Parque Marítimo del Mediterráneo is a man-made leisure facility in the autonomous Spanish city of Ceuta. Ceuta borders Morocco and is a natural harbour on a spit of land which has the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. This makes for dangerous swimming conditions, hence this park! The salt water pools are filtered directly from the sea and it’s open during the summer months. The park also houses an casino, sun lounging areas, a concert area, gardens and eating facilities. It is a beautifully designed facility and was commissioned to César Manrique, the architect and artist.
Founded in 206BC to settle wounded Roman soldiers, the settlement of Italica now lies 9Km from Seville in Spain. Italica’s Roman population of the time was an astonishing 8000, but now all that remains are the ruins which have been excavated since the late 18th Century. Most of the mosaics have been removed to museums, but some notable ones remain, and the viewpoints give a good idea of the layout and scale of the place. The amphitheatre which could seat 25 000, is impressive and it’s scale gives an indication of Italica’s importance. Emperor Trajan was born here, and he is generally thought to be a positive leader. His relatively untarnished reputation has lasted nearly 200 years! Perhaps his demeanour was inspired by this vibrant Roman town. No matter, I am no history scholar but this is a place well worth a visit. And for EU citizens it’s free! Non-EU it’s Euro1.50 so not too bad. Parking is free, and for public transport, buses run from Seville from Plaza de Armas (though don’t quote me on that since we drove!)
Evora is a UNESCO world heritage site. And it’s lovely too! From the Água de Prata Aqueduct, to the Roman Diana Temple. From the Royal Palace to the luxurious Pousada there’s little to dislike in this small city voted second most desirable place to stay in Portugal. With a history dating back over two millennia it’s gone through Roman conquest, Moorish invasion and then reconquest relatively unscathed. The friendly people make this a traveller’s dream, and it is easy to get by on broken Portuguese and English. No one seems awfully keen on Spanish, which is a pity. For me anyway! Hey ho, when in Evora…….