Sunday, 4 April 2010

Sanlúcar de Barrameda

A beautiful, sunny morning. 18°C and rising so only one decision to be made. Coast or inland. Sea or scenery.
So it was, that at 10.30am we were heading west to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a large town of over 60,000 inhabitants north west of Jerez, about 130kms and 90 minutes drive from Olvera.
Sanlúcar lies on the Atlantic coast at the estuary of the Guadalquivir river and is particularly famous for its Manzanilla wine, a variety of sherry.

We saw signs for the beach so headed in that direction, parking the car near to the promenade.
And what a beach it was, spreading as far as the eye could see. Calcetines was quite baffled by the sand on her first visit to the seaside and despite taking her to the waters edge, she was determined not to dip a paw in.

It was pleasing to see that dogs were allowed to run and play, though probably only allowed because it's out of season.

It was quite breezy and several kite flyers were on the beach as were the horse riders below.

After strolling for an hour or so, we drove further into the centre of town to explore more.
Trying to park the car on the street however was a nightmare and despite several tours around the centre of town we were unable to find a space anywhere. After twenty minutes, nearly threatening to return home, we did eventually find an underground car park.
Hampered by a lack of any sort of map, we were reliant upon street signage for places of interest.

We walked through the mainly pedestrianised streets arriving at the Plaza del Cabildo, the main square of Sanlúcar, originally laid out in the 16th century and at which time was right next to the sea.
It was really busy with many restaurants all around the square.

Continuing through, we came to the Plaza de San Roque, again bustling with diners and people generally enjoying the day.

Heading on up into the old town, we came upon this quirky building, the "Museo del Mar" ( Museum of the Sea).

Unfortunately, it was closed. The roof is built like the deck of a pirate ship, Galeon Pirata del Truco.

Las Covachas (The Little Caves), its facade of Gothic decoration. Its original reason for existence is unknown though it's thought that it may have been the original facade of the Ducal Palace or possibly the old sea gateway in the town wall.

Onwards and upwards, we stopped at this restaurant in the Plaza de la Paz for a delicious tapa of scrumptious, tender pork in tomato sauce.

Next to the Plaza is the Parroquia Mayor Nuestra Señora de La Ó, built in the 14th century. The base of the bell tower is one of the seven original towers of the old Moorish fortress that surrounded the town.

Adjoining the Church is the Palacio de los Duques de Medina Sidonia, the former home of the aristocratic family who apparently owned most of Spain!.
The house is now an exclusive guesthouse and not open to the public.

The scent of the lilac trees overhanging the walls of the Palacio Municipal Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) was delicious.
Presumably one of the remaining ancient gateways into the old town, looking through to the Plaza Fuente Vieja.

As always, the older parts of any place we visit are usually the most interesting and Sanlúcar was no exception. Many restored buildings, others undergoing restoration and a few that need restoring.
Sanlúcar was well worth the visit but next time we'll try to find the Tourist Office as no doubt there is a lot more to be seen and enjoyed.

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