Friday, April 18, 2008

Post #796, wherein I get to some details about my holiday

So, we were all hopped up and ready for our brief stay in warm and sunny Seville. And then, just a couple of days before we left, it suddenly became apparent that it was going to be rainy and grey. Bugger. What can you do? We'd booked our tickets with hand luggage only, so we were committed to not taking big coats and cool-weather clothing...

"Well," I said, "It's not like weather forecasts are always accurate. Let's take a chance."

It's hard to travel hand luggage only, especially when you are allowed literally only one bag each, and that bag must weigh less than 10kg (22lb), and you want to cram in a video camera and stills camera and a couple of shirts and T-shirts and some spare trousers or two and clean underwear and socks and maybe some spare shoes... Hard, yes, but not impossible.

First things first, though: on arrival at the airport we had to queue at Ryanair's customer-service point to make sure our online-printed boarding passes were okay, since they said we were Irish (which we aren't) and that our passports expired on 1 January (which they hadn't). All fine; problem with the computer system. Phew!


We arrived late to Seville, and yet it still wasn't dark. That's always nice and summery-feeling. It got me off on the right foot. And with our hand luggage only we went straight to the cab rank and got a car straightaway. He drove like a complete maniac, doing about 130km/h (80mph) on streets that didn't seem built for such speeds, undertaking cars as we went. But at least that meant we got to our hotel quicker than we might otherwise have expected.

We checked in, freshened up, and headed straight out to one of our favourite haunts in the city, the Cervezeria Giralda, where we incredibly managed to bag a table really quickly, after ordering our first round of drinks and tapas, but before we'd managed even a mouthful, I think.

We ordered the tortilla al comino, so beloved of our last visit, along with a couple of other old favourites and some new dishes too. We drank beer and took pictures, and we wandered back to our hotel room sated and happy to be back in this great town. Tomorrow we would start our walking in earnest.

We had decided in advance that we would eat breakfast at the hotel. At least on the Sunday morning, anyway, rather than struggling to find somewhere open early enough. So we did, and it was good. Hotel breakfasts in the buffet style are usually good, but when you're paying €14 (£11, US$22) a head, you simply need to make sure you get your money's worth. So we did. Various cuts of ham were consumed, along with bacon, tortilla, doughnuts, coffee, and orange juice. A breakfast in preparation for a day's walking.

And off we set to the Plaza de España, hoping this time that it would be even more wonderful than the last time we saw it. Sadly, this time around a lot of it was boarded up for renovations. We didn't mind too much since we'd seen it before anyway, but it would have been nicer to see in all its glory. It was more unfortunate that the waterway that runs in the grounds was, once again, void of water. I was really hoping to see it in this context this time around. Guess we'll just have to come back again sometime.

But we did see some festive chariots carrying señoritas in their best Feria clothing. That was cool. (Video footage to follow soon-ish.)

And we did get accosted by some gypsies wanting to force rosemary upon us and read our palms. I managed to get away with paying mine only about 80c for her trouble. She didn't seem too pleased with that and seemed to be implying I should pay her €5 for each palm read. I just shrugged like I didn't know what she was saying.

And I'm glad I did. Discussions with my better half just a few minutes later revealed that she indeed had paid €10 for the great privilege of being told our children would be beautiful. Oh, joy!

Of course, just before having our futures read, a vending man had come running up to me screaming before grabbing me by the arm. "Lucio! Lucio!" he was yelling (in that Spanish way, so it sounds like "Loo-thee-oh"). I thought he was on about light or something (luce [loo-che] in Italian, luz [looth] in Spanish), so I just kinda kept walking, shaking my head in bemusement, trying to convey that I had no idea what he was on about. Maybe he was trying to get me to buy one of his fans or something...

Then it became clear. We stopped and started trying to communicate with him.

[One thing about the Spanish we've encountered in both Seville, both times, and Valencia is that regardless of how much you clearly have no idea what they are saying, they will just keep talking. To you or at you, I'm not quite sure. And while this can initially be somewhat frustrating, it's also somehow really very endearing. No amount of incomprehension seems to be an obstacle to their desire to talk to you.]

