Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Malaga 26th September 2007 (Seville)

This morning we left at about 7.10am - it was still dark outside which we hadn’t realised when we got up as the curtains were closed. We were on the road quite quickly but it still took us nearly 4 hrs to get there (220kms away) as it takes so long to get out of the windy windy roads of Benalmadena and then find our way to a parking garage in Seville. There are even smaller roads there so we were very pleased when we got into the parking lot especially as the lanes in the parking garage were not that wide and the parking spaces not that wide either - no wonder everyone here drives such little cars !!! Definitely don’t see many Valiant’s or Falcon’s etc.

On the drive over Gloria got a few wrong turns but we followed the signs and managed to find our way there without too many detours - Al is doing a great job with his driving over here although every now and again threatens to let me drive - not bloody likely !!!!!

We found a hop on hop off bus tour of Seville - compared to the 15 stops in Malaga - the 4 stops in Seville really didn’t cut it. There was so much walking in between places as the buses just didn’t stop. On the way there we saw so many castles and cathedrals on lonely hill tops as well as the ones which towns were built around - the cathedrals are still the tallest buildings in these little towns.

Once again the olive groves lined the autovia / autopista (highways) - they seem to grow in really stony soil. We drove past hills and hills and hills of plantations. Every now and again there is a big black bull on a hill - we did see one little matador but didn’t manage to get a photo of him and since then have not seen any others. Al thought he may have been an advertisement for a store nearby.

One thing we can’t get used to is the graffiti that is around - everywhere. There has been no city that we have been to where there has been minimal graffiti - it covers just about every wall you come across. The other thing since moving south has been the flies - they are worse than at home - actually at home we hardly ever come across flies but here we often find ourselves doing the Helensvale Dance if we land up having to stand for any length of time as they settle quite quickly. They are also not very fast and if you have a hop on hop off map in your hand, it is quite easy to kill them but of course, there are a gazillion still out there waiting to take it’s place.

The other thing we noticed is that if cars slow down on the motorway - they all put their hazard lights on - very convenient for anyone coming up behind them as it does make it easier to see that they have slowed down and you can slow down a little earlier than you would have.

The cathedral in Seville is amazing - and that it just from the outside. We didn’t go inside as the queues to get in were too long - the same with the Alcazar (muslim fortress) - but we did take photos from the outside of the architecture but I am not sure that they will do it justice. We walked around in front of La Giralda and then into the Barrio de Santa Cruz - another old area with the little windy roads and homes with balconies (no more photos of balconies though !!). The architecture in Seville is quite different to that around the other places we have seen - there seems to be a more Arabic feel to it with lots of tiles used in the decorating of buildings. It is very interesting to see the different styles of architecture used in each of the cities we have been to - while all quite similar in some instances, very different in others.

We saw lots of Pabellon de (put a country name in here) but have been unable to find out what that is - we are assuming that it is either the consulate or the residence of the ambassador but can’t find out if we are on track with that assumption or not. The styles of each of those are extremely different.

We drove past the first manufacturing plant built in Seville way back (can’t remember when) where the person who designed it, based it on manufacturing plants in USA. It was a tobacco factory and it was staffed by only women. It was surrounded by a moat - not sure why as they didn’t mention it at all - we only saw it from the bus. It is now a faculty of the University of Seville - a world renowned university.

As is usual with towns in Spain, we drove past past and recent palaces - some of which are now government buildings and some have been turned into museums. There is one palace which is used by the current king when he is in Seville.

The Plaza de Espana is a massive semi-circle arena which was used for a world expo in 1929 when the economy of Spain was struggling and they used the expo to improve the economy (which it did). We were amazed to read that Seville is a port 100km up the river - there is a huge container depot in the port so, although we didn’t actually see any sea going ships there, we have to assume that they do make it that far up the river !!!!!

Our last stop before heading to the car park (under a fish market so quite easy to know when we were in the correct street !!!!) was the bull ring. We did not do the tour (30 euros - which we felt was a little extravagant) and, as Al and Kaitlin had already done the tour in Ronda and I had absolutely no interest in doing the tour myself - we wandered around, took some photos and then headed for the car (just following our noses !). We found the car and managed to get out of Seville without any hitches and it wasn’t long before we were headed home. One stop along the way to stretch our legs and the next thing we were taking the Torremolinos turnoff (not the way we would have gone but sometimes when Gloria talks we just listen !!) and heading along towards Benalmadena Costa and our hotel.

Tonight we got home at about 7pm, came up to the room and dropped our things off before going out again - managed to find an internet café and sent a couple of e-mails and then went to Boo’s Bar for dinner. We had seen it last night and were going to eat there except that Kaitlin was at the unit doing some homework and it would have taken too long to get back, collect her, get back to the restaurant, eat and get home in time to have an early night. So, as a reward to Al for his fantastic driving, we went there tonight. He and I both had gammon steaks, pineapple and chips and Kaitlin had a cheese burger and chips. The gammon steaks could have been a little thicker but they were more like the gammon steaks we used to have in SA than the ones we can get in Australia (a small price to pay for living in such a fantastic country !!!!). We have already decided that as we only have two dinners left in Benalmadena we will have gammon steaks one night and the lovely pizzas from last night on the other night - nothing like being on top of our plans for dinner !!!!!! Considering quite often it is 6 or 7 pm and we don’t know what we are having, knowing two nights in advance is certainly good planning !!!

It is now 10.30pm and we have an early start tomorrow - have to be downstairs in front of the hotel by 6.30am so will be signing off for today - plus I haven’t labelled any of the photos from today so had better get those done before Al forgets what he took photos of and I have to leave even more unlabelled than I normally do !!!!


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