A good old-fashioned day trip! If you read this blog, you know we love to use our extended stays as bases to take all sorts of day trips.
Our friend and Spanish teacher, Ana, knew of a great restaurant in a little pueblo, so we used that as an excuse to take a day away from Seville and head out for some food, nature, and relaxing adventures.
Heading out of Seville, we drove through a huge bird sanctuary where storks seem to be the big bosses of the area, building massive nests on top of trees and any man-made structures that’ll hold their weight.
We didn’t get any pictures of them, but we joked that some of these nests must be multi-bedroom condos. They were big enough to rival some studio apartments for humans!
If you know us, then you’ll certainly know that good food is a priority. Heck, it was the whole basis for this adventure!
So then, food is where we stopped first. We had a reservation at Casa Paco in the little poblado of Colinas, which is next to the small town of La Puebla del Río.
It started out as a tiny, family-run restaurant back in the day, and has since turned into a massive draw for people all over the region. It’s quite large now, but retains its rustic charm and turns what has to be one of the smallest villages we’ve ever visited into a bustling parking lot of customers hungry for its famous pato con arroz (duck with rice stew), among other delicacies.
Since the sun was peeking out, we decided to start our meal with a seat on the patio and a cervecita. If you’ve ever been to this region, then you know this is more or less a requirement to start a long, relaxing meal of tasty delights.
Heading inside, we found our reserved table and were greeted by the staff, who know Ana from her previous visits to the restaurant.
We indulged in all sorts of local dishes, but the poor lighting left little in the way of good pictures. You’ll just have to imagine the glory of this food as if these photos were a little better.
After giving ourselves plenty of time to digest all of the duck and its accomplices, we decided to drive over to Doñana National Park.
This reserve covers over 200 square miles (540 square kilometers) of green space in the provinces of Seville and Huelva, filled with marshes, green hills, dunes, hiking paths, and an unfortunately threatened ecosystem that is now, fortunately, protected by the government.
In fact – de hecho! – this wetland and surrounding area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, blessed with the designation in 1994.
When we weren’t doing our best to imitate rally drivers and co-drivers lost on the back roads of the area…
…we were walking through the forests and rolling hills, checking out all of the greenery and being fascinated by the mounds of caterpillars we kept seeing along the paths.
Sorte, Ana’s dog and my new best friend, was feelin’ it as well.
An hour or two of that and we’d finally walked off our meals. The winter sun was starting to say adios for the day, and we decided to take off for a late afternoon coffee and dessert.
First though, an epic battle for shotgun on the way back.
We headed over to another town, Coria del Río, and found a parking spot along the Guadalquivir River. Dusk was setting and rain was creeping up on us, so we snapped some shots of the colorful sunset and boats on the water…
…and then ducked into the covered patio at a café to satiate our sweet teeth.
While Sorte is a great dog who didn’t mind hanging out with us, he still did his best to earn some snacks by posing for the camera. Sorry dude, no sweets for you!
I’m not even sure it took 30 minutes to drive to these places from Seville, making it a quick getaway from the city if you want some peace and quiet.
If you’re in the area, we certainly recommend you swing by Casa Paco for some local treats, and then huffing and puffing it off with a stroll through the park.
All in all, a fantastic day out in the parks and small towns, lazing away a Saturday with friends. Good times!
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Have you ever been to any of these places? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!