The Garden District – New Orleans.

A delightful stroll through the district of New Orleans where the wealthy white plantation and business owners lived – whilst the African Americans and Creoles inhabited the so called French Quarter.

They had a separate cemetery – known as Lafayette cemetery

Finally a great jazz band last night and then dinner at an Italian/ Cajun cafe.

New Orleans

Lost for words, all I can do is post pictures!

The men are morbidly obese, as are their trucks.

And finally until the next pictorial blog, here is a typical Gumbo soup – the “Captain’s choice”

A literary labour of love

At last I have managed to collate photos and blog posts of my incredible journeys over the past decade into published photo books. It has been rewarding. There are still countries and places which I have visited and for which a book is missing – New Zealand and Brazil for example. A cycle trip to New Zealand in January 2019 will stimulate me to produce a book covering the three or four trips to that country over the years.

The Obligatory Food Shots

In response to the many requests for “what is the food like in Spain” I attach without comment, the following:

With the just announced iPhone XS, such photos will be of course of much better quality – colour saturation, depth of focus. I can hardly wait to order one.

Donana National Park and the town of El Rocío

An extremely hot day but thankfully the drive to the National park and bird sanctuary was in a late model 4 wheel Toyota – air conditioned and with a careful driver, a vital criteria for me on all levels.

First stop the marshes and bird sanctuary

The rather dry dusty visitors centre with a storks nest. Along the road almost every power pole had a stork’s nest – hundreds of them.

Hundreds of bird species including flamingos

The town of El Rocío is quite something, it took me back to the days at the local picture theatre and spaghetti westerns , truely. The streets are pure sandy dirt, whilst cars abound, on weekends the horse rules and outside the pubs, bars and some houses are hitching rails. I would not have been surprised to see John Wayne swagger down the wide street as tumble weed was blown along by gusting hot prairie winds, and it was hot, believe me.

The rest of the day was spent slowly driving through the sandy scrub of the national park sadly the ecosystem destroyed last Century by the growing of eucalyptus plantations. We then arrived at the sand cliffs and dunes of the coast and the Atlantic Ocean, which I am forced to admit was rather a let down given the hype that preceded it. We do much better in Australia and especially South Australia and Kangaroo Island.

The Story of the Iberian Lynx

As we drove along it was explained to us all that we may be lucky and spy a lynx. It’s habitat was threatened , signs along the road urged caution lest the next lynx we see may be road kill. One could be forgiven therefore if one assumed that like the Australian kangaroo and wallaby, there would be a reasonable chance that we would come across an Iberian lynx. So we drove at walking pace almost, through sandy slippery roads in the forest looking eagerly left and right for about 90 long minutes, by which time the excitement and anticipation had worn rather thin!

Oh well sighed our otherwise excellent guide, they are mostly nocturnal and then, wait for it, he further explained, the current head count of the number of living Iberian Lynx in the Donana National Park is 11. Yes that is ELEVEN. Now let’s indulge in some mathematics here. The area of this National Park is 540 sq Km that’s 540,000,000 sq metres, divide that by 11, and you will understand that we had as much chance of coming across an Iberian Lynx, as I have of bouncing my bum on the moon.

I had two beers when I got back to civilisation and Seville.

The Plaza de España- Seville

The Plaza de España (“Spain Square”, in English) is a plaza in the Parque de María Luisa (Maria Luisa Park), in Seville, Spain, built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. It is a landmark example of the Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival (Neo-Mudéjar) styles of Spanish architecture.

The above paragraph is a cut and paste from Wikipedia which I acknowledge and the whole point is that I was gobsmacked to learn the whole delightful complex was built in 1929 , not hundreds of years ago. It is a delightful and very impressive “space”.

The Museum Park of Seville.

My penultimate day in Seville and the outside temperature at noon is approaching 40 degrees, both reasons to meander through the museums including

The Museo de Belles Artes

It is indeed worthy of that name and has an overall atmosphere similar to the Art Gallery of SA, albeit on a much smaller scale. The most famous painter of Seville was Murillo, about whom I knew absolutely nothing until today.

The handsome security guard indicated that I should place my backpack in a locker, then with a somewhat unexpected giggle pointed in the general direction of my crutch and in sign language made it obvious that I should tuck it in. I gasped and for a momentary modest minute assumed my fly was unzipped (an increasingly common failing I admit). However thankfully he twiddled with the elastic long lanyard that secures my iPhone to trouser waist and thence into pocket. It was indeed dangling on my outer thigh. He giggled some more and did a charming demonstration of a pirouette of his hips, worthy of any picador to make the point that were I perchance to swivel in close proximity to a naked male marble statue, I may at worst catch the lanyard on it and bring it crashing down around me. Suitably touched and admonished, I did as told and meandered safely amongst the marble.

A special exhibition devoted to the paintings of Murillo

One of the many cool courtyards in the museum

The Museo de Artes Y Costumbes Populares,

is a basic simple museum that explores aspects of Spanish life over the last few centuries- it had the feel of the delightful museums that are lovingly maintained by volunteers of the local historical society in the country towns and villages of Australia. Perhaps more professionally curated though.

I have no pictures of the inside or displays, but a few shots of the exterior and park grounds

Tomorrow I visit a National Park then train to Madrid to catch the flights home