Well, we took another trip during COVID-19, this time to Doñana and the Guadalquivir River. We survived, and guess what? We had a blast!!!
It was a quick 3-day trip with my mother-in-law, my husband and two children (Alex 5, and Victoria, 8). We stayed at Hotel La Española 2*, overlooking the river right as it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. I cannot begin to describe the magical atmosphere in this area. This is partly due to it’s history:
- Supposed location of ancient Atlantis that might have sunk below Doñana National Park’s marshes (see Disney Documentary).
- Area where Magellan left for the Victoria’s first around the world sail and where Juan Sebastian El Cano returned with only 18 survivors aboard the same ship.
- The only place in the world where wineries make sherry.
On our way from Estepona to Chipiona (about 2 hours), my husband had the idea to take a quick sherry tasting tour. I called up my local guide and she hooked us up at Bodegas Tradicion. It was only us and one other person on the tour. This winery uses old vintages sourced from other wineries to make their sherry. My favorite was the Oleroso, Jorge liked the Amontillado.
We arrived in Chipiona and checked in quickly. I had doubts about the hotel, but it actually was a great choice. La Española should probably be a 3* hotel, but is limited as it is so small. A quick drive to Bajo de Guía gave us the perfect vantage point for an incredible sunset over the river. We watched a merchant ship navigate its way up the river to Sevilla as we munched on tiger shrimp in sherry sauce.
The next day we rented a boat and motored up the river ourselves. We anchored off Doñana and went swimming in the clear water. The kids loved exploring old military towers along the sandy, white beach. We sailed out to a shipwreck, very cool! After turning in the boat, we had gin&tonics with views. Finally, we wrapped up our evening with muscadine and tuna based tapas at Bodegas Castillito beside the Chipiona Castle.
On our way back home, we took the long way home along the Coast of Light to see Vejer, Caños de Meca and Tarifa.
Honestly, the only restriction we had was to get dinner and back to the hotel by 11 pm. As I write this post, we no longer have curfew, and we are only one month from all vaccinated tourists visiting Spain!