Back in January my super amazing husband told me he was taking me on a surprise date. He told me what to wear and off we went. Our first stop was literally right down the street from La Espadaña, where we were staying at the time. There was a barn there with horses that we had driven and walked by every day and I would always peek at the horses. Marcus arranged for us to go for a horseback ride on the beach! It was an amazing start to the day and to say I was content is an understatement. Little did I know, that was only the beginning of our date day. After we enjoyed lunch we hopped back in the car to head to Sanlúcar. Sanlúcar is a town about 35 minutes from Rota. Once we arrived near the pier we headed to the ice factory. I was pretty confused at this point and wondering what kind of surprise date could be at an ice factory. Maybe learning how to make ice sculptures? As we entered there was an information desk and we picked up some tickets. We were taking a ferry ride up the Río de Guadalquivir to el Parque Nacional de Doñana. My husband knows me so well and I couldn’t wait to board our ferry and explore the park!
The ride over was lovely. There was a little bar aboard the boat and we enjoyed a coffee while we took in the sights. Luckily for us, the guide spoke English in addition to Spanish. We were 2 of the 4 people interested in the English tour, so we got some great information and got to ask a ton of questions!
Our first stop was on the Natural Parque de Doñana side. We learned a ton of interesting information. I had no idea that wild flamingos spent their winters in Spain! If you look closely at the photo, the white specks in the water are the flamingos. We got a great view of them through binoculars.
After we did some birdwatching we boarded the ferry again to head across the river to the Parque Nacional de Doñana. We first toured a small village that was replicated to look like the structures people once used for homes. People once lived and worked in this area, which was known for charcoal production. At one point it was also a Real Cazadero, a royal hunting preserve.
After the tour of the village, we walked along beautiful wooden paths to a wildlife viewing area. We didn’t get lucky enough to see any of the native animals such as the Iberian Lynx or the wild boars, but we did get to see some deer. There are wooden pathways like the ones at the park all over and I absolutely love them. Here are some of my favorite photos.
I found a pretty pinecone and asked Marcus to take a photo for me. He wanted to have some fun with it as well…so he gathered some pinecones of his own and asked me to take a photo. One of my favorite things about my husband is that he is constantly making me laugh!
Life is better when you have a smile on your face and I know that I can count on my husband to always make sure I am smiling. Although we have been together for over 4 years, I am still amazed at the way one person can change your world for the better. I am so thankful to have a caring, loving, silly and thoughtful partner to share my life with!
At the end of the tour it was time to board the ferry for the last time. Sunset was beginning and it looked promising to be a gorgeous one. We had another coffee aboard the ferry to warm us up a bit and I had fun taking photos. This area of Southern Spain is so awe-inspiringly beautiful. As our date day came to an end I was feeling so loved, so content, and so blessed. Blessed to have an amazing man to share this beautiful life with, and blessed to have the opportunity that we have to live abroad!