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Road Trip Through Spain & Portugal

October 27, 2019

With the boat safely moored in the Almerimar Marina, we rented a car and headed off on a two-week road trip through Spain and Portugal. We left on the heels of a heat wave that had swept through Portugal and northern Spain and we dressed accordingly; sandals, shorts, and T-shirts. By the time we were finished there was snow in the mountains and we had purchased winter-wear.

We drove through southern Spain with its vast olive groves that eventually gave way to cotton fields. Our first stop was Granada to see the Alhambra, but evidently we were at high season and tickets were sold out for a month. We even tried buying tickets at midnight when cancelations are posted, but no dice. Next was Seville with its huge gothic cathedral, third largest church in the world, and the Alcazar with its blend of Islamic and Christian architectures.

We drove north through Portugal visiting small coastal towns on our way to Lisbon. We enjoyed seeing endless sandy beaches which are a rarity in the Med. Then on to Santiago (aka Galicia) and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the terminus for the Christian pilgrimage to the shrine of the apostle Saint James. The cathedral was undergoing restoration and scaffolding and plastic sheeting obscured much of the interior views. But the neighboring Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago was well worth seeing.

The weather turned cold and rainy as we drove along the northern coast of Spain. Again, we focused on the small towns tucked into snug harbors. We especially liked Luarca with its rugged coast and fleet of small fishing boats.

The Palacio Real in Madrid was a magnificent reminder that royalty has its perks. The palace included an extensive display of medieval armor and weapons. Next door stood the rather modern Cathedral de la Almudena with the Altar Santa Maria. In Toledo we visited the impressive Cathedral de Toledo, repository of the Monstrance which was made from the first gold Columbus brought back from the New World.

When we returned to the boat we did a major replenishment of food in preparation for our upcoming Atlantic crossing and then we left Almerimar headed for Gibraltar. The overnight trip was marked by two wonderful events. A pod of pilot whales joined us and swam in front of the boat like dolphins, turning occasionally to look up at us. The second event was in the middle of a moonless night when a pod of a dozen dolphins joined us. Their bodies glowed with bioluminescence giving them a ghostly appearance as they crowded each other to ride our bow wave. The luminescence was so bright it was as if we were shinning a light on them.

We arrived early the next morning in Gibraltar and checked into a marina. We will do a little sightseeing, a bit more provisioning, and then head off for the Canary Islands.

Granada & Seville




Northern Spain


Madrid & Toledo



Back to the Boat


From → Travel

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