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A few years ago we were with our son Rubén in the Doñana Natural Park. The name of the ship is the same as that of the first steamship that made the journey, with travelers on board, between Seville, Sanlúcar and Cádiz on July 17, 1817.
Of course this boat, although its appearance is similar to what its namesake from the 19th century should have, it is a tourist boat and is equipped with the most modern advances but as its places are limited it is necessary to make a reservation a month in advance as minimum.
The boat leaves from a jetty located in front of the Park Visitor Center called the Ice Factory, which, as its name indicates, was the place where ice was made for use by the fishermen of Sanlúcar. The Center, which is located in Bajo de Guía, a fishermen's neighborhood whose main street leads to the sand of the beach, shows a very complete exhibition of what the Doñana Park is, its ecosystems, fauna and flora, and which is advisable to visit before boarding.
But the most interesting thing to do before getting on the boat, in my opinion, and taking advantage of the fact that the departure does not take place until four in the afternoon, is to have some Sanlúcar prawns, either grilled or boiled, along with Some fish from the area, all washed down with chamomile or fine, in any of the many restaurants in Bajo de Guía. Worth it.
The ship makes two stops where you can disembark and visit the area more closely. One in what is called “Poblado de la Plancha” and the other in a marsh area called “Las Salinas”. The town is a set of marsh huts in which the most important ethnological characteristics of the ancient inhabitants of these sites have been simulated, who have gradually abandoned the place. Well, while visiting it, we coincided with a group of people who got off some very unique all-terrain buses that came from Matalascañas, in the province of Huelva, and who had made the tour inside the Park.
This fortuitous encounter increased my interest in knowing more and better Doñana and since then I have been waiting to have the opportunity to access the Park from the other side, that is, from the province of Huelva, and make the visit by land in an all-terrain vehicle. like the ones we saw on that occasion. This was the main reason for a second visit to Doñana that I will tell about in another post.