Pretty Andalucian girls...
Trip Start Jun 28, 2009
7Trip End Aug 02, 2009
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Where I stayed
In these days of internet technology it's easy to become complacent and thus unstuck, but being the experienced travellers we are we would never simply turn up in a large city without a clue as to the location of the hotel we'd booked........
The nice lady in the information booth at the station helpfully managed to give us just enough information to get us to the tourist information office a kilometre or so down the road, but not quite enough to let us know that it was currently closed for refurbishment. Well at least the heat gave us something to grumble about as we randomly meandered our way to the signposted centro.
After 40 minutes of this "iron man" challenge, I'm standing outside a bookshop 'guarding' the rucksacks whilst VIrg is inside partaking of the air-con or, as she assured me, looking through various guidebooks and maps to identify the hotel address and location. I stand sweaty and patient, watching locals and tourists alike struggle along the stifling narrow streets, the canopies stretched between the buildings above offering little respite, as they wonder who the Guiri is surrounding himself with rucksacks and seemingly trying to get a waft of cold air each time the shop door opened. Finally Virg emerged clutching a map, an address and the healthy glow of someone who'd just had a break from the heat. Another 40 minutes, and we collapsed into the San Gil Hotel, hidden (a long way) down a small side street but not nearly as far from the bus station as our circuitous route would suggest
It took only a few hours for us to realise that port or no port, heat or no heat, Seville is a beautiful and worthy regional capital. Narrow and beautiful streets are complemented by wide and even more beautiful avenues. Architecture and green spaces, lots of terraces, bars and character are everywhere. Yes, it's true we can tell we're back in Spain, the bars are more smokey and the prices are higher than in Portugal, but what a city! As if this isn't enough, there seems to be a prevalence of young beautiful ladies cycling through the city streets, their movement creating the only breeze to cast aside their long hair and the light fabrics of their skirts. Virg thinks they look like they've cycled out of one of those soft-focus French soft-porn films, or else we've wondered into one. I've no idea what she's talking about but there are so many that one does wonder whether they've been planted there by the Seville tourist board (possibly a distraction whilst the tourist office is being refurbished).
Our hotel is just off the Alameda de Hercules, a huge square stretching out between beautifully restored houses. Almost scarily quiet in the day time, the square fills up with people at night as the bars around its edge fill and spill onto the terraces. The tapas is perfect, the people watching fantastic (see earlier reference to suspected tourist strategy). We enjoyed our time here, walking our way around all the sights, at one point overdoing it to the extent of having to ask for a bag of ice in Starbucks (yes they've made it here too), in order to ease the excruciating pain in my dodgy ankle long enough to get back to the hotel.
It could be that in Seville we have found a place we we could one day live. The extreme heat is a pain but manageable when one considers everything else the city has to offer. Aside from the temperature, it feels warm and laid back and at the same time full of energy, if that makes sense.