Kim Tackett who writes the blog Tour of No Regrets, traveled to Spain with her husband Steve. Kim always has something clever to say and tells a fantastic story. Her photos are fabulous too! Thanks, Kim!
Introduction from Kim~
We’ve traveled much of Europe, but never Spain. The stars aligned for this trip…it was Steve’s 60th birthday, our best friends were traveling in France and could meet us for a week so the guys could cycle in the Pyrenees, and Steve and I would still have time to wander on our own. In fact, this was the first trip in years where we weren’t hosting or visiting our daughters. They’re awesome, but traveling with two is pretty sweet! Our trip started in Barcelona, where we met up with our friends, then to San Sebastian (bike riding for the guys, cooking lessons for the gals) and then we were back on our own again. We went to Madrid, Granada and Seville, where this story picks up.
We knew we were pushing it, and the back end of our trip wouldn’t be enough. Or it would be too much. As we planned, we understood this was the point where we would need a cafe in a small village, and time to do nothing but sit, read, write, draw and visit the local markets (you know, nothing). But we only had a few more days and couldn’t miss Seville or Granada. We knew 1 day, 2 nights in each wasn’t right, but we kept comparing it to Yosemite. What if you had one chance to see California and missed Yosemite? Would one day be better than nothing? We compared Seville and Granada, and especially the Alcazar and Alhambra, as Yosemite, and added the last two stops.
In Seville, we stayed a little out of town, at a charming Moroccan inspired hotel, the Alcoba del Rey. They had an incense menu. And a rooftop patio, perfect for kissing under the stars, if one (or two) were so inclined. We skipped the incense, and visited the patio instead. We knew this was where we should be taking things slower—using local buses, leaving the guidebooks behind. But we didn’t have time for that, we had stuff to do, and took advantage of the taxi stand outside our door. (Sidenote: Every taxi driver wants to talk about gun control and Donald Trump. Also, even if they don’t speak English, they all seem to listen to American country radio. Steve thinks they understand the passion. I think they think we like it. Either way, it’s confusing.)
My FitBit logged 26,000 steps this day. First up, the Real Alcazar. Stunning. We arrived when it opened, and still fought the tour group and “selfie stick as sport” tourists. But as we wove around them, we experienced this:
After spending the morning at the Alcazar, we wandered (notice lots of wandering and meandering on this trips? yup, no straight lines, anywhere) through the streets of Barrio Santa Cruz, looking for lunch and a little shopping. The shapes…the colors…the sky. Oh my. This alone deserved it’s own day.
And then it happened.
It was hot. We were tired. But we were on a mission to get it done. We fortified with tapas, sangria, and even ice cream, and came to the realization that we couldn’t and wouldn’t see and do everything. That we could only prepare for the next thing and would have to let go of the rest. It was a moment, with our dogs yelping (that would be tired feet screaming) and our eyes and brains glazing over. But we wanted to see the Metropol Parasol. It wasn’t highly regarded in the guide books, it was out of the way, and we didn’t know exactly what it was, except that it claimed to be the world’s largest wooded structure. And it looked interesting enough to take a chance on it. We both admitted that this might not end well. But it did.
We still don’t know exactly what this was, as it was closed (there is a walkway, which we never were able to access), but we had the patio mostly to ourselves (along with a couple practicing their salsa dancing), and they served Coca Cola Lite, and all was well and inspired in our world for a few more hours.
But there’s more. We made it back for the most important event of the day, siesta (or siesta-izing, as Steve calls it) for an hour. Then we met our new friends, Carol and Garry (from Vancouver, picked up in San Sebastian on our Pintxos Crawl) for Flamenco. This is what I have to say about Flamenco…if I had this, menopause would have been a much different experience. Attitude is everything.
We knew with Carol and Garry we could eat, drink and talk anywhere, so we (again) wandered without a plan. Our food wasn’t memorable, but the company was great. We were used to Spain being lively at night, but this evening seemed really, really packed. We realized later, it was Noche en Blanco, which is a free cultural event with 240,000 additional visitors. Lively and peaceful and highly entertaining. Not a drunken brawl in sight, imagine that? Grandmothers, teens, families, all together, just enjoying the city and each other. I had taken a photo of a poster for it earlier in the day, but didn’t bother to read it. The people watching was incredible, but it was a little overwhelming. We did find a fabulous gelateria to help ease the overwhelm (a common theme?)
No pictures with Carol and Garry, or of the rose shaped chocolate and blood orange ice cream…sacrificed for real life experiences. But I suspect we’ll see our Vancouver friends again, and I believe the ice cream is a chain called Amarino, so I have a second chance as well.
Stay tuned for another day, another 23,000 steps and a few more really, really, really old buildings.
Note: This was our second day in Seville. On our arrival day we had time for the Plaza de Espana, which was spectacular. Here’s the link http://www.kimtackett.com/sevilla-plaza-de-espana/
Previously in Spain: Seville :: Plaza de Espana, The Art of Madrid, Eating our way through San Sebastian, Yesterday’s view (Barcelona to San Sebastian), Awe inspiring (Sagrada Familia in Barcelona), Wandering around (Barcelona), It started with a bang (Barcelona).