It’s still raining, but undeterred (as Ramblers are) we travelled north from El Rompido to Alajar; a charming tiny hillside village set in the Sierra de Aracena amongst woods of cork oak amongst which goats could be seen grazing. We took a short path through woods to the hamlet and arrived in the main square where we ate our lunch in pouring rain. Locals thought we were all quite mad. A few even madder Ramblers set out on a further, longer walk to the ‘lost’ village of Los Madroneros. Others sought refuge in bars and cafes. The walk was lovely, despite the rain. We saw tiny lambs, black boar and several mules on the way plus a couple of small dogs which seemed to be quite at home living with the sheep.
On reaching the very rural Los Madroneros, we could see smoke coming from one or two chimneys which looked very inviting but no ‘lost’ residents were anywhere to be seen. Here our Grade E walk ended.
It would have been good to continue on from the village as John said this would take us back to where our transport was waiting but that further walking would have been over our grade. A bit disappointing, but we returned the same way back to Alajar. We had travelled by road from El Rompido for more than 2 hrs to get into these picturesque hills and it was a great shame that because of the weather, some of us only undertook the shorter walk. (A suggestion for the future – if the weather is bad, maybe a nearer destination could be sourced?) We stopped to view the disused Rio Tinto Mine on the return journey – the red of the iron in the ground looked quite spectacular in late afternoon sunlight.
The Holiday Continues
The next day some of the group travelled to Sevilla. Others felt the need to chill a little & didn’t go having visited the city before, plus it meant another 3 hour return journey. It was actually a pleasant day for a change, so we stayed behind to enjoy the environs of the hotel, the coast and the marshes. Alan and I walked to El Rompido – there are always different birds to see across the marshes and around the little harbour. We enjoyed sitting outside one of the beachside restaurants with our coffee watching the sanderlings running in and out of the water.
We don’t leave until tomorrow and still have a longer circular wooded walk to do. Unfortunately it’s raining heavily again and feeling like we need the exercise rather than stay in the hotel, (too much indulgence from the night before?) only four of us, Claire, Alan and myself plus our enthusiastic leader John undertake the 4 hour 14 km walk from the hotel through the pine and eucalyptus nature reserve.
We talked about how mad we were and laughed all the way, even ‘holed up’ in a derelict shelter half way round for a refreshing slice of orange. No wildlife was to be seen apart from Claire hearing a curlew and alerting me to the fact I was about to step on a huge snail enjoying a deep puddle. We ate our picnic underneath tall pines dripping huge drops of water on us. Several paths which were flooded on the way out had become mini lakes on the way back, so there were one or two very wet feet by the time we returned! It was very enjoyable despite the adverse weather. Full marks to John for keeping us entertained and our spirits up as he has done all week.
Time to Leave
The weather hasn’t improved and our flight to London is in the afternoon. Not wanting to get our kit wet again we pack our bags and sit in the hotel bar playing a numbers game with Lucy and Rita and enjoying lunch. The weather hasn’t spoilt this holiday in the least. We have much enjoyed our introduction to this region of Andalucia and feel it deserves more exploration. In fact, on a hugely positive note, the rain is warm and we always meet such lovely likeminded people on Ramblers Holidays! (read part one of my blog here)