torch.
Having made the effort to move to the bottom end of the glorified car park to avoid the noisy Spanish family from last night, I was confident that we have moved away from inconsiderate Spanish motorhomers, but no. Having watched a couple of hours of DVD we turned in, only to hear that we had been joined across the way by another Spanish motorhome and at 23:30 they were tucking in to a meal with lots of conversation. Honestly, these Spaniards must go to bed on a full stomach.
I did dig out 'Henry Horn' with every intention of giving the selfish sods an early morning call, but then thought better of it, as it would have been very unfair to the nice Spanish couple parked next to us.
This morning we made an effort to get on the road and away from Seville while it was still reasonably quiet. Just one holdup. The Spanish couple in the caravan next door on the other side had obviously returned late and parked their car right on top of our hook-up cable, so they had to be knocked up. It's just as well it wasn't later and they were down in the city somewhere.
Having visited the dump station we were on the road to Carmona, about twenty-five miles east of Seville. I did feel a bit unsettled at the thought of the journey knowing that we had a satnav we really couldn't rely on. Before any more trips I will replace it with a Garmin brand. I've always got on well with Garmin. There is no perfect satnav, they all seem to have their quarks, but I can't rely on this 'Snooper' satnav any longer.
On arrival at Carmona we parked on the large, sandy public car park on the southern edge of the town *GPS: N37.464210° W5.649102°). Without much delay we were out and at it.
So a bit about Carmona:
Carmona is built on a ridge overlooking the central plain of Andalusia; to the north is the Sierra Morena, with the peak of San Cristobal to the south.
Places to see:
- Palace of King Don Pedro, built in the 13th century by Peter I of Castile. It was damaged by an earthquake in 1504.
- Moorish alcázar
- Palace of Rueda
- Palace of the Marquess of Torres
- Seville Gate Palace
- Baroque palaces of Alonso Bernal Escamilla, Aguilar, Domínguez, and Lasso
- Córdoba Gate, the gate on the road to Cordoba, partly of Roman construction
- Seville Gate, of Carthaginian origins, has the remains of later Roman additions, and was modified in the Middle Ages by the Moors and the Christians.
- Marchena Gate, built during the Almohad domination of Spain
- Roman Bridge
- Remains of the Via Augusta
- Tree-lined avenue of Alfonso XIII
- Roman Necropolis, discovered in 1881. It is located close to the town, beside the Seville road, and contains more than nine hundred family tombs dating from the second century BC to the fourth century AD. Enclosed in subterranean chambers hewn from the rock, the tombs are often frescoed and contain a series of niches in which many of the funeral urns remain intact. Some of the larger tombs have vestibules with stone benches for funeral banquets and several retain carved family emblems.
- The Tomb of the Elephant and the Tomb of Servilia in the necropolis
- Roman Amphitheatre, also discovered in 1881, together with a group of tombs, all belonging to the first four centuries AD, near the original necropolis.
- Ayuntamiento (Town Hall)
- Cave of the Batida
- Fountain of the Lions
- Hospital of the Mercy and the Charity Church of Saint Bartholomew
- Tower of the Peak
- Cerezo Theatre
- Carmona's restaurants and bars demonstrate a variety of Spanish cuisine including tapas and other dishes. The city is known for its traditional Andalusian cooking. A pub crawl of various bars, called the Ruta de las tapas (Tapas Route) is noteworthy; it is marked with blue and white signs, and even appears in the seal of the city.
- Typical Carmonan dishes include: sopa de picadillo (a chicken soup), chickpeas, snails, salmorejo, spinach, tagarnina (thistles), Serrano, partridge from the mountains, gazpacho, chickpea soup, tomato soup, potatoes,and cuajados (curdled eggs).
- Sweets include: torta inglesa, hojaldres (puff pastry), rice with milk, torrija (fried toasted bread with wine, milk or honey),polvorónes (shortbread), almond cakes, chestnut stew with cinnamon, porridge sprinkled with cinnamon, and cortadillos (sweet cakes). A variety of desserts are made in the convents of the city, mainly by the nuns of Santa Clara.
- A common alcoholic beverage is Anise Los Hermanos, which is distilled and packaged in Carmona; it comes in three degrees of dryness: crisp, sweet and semi.
Reads well doesn't it?
When we set out I thought The Chef was crazy for putting her puffa jacket on. I was sure the cloud would clear and we'd eventually have partly cloudy sunny skies, and warmth.
With no map to guide us we were making great efforts to remember junction names etc so that we could find our way back again.
Following our noses we ended up at the Tourist Information Office at the entrance to the Alcazar (castle). Then we were off on what appeared to be a tour of nothing but churches and convents. The only thing a bit different was the Alcazar del Rey Don Pedro (Fortress), now a hotel, and the rest of the complex, Cubeta (Artillery Bulwark) now a ruin.
After trudging around, and after three days in Seville it felt like a trudge, we decided to stop for lunch. For us the safest bet on the menu was a steak sandwich and a beer each. The steak sandwich turned out to be a pork slice. They do like their piggy-wiggies over here, well and cow snouts of course. They were swerved on just one plate with a few large crisps as decoration. However one of them blew off the plate and landed in the street as by now the wind was getting up, it was getting cool, and the cloud base was getting lower. The bill came to eight euros which was very reasonable.
We then started to make our way back, thinking perhaps we'd pop back out again later. Considering that our public car park was off the map which was given to us by the Tourist Office, we did pretty well at finding our way back.
We had timed it perfectly, as just after we arrived 'home' it started to rain quite heavily. That was a great excuse to stay indoors and do very little ......... except....... (drum roll)....... I turned the boiler on for the umpteenth time and it came on! I let it heat a whole tank of water just for the novelty of it. We clearly have some kind of intermittent fault.
During this period a cat appeared at our by now, open habitation door, as it had stopped raining. I gave it a bit of a shoo away as I didn't want it coming in. A bit later the owner of the cat, our neighbour, was calling out for it. I looked under the vehicle but could see nothing. In the end I could see that the owner was getting a bit stressed that the cat hadn't appeared and told The Chef I'd check under our bonnet. I got there with the key just as the owner did, and hey-ho, one cat hiding in our engine compartment. The little bugger didn't want to come out either. The owner was very grateful and said the cat had a thing about engine compartments, he though it liked the smell of the oil etc, and he referred to it as 'The Chief Engineer'.
One good deed deserves another and later our neighbour came and told us that tomorrow on the car park was the Monday-only market which would start at about 07:00. We've had experience in the past of waking up in the middle of car boot sales, so we were soon on the move, ending up in a side street just across the way.
I don't know quite what to say about Carmona, except that it has an awful lot of churches and convents and even more narrow back streets. Michael Portillo, he former Tory government minister in the days of Margaret Thatcher, and now television presenter of train journeys is supposed to have a home here, but I very much doubt it.
Tomorrow we head for Jerez de la Frontera, otherwise known as Jerez. My learned Chef tells me that the 'J' is pronounced as an 'H', and the 'z' as a 'th', so you get 'Hereth'. Which would mean that Jeremy Clarkson, knickname 'Jezza' would end up as 'Heremy Clarkson, nickname 'Hetha'.
We will now watch another couple of episodes of 'Blacklist' whilst parked by the side of the road.