Today we drove 900 km from Seville to San Sebastian in a car resembling a Ninja Turtle (complete with body armour). Believe it or not, the Ninja Turtle was actually an upgrade. We were originally supposed to be driving a Fiat Panda, but the woman at Europcar took one look at us and our luggage and simply said “no”. We hit the road at 8.30 am and made it to San Sebastian at 5.30 pm. It was a long day, but it’s nowhere near as stressful as it would be doing the same length trip in New Zealand. It’s 130km/h all the way on fantastic roads.
I know a few people would think we were mental for tackling that drive, but we’ve learnt during the trip that, 9 times out of 10 (when it’s a realistic option), we would prefer to drive ourselves about than rely on buses, trains or planes. It’s nice to be able to hit the road when you want, go to the loo when you want, and stop and take photos when you want too. We also get to listen to our iPod. Anyone who has ever been to our house for a beer, or spent any time with Campbell will have experienced his epic iPod playlist. It is the car, bach, BBQ, wedding, Sunday school, after-work drinks, hanging out in the garage, sitting by the fire pit ,and every other social occasion, playlist. There is nothing on the playlist from this century, and it is amazing! When we get in the car and crank it it’s like being transported home for a little bit, which is really nice.
Trips in the car also provide the opportunity for valuable life lessons:
Key lesson from today: In the song “Bad Moon Rising” by Credence Clearwater Revival the words are “Don’t go around tonight, Well it’s bound to take your life, There’s a bad moon on the rise“. The words are not “Don’t go around tonight, Well it’s bound to take your life, There’s a bathroom on the right“. So good to have that cleared up.
Anyway, back to Seville. We arrived in Seville by bus from the Algarve. Safe to say we’d learned our lesson from that whole Porto train incident, so had an early night beforehand and a much more pleasant journey as a result. On arrival, we discovered that we were getting our first upgrade (sort of) of the trip. The apartment we had booked had a broken toilet, so we got moved to a much bigger, better one with its own rooftop terrace – Smokey Joe was in heaven! The apartment was in the centre of the Santa Cruz district, which is the former Jewish Quarter. It is very quaint with tiny cobbled stones streets, lovely cafes and bars, loads of shoe shops and (randomly) bridal boutiques. It was the perfect location for our 4 night stay, even though the maze of streets meant we were lost the entire time. Even Campbell, the human compass, gave up on any notion of getting his bearings.
We did a little bit of sight-seeing during our time in Seville, but we’ve really buttoned off on that. There is a certain amount of attraction fatigue that kicks in after a while, and we found that we were becoming a bit blasé. We’ve also decided that we’ll focus on the stuff that actually interests us, rather than the things the guidebooks say we should see. This time around we did a walking tour (which always touches on the key sights and deals with any FOMO about missing those), checked out the view from the top of the Metropol Parasol, visited the Alcazar of Seville and went along to a Flamenco show at the Museo del Baile Flamenco (highly recommend).
When we weren’t doing that stuff, we really just mooched around. Our apartment came with access to a gym, so we went to the gym in the morning, called into the local for coffee on the way home, did trip/life admin and then ventured out to get lost and have lunch. The food in Seville is amazing – seriously amazing and seriously cheap. Campbell says he can tell how much I love a dish by how often I say “honestly” when talking about it – “Honestly, wasn’t that the best meal ever!”, “I honestly can’t get over how good that octopus was”, “Honestly, we have to come here again” . . . you get the picture. We systemically worked our way through the list of recommendations from our AirBnB host, and every meal was better than the last. The title of “meal of the trip” changed hands 3 times during our stay in Seville alone.
We fully embraced the Spanish siesta, and would (eventually) find our way home after lunch and read books on the terrace or binge watch “Making a Murderer” on Netflix. Late afternoon in Seville meant temperatures of 40 degrees and it really was too hot to do much else. Everybody hides out indoors for a few hours and then ventures back out at about 8 pm for drinks and dinner. Thankfully everywhere in Seville also has air conditioning, because the sweaty beast from our Cuba stay was back with a vengeance. Restaurants even have water misters under their canopies, which turn on at regular intervals to keep diners cool. Quite the contrast to New Zealand where you’re hoping that the canopy has a built-in gas heater.
Our time in Seville marked a bit of a transition for us. It no longer feels like we’re just on a short(ish) holiday, and it’s finally sunk in that we’re going to be doing this for a whole lot longer. As a result, the urge to run ourselves ragged seeing and doing everything has pretty much disappeared. We’re enjoying just hanging out, trying to absorb what we can from the places we visit and doing what we want when we want. It’s quite nice to have crossed this line, because shit we were getting tired! Our 5 nights in San Sebastian is shaping up to be very much the same, although now we’ll be scoffing Pinxtos instead of Tapas.