Seville to Marchena by Bike - 1st Day

"To Washinton Irving - in memory of his love to Spain" (30th May 1925). This inscription, written an bas relief on a plaque with the effigy of the Romantic North American writer, is work of the sculptor Mariano Benlliure, and is found on the wall of number 2, Callejon del Agua (Water lane) in Seville. It was the writer's place of residence during the point of departure for this route.

We will ride through the streets to find the point of exit from the big Sevilla capital. The Hacienda de Quintos /a country estate) situated in the Montequinto district (on the road to Utrera). Following Washinton Irving: we cantered out of fair Seville city, we gently ascend an earth track which will leads us to the top of a small hillock. From here it is possible to observe the last panoramic view of the large city of Sevilla behind us.

We Hill cross dry cereal lands, sunflowers fields and some olive groves. The track follows the smooth ups and downs of the ground, crossing the seasonally dry streams. On reaching the outskirts of Alcala de Guadaira, the abundance of eucalyptus trees contrast with the autochthonous vegetation of prickly pear trees and agaves.

We arrive along the course of the Guadaira River; Alcala de Guadaira is on the other side, extended over a headland. We enter the town crossing the Puente de Jesus Nazareno ( Jesus Nazareth Bridge) or Carlos III Bridge that go over the Guadaira River. The landscape of this town "the benefactress of Seville, that supplies it with bread and water" impressed our traveller: The Guadaira winds its stream around the hill, at the foot of these ruins, whimpering among reeds rushes and pond lilies and over hung with rhododendron, eglantine, yellow flowers and aromatic shrubs; while along its banks are groves of oranges, citrons and pomegranates, among which we heard the early note of the nightingale

We continue our route, leaving the city limits of Alcala de Guadaira along Avenida Santa Lucia. We follow the service road of the dual carriageway A.92, and once we have passed the San Juan de Dios estate (on the other side of the A-92), and reached an area called Las Majadilla, we cross the A. 92 on a bridge that after a short ascent leads us next to Alcala De Guadaira's prison for women. From here we begin to descend until we reach a lne called "Vereda de Gandul". From this lane we are able to make out the remains of the big tower and the church spire of Poblado (village) de Gandul.

"We set off on our ride across the Campiña. It was one of those vast plains, common in Spain, where for miles and miles there is neither house nor tree. Unlucky, the traveller who has to traverse it exposed as we were to heavy and repeated showers pf rain. There is no scape for shelter…he occasionally traverses great tracts of lands cultivated with grain as far as the eye can see, waving at times naked and sunburnt, but he loos around in vain for the hand that has tilled the soil. At length he perceives some village on a steep hill, or rugged crag, with mouldering battlements and ruined watch tower".

The completed flat lane takes us along the eastern side of Los Alcores from where we look over the Sevillian Campiña (open countryside), irrigated by the tributary streams of the Corbones river: an area of predominantly arable plains, speckled with occasional hillocks, smooth hills and headlands.

Once we have seen the row of white buildings hanging on the egde of the hill which correspond to the visible part of the villages Mairena del Alcor and El Viso Del Alcor, we reach the bottom of Carmona, situated in the extreme north of Los Alcores where we will ascend a hard and steep slope to access the town by Cale Arco de la Carne.

We take up our journey again, coming down from the town Carmona to Marchena. Unfortunately, nowadays it is only possible to enjoy a five metre wide path, compared to the original 90 varas castellanas (an old Spanish measurement equivalent to 75.23 metres) which have been swallowed up by adjacent lands. The countryside which the cattle trail crosses is flat, with the occasional small hill cultivated with cereals and sunflowers. The only trees visible are those that are situated in the proximities of the solitary cortijos (farms of farmhouses) which can be sporadically made out over the countryside.

Once we hace crossed the stream Arroyo de Brenes, near the Cortijo de la Albaidas (km 61), the vast plains gives way to smooth hillocks, low hills and olive groves. Soon after reaching the top of a hill, we get the first glimpse, over the horizon, of the journey: the town of Marchena.

We descend to an extensive plain. In front of us, we can make out a distance, a mass of trees which hide various cortijos. When we get closer we can observe that the mass of thick vegetation are in fact eucalyptus trees which stand out in the bair pain.

Among olive trees and on a smooth ascent we joint the road from Porcún to Paradas (km 66). We continue to the right on a tarmac road passing next to Hacienda el Palomar. This quick stretch of road (nearly 2.5 km) takes us to a crossing on the left, where we will turn off onto an earth lane.

After passing next to the large entrance of Hacienda El Fiscal, the lane becomes grey and sandy and passes wheat and sunflower fields. To the right and on the spine of the hillock. The tall towers of San Agustin Church, and the silhouette of a big silo situated on the outskirts, stand out. After crossing the railway line, we enter the streets of Marchena.

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