El Rompido 5-12 May, 2012
Where to start describing this colourful region and the wonderful walks it offers? Every day held new surprises, with our hotel as an excellent base – our first night set the tone, with us arriving to a delicious dinner and discovering what a treat was in store for the week: a varied, plentiful buffet, and a reserved table where we could start to get to know each other.
The village proved to be a delightful place to spend time when not exploring further afield, with its buzzing central square and cafes full of local characters. Walks in the surrounding area brought new sights and experiences – a ferry crossing to a sandbar for lunch among the dunes and beautiful beach views, and sandy paths lined with attractive greenery and flowers, to mention just two.
One particular highlight was a trip to Seville on our free day – everyone, including those of us who had been before, enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere, and personally I was thrilled to revisit the beautiful Alcazar.
A different, but highly enjoyable, experience was afforded by a jeep-bus tour of Donana national park, led by an excellent and knowledgeable guide. Along the beach, over the dunes, through the forest and over the dried-up marshland – we didn’t see a huge amount of wildlife, but it was all interesting.
There were many other memorable moments: seeing storks nesting on pylons and roofs; treading the sandy streets of the Wild-West-esque village of El Rocio; riding a local bus to the delightfully un-touristy town of Huelva with its lovely balconies and marble-paved walking streets.
It was interesting, on the trip to Huelva, to chat with a local student who wanted to practise her English and told us about the planned student demonstrations against increases in fees – we saw something of these in the town.
We were extremely lucky with the weather, which stayed hot throughout the week, and our last day saw some of us opting for a stroll to the village and a lovely long lunch on the beach – the perfect ending to this generally relaxing and enjoyable week.