Rota and Seville, two cities you must see.
Sailing Cygnus Vilamoura to Rota
We set sail from Vilamoura in Portugal on a 100 mile passage across the bay towards Rota in Spain. We knew it was going to be rough when we set out as the wind was blowing harder than Jeremy Clarkson jogging. Some members of the crew were starting to moan, that is when they could actually hold themselves down long enough. I knew when we rounded the headland off Faro the wind and swell would be behind us and Cygnus III would settle down and really fly. Until then they would have to wait and they were hardly liable to get off, were they?
During the night we sailed along under a pitch black moonless sky but stars like pin pricks in a black satin sheet were everywhere. Unless you have ever been away from the light pollution of land it is hard to explain just how many stars you can see. Only Mother Nature and Walt Disney can create such beautiful panoramic views. We even had a pod of Dolphins playing for three hours with our boat, jumping out of the water within touching distance. It was truly a magical moment for Jordan and I who were on watch at the time. At some during the night we also managed to cross back from Portugal into Spain.
Rota town square
Early following morning we closed on our destination, Rota in the bay of Cadiz, some eighty miles from Gibraltar and went into the marina. Rota is a place we had never heard of before and I cannot understand why. It is a real Jewel with its white washed buildings, very narrow streets, long golden beaches and very, very friendly natives. I don’t know why but both Angelina and I said it felt like coming home. If you are reading this please don’t tell anyone else about Rota.
We really do love Spain, the ways of the people and if we had young children we would certainly consider bringing them up here. They are a big part of the community and are allowed to be children without being told off or slapped. They join in with everything and are welcome anywhere. It is strange seeing them running around in the bars of Rota well after midnight.
Feeling at home in Spain
I don’t think we have ever felt so much at home as when we sit out during the morning in the town square. It is surrounded by fully laden Seville orange trees giving a blaze of colour and scented air. Having a coffee, toast laden with virgin olive oil and chopped fresh tomatoes as we join in and chat to the towns folk is so relaxing. There may be a slight language barrier but it is never apparent as we seem to get ourselves understood with our primary school Spanish and arm waving.
It’s party time
Whilst sat out in the marina we were invited by a Dutch couple to pop across to their boat for a few drinks. As it was, some British friends on another boat, Tim and Nancy on “Larus”, came round so the Dutch decided to join us. Then another British couple aboard “Blue Jay” came over and joined in. Peter the Pole then followed with a bottle of Vodka he brought round to say thank you for helping him in. I think that night we drunk the entire alcohol content of our combined boats. By the end of the evening when people poured themselves off Cygnus it was funny seeing them staggering all over and getting down and dirty with the pontoon. I won’t mention that one never made the pontoon but hey, a midnight swim is good.
We felt like kings in a Spanish castle
The following day, once we had recovered, we went into the local town hall which is actually a restored 13th Century castle. There was a delightful Spanish lady who also spoke English working in the tourist office. She explained that occasionally they did a free guided tour and today was one of those days. We were welcome to come but the tour would be in Spanish. We dragged along our newly acquired Dutch and Polish friends. There were about ten Spanish people on the tour and they all insisted she told us about the castle in English. This she did. All the local Spanish people on the tour just wanted to talk to us in broken English or Spanish and once again we were made to feel very much part of the community.
In the town hall there are numerous rooms all meticulously maintained and adorned with years of history. In one room called the “secrets room” you can stand in one corner and whisper. Anyone else in the opposite corner can plainly hear what you say but no one else in the room can… really strange.
Rota has excellent transport links with the rest of the Spanish mainland so whilst there we decided to visit Seville by bus. We went along to the station, bought a ticket which was very cheap and waited at the back of a long queue. Again two local women who had seen us buy the tickets grabbed hold of us saying something in Spanish and took us to the front of the queue to board. We still don’t know why but we were grateful as some people who were on the bus going to Jerez had to stand up. They are wonderful people and we just wish we could translate Spanish words better so we could understand more.
Seville, one of the most beautiful cities we have seen
Angelina in the Palace in Seville
Seville or Sevilla is stunning. There is no other way to describe it. It seems to have been built in a time were money was no object and opulence and grandeur was the order of the day. There is without doubt a very strong Arabic influence everywhere but each new turn made your jaw drop. The city centre is surrounded by immaculate parks with an inner sanctum of very narrow streets and passageways. Trams and horses and carts run side by side on the bigger roads. The palace of Alcazar is totally in a league of its own although you have to watch the slippery tiled floors from the open-mouthed tourists drooling everywhere. We cannot imagine the amount of man hours that went into its creation but it is without doubt our favourite building in the world to date. There is not enough time in one day to see everything you want to see in Seville and words alone are not enough to describe it. If you ever get the chance don’t you dare miss it. There are flights to Seville from the UK.
We did eventually get back to Rota but wished we had more time to spend among the delights of Seville.
Fresh fish cooked by Dr Who
The following night a crowd of us went out to the local fisherman’s cooperative, a café where some of the local days catch goes. For a minuscule amount we ended up with a huge plate of various seafood some of which came strait from an episode of Dr Who. Most of it we had never seen or heard of but in was gorgeous.
Whilst we are here we intend to catch the local ferry from the marina which will take us into Cadiz just across the bay. Just for a change it will be nice for someone else to drive.
In such a small area we found three must see cities we will never forget. Rota, Seville and Cadiz.