It was a slightly delayed start to day 48 as I spent a little time cycling around the streets of Seville. Like many towns and cities in Andalusia, cobbles seem to be everywhere and I have spent a significant amount of time over the last few days teetering on the edge of narrow pavements just to avoid the grief of having to travel along streets that were clearly designed pre-bicycle and which now persist because they are unarguably very pretty. Some of e pictures that I took on my city tour are below. Of particular interest was the tobacco factory which is (or at least was – I forget what the guide book says) the second largest building in Spain. It’s now part of the university but to have such a grand, ornate building as your tobacco factory shows just how important the commodity had become, and how rich it had made those who were involved in the trade.
It was another tangle with the autovia network before I could say that I had escaped Seville and when I had moved over to the western banks of the Rio Guadaira I was in for a stiff climb along a feeder road before I could rejoin the normal regional road heading for Huelva and the coast. There were a couple of oddities along the way. Firstly, to the west of a town called Olivares I noticed some tall towers in the distance. Just to the right of the top of the towers was a concentration of bright light. As I approached it became evident that this was some kind of solar power generation farm. I wasn’t able to see the array of mirrors that was reflecting the rays of sunlight to the top of the towers but it was without doubt an impressive and unusual sight. The second curious sight was a large bull towering above me next to the road and only a short distance from the solar power towers. Made from metal I am told (via Twitter) that these bulls were once part of an advertising campaign by a company called Osborne and they are now listed monuments. It was an interesting contrast to see within the same view the industrial past and cutting edge futures of the Spanish economy.
Once I had joined the main A472 which would eventually lead me to Huelva, things became a little less interesting I’m afraid and I settled into once long grind of a cycle. The town of La Palma de Condado was my only real amusement of that part of the day; I deviated slightly from the road to cycle through the town centre (cobbled of course) to discover the most beautiful square with a pristine white church with blue decoration the main focus and the square itself dotted with palm trees. Against the deep blue of the sky it was a very attractive place to sit for a few moments and relax. It was of course deserted as it was early afternoon. Even the bar had shut so I was left to my own devices to sit and stare.
Shortly after La Palma, as I was approaching the town of Niebla, a familiar face appeared in front of me. It was my cousin Richard who had just passed me on the road. After having met up on day 46, we had gone our separate ways on day 47 but had agreed to share a campsite on day 48. He agreed to drive ahead and find a suitable place. He did and texted me the details of a site near El Portil on the coast just south of Huelva.
The cycle after Niebla become hellish as the wind picked up and I was in a steady war of attrition against the force of nature that I, like most cyclists detest. The problem is that the wind will no doubt be a constant over the next two days in the lead up to the finish at Cape St. Vincent so it’s a case of grinning and bearing it. That won’t stop me moaning about it however as those who follow me on Twitter will no doubt discover.
Huelva was modern and horrid. It welcomed me with a smelly industrial plant processing wood and then was just a series of block after block after block of dull apartments. I crossed the river estuary via a very long bridge which at least had a segregated bike path. This path continued through a pretty pine forest all the way along the side of the cycling-prohibited A497 to the campsite, Playa da Botta. If the road had disappeared this very last part of the cycle would have been a delight. As it was it was simply a nice way to end the day.