We had a long weekend here on The Rock so I went with Sander and Sarah up to Seville.
Early on Saturday I rented a car over the boarder in Spain. Sander, Sarah and I grabbed dinner Saturday night in Alcaidesa where they live and then returned to their place for a Wii bowling grudge match. Sarah’s a Wii bowling fiend who loves to talk trash about her bowling prowess so I took great pleasure in trouncing her.
In the morning I stood out on the patio and took in the sun splashing off the Mediterranean. We pushed off around 11:30 and rolled into the Regina Hotel about an hour and forty-five minutes later. First off, to say that some of the streets in Seville are narrow is about as much of as understatement as saying that Phil Ivey is a decent poker player. You just point the car, press the gas, and hope to hell you don’t drag your car across any of the parked vehicles lining the calle. Even worse was the parking at the hotel. You have to buzz this gate which opens and winds underground to a small parking lot. The walls on the spiral path down to the parking lot are painted in various colors of previous drivers who had failed the test. As soon as I parked the car I announced that the only time that car was leaving that parking spot was when we were leaving. No way was I going to chance that any more than I had to.
We threw our bags in our rooms and immediately set out toward the city center. Meandering down side streets and using my Tom Tom GPS as a guide we finally found ourselves in front of the famous cathedral. We really had no plans on what to see or where we wanted to go which is the best way to travel. Another co-worker who had driven up to Seville called and we agreed to meet by the river.
Unfortunately we headed off in the opposite direction of the river and ended up turning a 10 min walk into a 25 minute walk and by the time we got to the river our co-workers had moved on. We promptly found the very first tapas joint we could find and plopped ourselves down outside for our first beers of the day.
The weather was absolutely beautiful. Low 80’s and the warm kiss of the Andalusian sun felt quite good after what has been a unusually long winter in the south of Europe. A cold beer in the hand while snacking on chorizo and cheese in an outdoor cafe is heaven.
I guess my only complaint was the lack of any jambon serrano on the menu. It’s a cured ham that is delicately cut into razor thin slices and served as a snack. The very best comes from Iberian hogs fattened on acorns. The Iberian jambon is difficult to find and very expensive but the taste is something that can’t be explained. But at this point I would have taken any jambon serrano so we set out to find just that.
We strolled around a bit and found another tapas place with jambon on the menu. One order, two orders, a few pints of beer to wash it all down with. Absolutely fantastic.
One of the coolest things about Seville is that every little side street you walk down ends up emptying out into a small plaza where you can get a drink or some tapas and just sit outside and sun yourself. The buildings are all brightly colored and even when you’re going nowhere in particular the visual experience is fantastic.
We hopped around to a few more tapas places just eating and drinking our way across the city until we found ourselves in the Santa Cruz barrio where they have some of the better flamenco dancing which Seville is famous for. With a show start time noted we headed back to a bar for more tapas to kill an hour and a half.
After the show we attempted to find our way back to the hotel. The Tom Tom GPS had died when the batteries went dead so we were following maps and our own sense of direction which probably isn’t a good thing since we had been drinking our way across the city.
There are various stages of being lost. The first stage is when you kind of think you know where you’re going but nothing seems familiar. The second stage is when you know that you’re lost but you’re pretty sure that once you get to the next street (or building or ??) that you’ll know where you are. The third stage is when you out and out just say, “I don’t even have a clue where I am and I’ve given up all hope of finding my way.” Between Sander, Sarah and myself we were all at different stages. Sander was sure it was about 300 yards in that direction. Sarah was sure that once we got to the end of the road that we would know where we were at. I just knew we were hopelessly lost.
So here we are bumbling around Seville having conversations like:
“Look, there’s a Burger King. I remember a Burger King when we were walking to the cathedral.”
“It’s not the same Burger King. That Burger King was five stories tall and had a BK sign in every window.”
“No, no. I’m sure that’s the same one. Let’s go that way.”
“It’s not the same one. Let’s go this way.”
Now as most of my readers are astute readers I’m sure some of you are asking why we didn’t just get a taxi. Good question. We tried to flag down several taxis but they were all full. We stood on one main road for what seemed like forever and didn’t see a single free taxi. Not a one.
So lost and somewhat tipsy we happen across a KFC. Of all the excellent food I had that evening, at that particular moment, KFC was like manna from heaven. We killed an entire bucket between the three. We didn’t actually eat it; we devoured it.
Bellies full we made out into the night again. We finally saw some landmarks we recognized, namely a sign pointing the direction to the hotel, and headed down that way. We walked several long blocks and someone, I don’t remember who, insisted that the hotel wasn’t down that far so we turned around and headed back in the hopes that we missed a sign that told us to turn down. No such luck.
Eventually Saunder was able to hail a taxi and not only was the hotel past where we had turned around but it was a good 2 miles past where we turned around.
I slept good.