15km Chipiona to Sanlucar
We crawled out of our tent to a very cloudy day. It looked ominous and before long rain was pouring from the sky so we dashed back inside and discussed our options for the day. Rain and bicycles don’t go so well together. Even though we have wonderful rain gear that keeps us dry, we always feel slightly cold and miserable on days like this. We had friends to meet in Sanlucar – Yves and Ingrid, who were on holiday in the region from their home in France – so we packed everything up inside the tent and waited for the rain to stop. Before long there was a break in the clouds and we did a mad dash to get everything on the bikes and get on the road while it was relatively dry. The rain held off until we arrived in Sanlucar, a town famous for its Manzanilla sherry, and then it started to pour again with a new vengance, this time with a bit of wind added in. Our decision was clear, find a hotel and wait it out. Amazingly we found a clean room in a little pension for just €30 and then ran off to join our friends for lunch. Several sherries later and after a lovely lunch in a tapas bar (when in Spain…) we tried to research the options for crossing the Guadalquivir river, our main obstacle for reaching Seville. We’d been told it was possible to cross at Sanlucar and then follow cycle paths through the protected Donana national park. It turned out this was only partially true. Yes, there was a ferry to take us across the river but the “cycle paths” apparently do not exist. Several people told us that if you want to cycle you have to use the beach and a look on Google maps confirmed this. Biking on sand might work for unloaded mountain bikes, but for us with all our luggage we would sink into the sand and sit there. Thirty two kilometers of pushing did not appeal to us (the distance to the first town via the park) so our only option is to head north towards Seville and cross further upstream.