Heat waves, disasters, damage control and spanish art and culture
29.07.2008 36 °C
From lagos beach to an oven. Seville was freaking hot, it pretty much stayed around 40 degrees the whole time we were there. it was too hot to go outside and explore during the day so we did most of our sightseeing in the evening. We visited the Alcazar (castle) and it's gardens which was excellent, one of the best we have been to.
We spent many hours just walking the streets, checking out tapas bars, looking for the elusive flamenco. We eventually found a place, with lots of locals and expensive drinks (€4 for a 200ml coke....ouch!) another night we joined a walking/bar tour and were taken to some of the better spots (maybe) and found places with cheap drinks and a flamenco club. it was great fun trying to join in with the locals, who were very encouraging and tried in vain to teach us the complicated flamenco. i just couldnt work out the beat or the timing.
A great speciality that Fi sampled at nearly every occasion was the Vino Tinto Verano, which is a red wine mixed with soft drink, usually a lemon flavour like solo or lift. It was very popular, and even available on tap in some bars.
Home of the Alhambra, we loved this town, with beautiful streets and free tapas with your drinks. we were up early one morning to get in line, and only had to wait for 45! to get in. The Alhambra is surrounded by beautiful grounds and gardens, Carlos V's palace, the Alcazar and the Generalife gardens. The Alhambra itself is an old islamic temple/palace. the carving and detail in the palace was quite astounding.
Sunset on the Alhambra
Despite being in spain and portugal for about 3 weeks, we had our first, second and third churros (spanish doughnuts dipped in chocolate) here. this resulted in us singing a song munch on some churros, to the tune of munch on muncherros, or the one tonne rodeo song. if you know the song you will know what we mean.
We saw flamenco here again. this time is was a semi professional show where we had to pay to see. The performers were all in costume and they put on a spectacular act.
we booked a bus ticket for an overnight bus to barcelona, and headed into town to have a few drinks and tapas to help us sleep on the overnight journey, but when we turned up for our bus we found that we had read the departure time wrong and had missed our bus by 2 hours! doh!! we figured we could swap it for the later bus (which left in 1 hour) but the ticket guy was a jerk and was having nothing of it. did we mention this was the most expensive bus trip we have taken so far (€70 each) Fi even tried crying but the jerk said you have to buy another ticket and you have to move aside there were other customers to serve.
So we decided to head down to the bus and try our luck with the bus drivers sympathy. As soon as the bus arrived the driver abandoned the bus and we thought this is going to be easy, just put our bags on and we'll be away. To our dismay there was a couple guarding the baggage compartments saying no-one could put bags on as they were trying to give their dog some air. This was a complete freaking joke as she was sitting next to the dog smoking!!! we looked on board and could see there were a few spare spots up the back but decided it would be too obvious if took our packs on the bus. so we waited 30 min for the driver to return and put our bags underneath then snuck on the back door. we kept our heads down as he came on board to collect tickets and didnt ask us for tickets. he then did a head count, and then redid the head count, then finally pulled away. silent hi-five!! it was still a nervous ride as every hour the bus would stop and new passengers would get on and the driver would show them to their seat and often kick someone out of the seat.
we made it to the border of Catalunya, the bus driver changed and 2 police in helmets with big batons came on and asked all the non spanish looking people for id and passports. they didnt ask us, however the driver asked us for our tickets and we gave him our unvalidated ticket for the bus we missed. he took it without question as by that time the bus had been going for 11 hours and the departure times would have not been as obvious. he was also the 3rd different driver for this trip. he then did a head count and ticket some things off on his list, then came back and asked for our ticket. he stared at it for a long time then gave it back to us and we pulled away. Woo hoo!! we made it!
We stayed here 3 days which wasnt close to being enough. we got a fair dose of spanish art and architechture. we visited all of gaudi's masterpieces. the sagrada familia, casa Mila, casa batlla, and park guell, parlou guell. Gaudi was an absolute genius, his architechture was inspired by nature and Fi loved it because it used shapes and colours and he made ergonomic chairs and door handles. we did a day trip to Figures to see Dali's museum, another fascinating excentric genius. We also went to the picasso museum.
Wandering the streets we explored la ramblas, la baroque market and the barri gothic distric. At night most of the sights on the block of discord were lit up and the magic fountain provided a spectacular show of light and water to classical music.
Roof of the casa Mila
We are currently resting up in Dublin with Irish Dave, getting in somelast minute training against the Irish in preparation for the world Kubb Championships which start on fri- we fly into Sweden tomorrow. Wish us luck!