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10 days of sun, wind, great day trips to the most beautiful places in Andalucia – I guess it was time to get moving again.

Time to say: “Good bye” to the “Hotel Playa de la Luz” after a good breakfast and after having loaded the trunks of our cars.

You may recall that we had offered M. and B. to take the road through the “Sierra Norte de Sevilla” on our way to Guadalupe to make a stop in Constantina to visit the “Castillo” as well as the city.

We’d be crossing the Sierra, Andalucia and the Extremadura on country roads – lots of nature to be seen but also a quite long drive.

We let the hotel behind us at 9:30am direction Seville – we have made this route millions of times and could drive it blindfolded.

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I had researched the “Castillo de Contantina” – we had seen it on our way to Carmona, but did not have the time to visit – and according to my sources the Castillo was open for visits this day as of 9:00am on.

Now, when we left we did not know that we were in for a little adventure in our attempt to visit the Castle. We entered the city of “Constantina” and followed the instruction of the Sat Nav (aka Google Maps) which led us into extremly narrow streets which also started a rather steep incline – a fact that made our blood pressure rise slightly and made us sweat despite the airco on.

Had I not been to busy helping Manfred to navigate I would have taken some pictures – so, just take my word for it.

All would have been OK, if – as a reward for the adventurous ride – we would have reached the Castillo. All of a sudden we encountered a car parked in the street, no way to pass it.

We stopped – I got off the car to find a gate to the Castillo and stairs leading up to it. The gate was locked and a sign explained to me that the site was closed.

Picture the situation: A narrow street – just broad enough for one car to pass – one car parked, two cars (ours) on an incline in the same street. (The view was great – though.)

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To cut a long story short. We had a challenging time turning the cars around – we succeeded though. As we could not visit the “Castillo” – maybe we could at least walk through the streets of Constantina, take a coffee somewhere, watch the inhabitants and just enjoy.

None of that happened that day – one might start to think that had been a conspiration against us. Litterally NO parking place was available for us to park the cars and to walk around. The streets were full with cars, people – actually one could start to think to be downtown Frankfurt at rush hour.

After 20 minutes of trying to find a place to legally park the car we surrendered to our fate and decided to leave Constantina – tough luck for them.

On our way out we got to know the reason for the busy situation down town. There seemed to be a market-day. Just outside the city, there was a space to park the cars. I asked Manfred to stop here and to take M. and B. back to at least get some pictures of the market and hopefully some other interesting views.

I volunteered to guard the cars.

It did not take long for them to return – quite disappointed. Manfred managed to take a picture of the “Castillo” but not much more.

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Courtesy: Manfred

Best to move on and not to waste more precious time here.

We have good memory of “San Nicolas del Puerto” – the little village with the public beach swimming area. M. and B. had seen water snakes and crayfish which they wanted to take better pictures of. But before we did that – I insisted in having a cup of coffee, that is why we stopped at the village church, looking for a bar to have something to drink.

“San Nicolas del Puerto” is a small village but charming – with the white church in the middle and storks waiting for us on one of the church towers.

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Courtesy: Manfred

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Courtesy: Manfred

We did not have to look hard – as in most villages, all bars, restaurants, cafés are situated around the center of the village: the church.

The heat was sweltering again – we started to miss the “Poniente” – the wind that brought the cool to Rota, they could use some here as well.

The bar looked “closed” – blinds down, door shut – quite normal in this heat. We entered and appreciated the cool inside, well facilitated also by an airco humming from the wall. I ordered at the bar – the owner looked at us a bit surprised I suppose, “San Nicolas del Puerto” does not receive too many foreign visitors.

After 1 litre of mineral water (no sparkling water outside the touristic hubs), two café solo (Jesus, you could wake the dead with them) and a “caña” we drove down the road to the village exit/or entrance – depending from where you were coming – to look for water snakes and crayfish.

While Manfred, M. and B. researched the water where they had seen the water creatures last time I walked around taking some more pictures about the river beach.

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As I had said in my first blog entry about this project – I think this was money well spent.

Being the responsible tour guide I keep an eye on the watch and I remind my fellow travellers that it is time to hit the road again. M. and B. were unsuccessful in their picture hunt for water snakes and crayfish – I hope they will not hold us responsible for that, after the “Castillo” desaster this morning.

We leave the “Sierra Norte de Sevilla” and and also the autonomous region Andalucia to enter the plains of the Extremadura.

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Quite a change in landscape but that was the purpose. We would not have benefitted from this had we taken the highway.

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Passing by oceans of sun flowers and barrier lakes – a necessity to provide drinking water for the population in such a vaste space.

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Courtesy: Manfred

It was already 3:00 pm when we entered another Sierra, nested in which there it was the village of Guadalupe dominated by the Monastery and the Basilica.

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Courtesy: Manfred