Jo’s Monday walk : La Rábida and Muelle de las Carabelas

Just in case you think it’s Portugal all the way from now on, I thought we’d pop over the border into Spain today.  It’s about half an hour drive from our home in Tavira, but once there I couldn’t resist traveling a bit further.  We did a lovely walk round the salt marshes at El Rompido with the Strollers, but then we carried on down the coast.  I had my eyes set on the monastery at La Rábida and the Muelle de las Carabelas- the dock where replicas of the ships that sailed Columbus far beyond the Iberian peninsula can be found.

It’s a pleasant spot, looking out on a vast expanse of water.  Boarding La Santa Maria, La Niña, and La Pinta I have to admit that I was in awe of the courage of their sailors, navigating by the stars.  The reproductions were constructed in 1992 to celebrate the 5th centenary of the Discovery of the Americas.  I could not imagine myself even sailing around the bay in them.  The museum tells the story of Columbus and the locals who shared his spirit of adventure, brought to life on a wide screen video.  Note that they are closed on Mondays.

My chief purpose in being there was to visit the atmospheric monastery of La Rábida, the Convento de Santa Maria.  A broad, palm lined avenue leads from the dock of the caravels, past a huge amphitheatre and up numerous steps to the grounds of the friary.  Surrounded by greenery, it’s a peaceful and lovely spot.  The Franciscan friary was founded in 1261, on the site of a former Almohad watchtower, from which its name comes.

The loveliest aspect of the monastery, for me, was the tiled courtyard surrounded by richly patterned cloisters.  The second storey, complete with battlements, was added in 17th century to protect from pirate invasion, but provides the most tantalising overlook on the mosaic tiles.

The friary is best known in history for the visit of Christopher Columbus in 1490.  His request for funding his first expedition to the Indies had been turned down by King Ferdinand of Spain and Queen Isabella, but with an intervention from the friary it finally went ahead.  The church lies just off the cloisters, still, serene and beautiful.

The artworks include frescos of Columbus and his adventures, by Spanish artist Daniel Vázquez Diaz, and some with an interesting 3D effect.

A wander through the grounds eventually brought us to some botanic gardens, a good place to sit and look out over distant Huelva, absorbing the surprising heat of December.  A rill of water, a koi pond and identifying magnolia seed heads completed our afternoon.  Time to head for home, waving goodbye to the Columbus statue as we pass by.

You know I can’t leave you without cake.  🙂  I only ate the raspberries, one wafer and a mouthful.  Honest!

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Hope you enjoyed my little sidestep into Andalucia.  Back in Portugal next week.  Meantime, many thanks for sharing.  I have some more great reads for you.  Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk?  I love a bit of company.

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Suzanne shares the beautiful landscape of New Zealand- a special place, I think you’ll agree :

Life at No.22 – Photo Walks – Papamoa Hills

It’s certainly shopping time of year.  Join Alice in a stroll round the shops :

Strolling and shopping in the city of Bayreuth, Germany

An ardent Liverpool supporter, my friend Drake :

You’ll never walk alone

A foodie and Barcelona- a match made in heaven for Jackie :

Buen Provecho

Kicking leaves rather than ass, with Geoff, this week :

Moving West #capitalring #walking

Tobias shares some beautiful ‘roofscapes’ in a clear blue sky :

Looking Up in Dijon

Don’t you love colour and drama?  I think this is the place for it :

Colours of Bogota- Outdoors

I like to share joy whenever I can, and this is a lovely post from Debbie :

Living joyfully: A Photo Walk & Memories

Once again Cathy dazzles with her photography and epic tales of the native Americans :

Canyon de Chelly: Spider Rock & other overlooks

Thanks again, everybody!  I suspect you can tell how much I’m loving this new life.  Wishing you all a great week!

138 comments

  1. Yes I’ve loved your little sojourn into Andalucia Jo! What an exquisitely beautiful monastery – it looks such a tranquil place and I especially love the tiled mosaics. We’ve just been watching a series on the great explorers of history and so naturally one of the programmes covered Colombus. I struggle to get my head around the risks and dangers they took sailing such vast distances on such rickety ships (by today’s standards) so it’s interesting to read this background to the story here. It must be lovely to just pop into Spain for the day! xx 🙂

    1. It’s amazing how very different the two countries feel, for being side by side, Rosemay, and I love that. The monastery came highly recommended and it didn’t disappoint. Thanks for your company at this busy time, hon. 🙂 🙂

      1. That’s really interesting to hear Jo – one of the fascinating things about Europe is the change of languages and culture over such short distances! I feel I’ve been rather neglectful of the blogging world recently it’s just been so busy here! Babysitting, Christmas parties, shopping etc …. Mlle arrives next Saturday so that’s my self imposed deadline to have things organised! I’m slowly getting our last trip written up – still it’s been fun to reminisce and look through the photos again. Always enjoy your walks as well 🙂 🙂

      2. It’s busy here but in a different way. We’ll be in a hotel in Leeds for a couple of days so we don’t have much prep to do. Lucky again! Sending Christmas hugs 🙂 🙂

      3. Leeds will be so pretty at this time of year Jo! I think they have a really good Christmas market? Lucky you don’t have too much prep! We always do a big “do” here on Christmas Eve for the family and a couple of friends then there is the excitement of Christmas morning and presents (for the little ones!). I’ve already got my present from Monsieur – a beautiful globe (one of those ones with the old fashioned sepia look but modern political boundaries on a lovely stand). I’m like a child I’m so excited! Love looking round the world and it will be such fun to show our granddaughters. Likewise sending you Christmas hugs and safe travels back to Leeds 🙂 🙂

  2. How brilliant to be so close to Spain. The botanic gardens look marvellous, and as for that cake, I think it would have defeated me, though it looks very lovely. So glad you’re having a wonderful time and good travels in your new home, Jo. And SUN! Though even we have sun today – and glistening frost. A big wave to you and him from Shropshire.

  3. Jo, this is a treat of a post! My heart soars at your beautiful photos … the serenity and peace of the convent of La Rabida is incredible and I can sense it through the images. The courtyard is wonderful with its warm stone, mosaic floor, arches and flowers! I wouldn’t want to leave. Blimey, those boats don’t seem big enough to cross the Atlantic…it’s fascinating to see them and learn a bit about the history of Columbus. Isn’t it great being in Europe when you can pop over for another country for a day’s outgoing … we’re going to be spoilt and well travelled with your posts! 😀🤗 Wishing you and your family a wonderful & peaceful Christmas, Jo! ❤️

    1. Location and charm had everything to do with choosing Tavira as a home, Sue. I’m sitting beside my Christmas tree feeling enormously lucky. Happy festive season hon 😃🎄🍸💕

  4. What a treat to see the replicas of the Pinta, Nina, and Santa Maria! The monastery is beautiful. It must be a good time of year to visit southern Spain.

    I love the blue skies. December is the rainiest month here in Seattle, so it’s been all grey skies and rain here.

    1. It’s been amazing since we got here, Nicki. One grey sky day yesterday and back to blue this morning. It does make one reluctant to do housework but I’ll have to today so I can put my little tree and Nativity scene up. All the very best for the festive season! 🙂 🙂

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