Over the course of five minutes we established that he liked my tattoos and that the best tattooist in the whole of Spain is Lucio (yes, the word he was shouting at me), who operates at the US base in Rota, near Cadiz. This chap, who told us his name was Fernando, showed me the tattoo of his mother's name and told us that years ago, when he had his done, nobody had tattoos and they were frowned upon by "society". These days, "everybody has them, even babies". He now intends to get his father's name on his other arm and portraits of both parents on his chest. I think we did pretty well understanding all that, being as we're really shit at Spanish!

See, tattoos can bring people together, my friends.

After our walk around the Plaza, we were hungry, so we headed to a little nearby cafe that we'd been to last time around.

The weird thing was, the overhanging trees were insane. Almost everybody sat outside was sneezing as the trees shed their fluffy leafy stuff.

A street musician wandered over to our table just as Red went to the bathroom. He was playing something akin to a guitar but made with twine for strings. He was a black guy, and given the proximity of Africa and its African heritage, I suspect the instrument was African of some time. "You speak English?" he asked, twiddling a little riff on his thing. "Yes," I replied. "Where are you from?" "England."

And that gave him all the ammo he needed to "write" a song for me on the spot. I still remember the lyric fondly. It went something like this:

Englan', Englan', Englan', Englan', Englan'.
Li'erpool, Li'erpool, Li'erpool, Li'erpool, Englan'.
London, London, London.
Li'erpool, Li'erpool, Li'erpool, Li'erpool, Englan'.

Ahhh, those words will stay with me a long time.

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Blogger Red said...

Ah, they're crazy those Spaniards! And so much fun.

I told my gypsy that I didn't want any babies, so she revised my future accordingly. I reckon that's got to be worth €10, no?

18 April, 2008 10:30  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Aw, now I want someone to write me a song...

Glad you had perky times.


18 April, 2008 13:20  
Blogger Milla said...

Wonderful post! I laughed out loud while reading Lucio Lucio!

You think it is difficult to travel with only one bag? That's the ONLy way to travel! One bag and one bag only; travelling light is the best. With one bag only, I don't need to worry about anything.

Zorro on the other hand...

18 April, 2008 14:27  
Blogger furiousBall said...

Haha, that's great. I love Red's comment about the revised fortune. shouldn't the fortune teller have been able to see that coming?

18 April, 2008 15:39  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

You guys have wonderful visits and I love hearing about them. I wont be going anywhere other than the states for a while so this is my vacation through your eyes and stories... Thanks for sharing them.

18 April, 2008 16:48  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

awesome. i love that song! i might have to print out those lyrics and hang them in my cube ;)

i love how you and red tell stories... especially regarding your travels. hope work calms down soon!

18 April, 2008 18:17  
Blogger jIhAd PuNk said...

What no Oldham Oldham Oldham?

Wonder if I can get a revised future?

Be near Seville I think in July. Might look up Lucio

18 April, 2008 19:06  
Blogger Cynnie said...

aww..a wonderful trip..and a song..
sounds perfect

18 April, 2008 19:49  
Blogger Underground Baker said...

Seville sounds wonderful, even with trees that make you sneeze.

I haven't been around blogland for awhile and wanted to drop a note to say that I am back.

Just read your word tattoo post...that is too funny and brilliant. Molt?

19 April, 2008 05:02  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

What a hoot. I can't wait to see pictures of the chariots and senoritas.

So I take it Red didn't get to hear the England song?

Well, I suppose it's nice to know that if you had had kids they would have been beautiful while crying diapering tantruming and giving you unconditional love. That is hilarious.

I am opposite of Milla, I have traveled light and I find traveling heavy much more comfortable. But yes, it is easy to get on and off planes with only one small bag.

I wonder why there wasn't any water in the river/moat? Did anyone know why?

It's reassuring to know that computer problems, mistaken identity details aren't a problem for airports in these times...erg!

Your breakfast sounds Stagg would enjoy.

Good stories and imagery very funny. I am probably like that overtalkative Seville man despite language...I do that to tourists all the time.

19 April, 2008 14:47  

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