Lost in Sticky, Sweet Seville

Sorry I´ve not been blogging lately. I´ve just not had the motivation over the last couple days. The intense Andalucian heat here probably has something to do with it.

I guess you could say the theme for my time in Seville was that I got lost, literally and figuratively. The first afternoon when I arrived, and I tried to find the place where I was staying (which was a bit separate from the main hostel), I got a bit lost trying to find my way back. Same with my expedition to and from the grocery store. (And after getting lost so much in Granada, I was getting weary of going in circles.)

I also felt kinda lost at the hostel at first, too. Trying to adjust from being in my own room to a dorm room with bunk beds (and dealing with construction noise at 7am in the morning, on top of the crazy heat) …

Even trying to fit myself into a crowd of fellow travellers didn´t seem to come as easy as it did in Valencia. This felt like a bit more work involved. I actually almost asked myself, ¨why did I pay the whole amount for this place? It´s not as great as people are making it out to be …¨

But things slowly started working themselves out. I actually also got a few decent nights out, out of it, and met some interesting people. Two Canadians from Kelowna making a Spanish pit stop in their year-long travels around the world. A Nigerian who lives in Barcelona and decided to vacation in Seville. An guy from Belfast who´s a former journalist but is now a writer (and has a black but wicked sense of humour, to boot). A handful of Australians and a couple Kiwis. And I also ran into a small number of Americans – some living or about to return to the States, others new or recent expatriates.

spain-2007-240Sightseeing-wise, I managed to redeem myself in Seville a bit for not seeing as much in Granada. I got to see the enormous Catedral and Giralda (the belltower which was a former Muslim minaret from the Almohad mosque of Seville), and the Alcázar (the royal palace – beautiful!) … I walked past the bullring, went down to the Guadalquivir River, walked around the Torre de Oro (literally – I couldn´t figure out how to get in!) … walked in and out of streets covered by these huge canopies to keep the heat off … saw the Plaza de España … I could go on.

Two things I didn´t do, even though I said I would:

1) A boat tour of the Guadalquivir River. It would have been nice, but I just didn´t feel like I had the time, or enough energy to tackle it …

2) I broke the vow to myself to see some real flamenco. The hostel I stayed at had a tapas and flamenco night, but they were all local places, very small. And last night – which would have been the night I would have gone – I spent most of it in the pool on the roof terrace of the hostel, then napping, then out for tapas. I think the travelling and pushing myself to try and do as much as possible finally caught up to me. I couldn´t help it, though. It was so nice just to sit there and feel the sun on my back and legs. Oh well. Can´t win them all, right? I hear there might be flamenco I could try and take in while I´m here in Madrid, so maybe I can fit that and a bullfight in there somewhere. But I have to do at least one of the two, otherwise I won´t forgive myself.

So that´s all for now, kids. I´ve now reached my last destination before home, and am in my new hostel (which is in the city centre, brand new, and really nice from what I can see so far). I really didn´t want to leave Seville just yet, and now I´m trying to process that this trip is almost over for me and that I´ll have to return to reality and all that entails.

Hopefully I can end this trip with a big bang.

Gaudi 2, Headbumps 1, Mullets 0 (So Far)

I did waaaaay better today than I did yesterday, I think.

I got up early enough, but because I´m slower than a tortuga in the morning, I raced to the tourism office and made the Gothic Quarter tour by the skin of my teeth.

(Note to self: try NOT to do that tomorrow on the Picasso tour.)

I actually quite liked the walking tour. An old city wall here, the remainder of an aquaduct there … and lots of gargoyles. And I loved the narrow streets. (Well, it was during the day and there were lots of people around – what´s not to love, right?)

Then I wandered around … tried to get into this “museum” housing collections from whom my travel guide calls “Barcelona´s most celebrated packrat” (and as a fellow packrat myself, why wouldn´t I be interested?), but it apparently doesn´t open Mondays.

But after wandering around and going back the way I came, I got to the cloister of this church, Catedral, which has a fantastic garden, a fountain you can apparently drink from, and geese – if I understand, there are 13 of them (I think) and they “guard” the church.

So after having a lomo sandwich (tasted like chicken, but if someone could tell me what lomo is I´d appreciate it), I decided to make my way up the Passeig de Gracia to tackle my first Gaudi work – the Casa Mila, a.k.a La Pedrera.

It wasn´t too shabby. And the scupltures that have been haunting me the last few weeks (they´re famous … in pictures and postcards everywhere) – I finally found them up on the roof! I only had two dumb moments: one before the tour, when I went to collect my audioguide and couldn´t understand a word the guy at the audioguide desk was saying (because he was speaking too fast) and the other, when I was in the middle of my tour, and there was a dark room that was supposed to show a 5-minute movie about society in Gaudi´s time and I whacked my head on the far wall looking for a button, something, anything to start the movie. I quickly skipped over that, rubbing my head, and just headed into the Gaudi apartment … which was great.

After, I went back down the Passeig de Gracia and decided to do Casa Batllo, too. I figured, what the hell – I was already there. And besides, the humungous lineup I saw earlier was maybe half a dozen people by the time I got there. That was awesome. Gaudi was a genius. And I saw the chimneys too … a must-see if you´ve never been there.

So I think I´m going to call it a day. Supper awaits … and I have a feeling that´s going to be another sandwich :).

Tomorrow – hopefully a bit of Picasso, shopping … and tapas!