El Rocio, Southern Spain´s village of pilgrimage

20 May 2018 might be just another sunday for most, but in the tiny village of El Rocío in the south of Spain, it marks a very special event. "El Rocío pilgrimage is a cult that dates back to the 13th century, when a hunter from the village of Villamanrique (or Almonte, depending on which version of the story you follow) discovered a statue of the Virgin Mary in a tree trunk in the Doñana park. A chapel was built where the tree stood, and it became a place of pilgrimage. Devotion to this particular version of the Virgin was initially a local affair. Then, by the 17th century, hermandades (brotherhoods) were making the trip from nearby towns at Pentecost; by the 19th century, they came from all over Huelva, Cadiz and Seville, on a journey taking up to four days. Over the next century, the cult of the Virgin del Rocio became more and more widespread, and these days participants come from as far away as Barcelona and the Canary Islands - not to mention tourists who travel from abroad, around Europe and even further afield. Continue reading
 
The Trek and Ride cycling tour from Seville to Faro passes this very special place, as well as the majestic city of Seville, the National Park of Doñana, the old railway track along the coast of Ayamonte,the charming old fishing towns of Tavira and Olhao in Portugal and Faro, end destination of the tour.