I know a little place just outside of Seville

I love Seville, I really do, but
sometimes I yearn for green pastures, open spaces and somewhere that’s cobble
free. It’s the country lass in me you see. As much as I try to bury it beneath
an embrace of sophisticated urban living, at heart I’d rather be skipping
around fields picking daisies, preferably with a puppy in tow.
So in order
to keep myself on the straight and narrow, I try to factor in an escape from
the city at least once a month. So when an email offering kayaking in an
untouched stretch of the Guadalquivir River landed in my inbox, I knew it had
‘scratch Mary’s country roots itch’ written all over it. 
All I had
to do was get to Brenes, which is about half an hour by train from Seville in
the direction of the Sierra Norte, armed with some sunscreen, a hat and some
comfortable clothing and the rest would be in the capable hands of Vegactiva,
the organisers of the morning’s activities.
 Run by
couple Baldomero and Sonia, they bring their exceptional knowledge of the local
flora and fauna to every trip and as well as Kayaking, they offer hiking and horse
riding, plus an intriguing kayaking and horse riding combination.
But today
was just about being on the unspoilt and verdant stretch of the Guadalquivir, where the only river life was the stunning
array of wild birds rising majestically from the River banks, whilst serenading
us with their orchestral symphony. Other human life was few and far between,
with just the occasional fisherman perched on the river bank patiently waiting
to get a bite.
Most of us
were in two man kayaks, I got the easy gig, sitting in front with Baldomero behind doing the heavy work and steering. Not having any experience doesn’t
really matter on these trips as after the general chat on technique, it’s a
pretty relaxed affair, no one’s in a hurry, it just takes as long as it takes.
 After
kayaking for about 3 and half kilometeres, we drew up on a shady bank, out came
the iceboxes, stuffed full with botellines (little bottles) of beer and cider,
plus some homemade tortilla and other tasty treats. And then it was back in the
kayaks, on with the life jackets, and time to meander our way back to the
little piece of river bank we called home.
For more
information about trips with Vegactiva:
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