Andalucia November 2000
Don Porter

Parque Nacional Coto Doņana, El Rocío

The Guadalquivir River flows south into the Atlantic from Seville. The last 40 miles goes through a broad swampy marshland, where nobles have set up hunting estates and lodges for many centuries. This century much of the marshland, with adjoining forest and dunes and beaches, has been preserved as the National Park of Doņana. This "everglades of Europe" is home for lots of wildlife, especially featuring millions of migrating waterfowl. Unfortunately, the rainy season starts after we were there, so the marshes were fairly dry and the birds were mostly elsewhere. We did see, in a tree, an Imperial Eagle, but it was not very close. The town of El Rocío is on the edge of Doņana, and is the home of the annual pilgrimage "Romeria Doņana" when lots of rowdy hermandades (fraternities) gather to carry the statue of the virgin around and party.

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