El Rompido – A Ramblers Five-star – 21st – 28th March 2011
We are just back from an excellent week at El Rompido – a varied programme much enjoyed in the company of a very friendly group. At this time of year, at least, the area looks quite green and there are plenty of wild flowers and birds. There are acres and acres of orange groves too, some still decorated with bright, ripe oranges. Audrey, our kind leader, issued dire warnings about the mosquitos, but they didn’t pose a problem.
Probably too early in the year?
We had two delightful walks from the hotel, mostly in the surrounding forests of umbrella pines, including a short ferry trip one day. A day’s walking in the mountains made a complete contrast, visiting a small town, a shrine, and the vast excavation made by the Rio Tinto mining company. We even pioneered a new route! The expedition to the Coto Donana was the highlight of the week, despite having to get up at 5.30 am (Yes, we did!), and our expert, English-speaking guide Gonzalo showed us all sorts of birds, animals and plants. Apart from the serious stuff, driving through the sand dunes was great fun. But Seville ran the Coto Donana very close with its astonishing buildings, all curlicues, carving and colourful tiles. The Alcazar and its lovely gardens were especially memorable.
The hotel is a large one and the big restaurant was rather hot and noisy, particularly at dinnertime, but the extensive choice of interesting food at the buffets made up for the discomfort. The temptation to go back to try just a little of something else was hard to resist. Our bedroom was spacious and very comfortable. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time to sit on our patio, as we were kept pretty fully occupied. Even the drive back to Faro airport at the end was part of the pleasure, taking us along a motorway lined on both sides with flowering mimosa.
We hope the “first timers” in the party enjoyed it as much as we did, and will be encouraged to try other walking holidays.