A Travellerspoint blog

The Barber, The Bachelorette and Seville

sunny 38 °C
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And a happy Friday to everyone! We have successfully moved on to our next stop, Seville. For those of you who watched the Bachelorette will know she brought her beaus here for one of their dates. I, of course, had planned to bring my beau here before it was fashionable! I can see why they wanted to shoot a show here as it is almost magical. It is quite different from Granada, bigger and much more classical in the architecture. It reminds me of New Orleans with all of the iron works. You can take a horse drawn carriage around town -how romantic is that?

I was quite cocky yesterday saying we were getting good at our ordering in Spanish. Well, we were taken down a peg or two this morning at the train station. While we had no idea what we ordered we did get a ham and chicken sandwich and a toasted bacon (ham), tomato and lettuce sandwich. We now have the hang of the trains here but it was close running to the right platform with our luggage. I can see why a backpack could be a good way to travel.

The train trip was very scenic and took 2 and a half hours through orchard upon orchard of olive trees. A short taxi ride took us close to our hotel. We have been so lucky with hotels thanks to the help of one of my former students, Evelyne, who has travelled this area before. Each one has been a little hole in the wall, usually up a narrow lane with no cars. Pulling the roller bags over the cobblestone streets has been interesting.

We are now at the Hotel Alminar just steps from the Seville Cathedral. It is a little bit more modern than our Granada hotel which was 15th centure. This room is bigger and modern inside with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the street. Very charming. Francisco, our front desk clerk has also been a very gracious host.

We visited the cathedral this afternoon after some power shopping (the stores close at 1:30 PM) so the afternoon is a good time to sightsee. Marty finally bought some shoes (so I don´t have to feel so guility about my purchases).

The cathedral is the largest in the world (according to my guide book and Guiness World Book of records.) We climed the 35 platforms to the top of the minuret (once an Arab mosque). The view was, as expected, spectacular.

During our beer break this afternoon we finally got to enjoy a plate of olives - so very tasty they are hard to describe. They are served with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and are larger than any olive I ever seen back home.

Connie, you and the Mclellans will absolutely love it here - thanks for the message. I haven´t heard from Calin in over a week. Either the new coputer is not working or was stolen. Hopefully, he is okay and having too much fun to send us a message.

Mitchel, we will try and call you tomorrow but not sure how well the phone system will work. If we don´t talk to you have a very happy birthday. We wish you were with us to celebrate your 22nd birthday ....we have been present at all the others though!

Well, time for a siesta and maybe some of that yummy Spanish wine. Today we bought a bottle in the grocery store for 3.40 Euros (it was one of the more expensive wines on the shelf). The most expensive is about 7 Euros ($10.00). We don´t know what we are buying but haven´t had a bad bottle yet.

Miss you all!!!!

Posted by jonaway 07:10 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Alhambra = Amazing

sunny 34 °C
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Ole. We are getting pretty proficient with our Spanish. At breakfast we were able to understanding the gist of the news...we have come a long way.

This morning we set out early for our hike up the side of the hill to the Alhambra. This Moorish (African) stronghold for centuries sits high on the hill overlooking Granada. It consists of the Alcazaba (fortress-outlook), the Nazaries Palace and this lush garden. I have to say that I have travelled the world over, seen the pyramids and temples, St. Peter´s in Rome but this is probably in the top two sights I have ever experienced. It takes your breath away - literally! I was close to tears in a couple of areas the sights were so breathtaking. What an experience.....

We are surviving on coffee, typical European breakfasts of meat, cheese, croissants and fruit. Our daytime routine is to find somewhere for beer around noon and then siesta till it cools off a bit and the shops open again. Everyone takes a siesta in the stores - they don´t care if you are still shopping or not. The coolest thing about Europe is their ´value´added´mentality when it comes to food and drink. You don´t just get a cappuchino in Holland - you get a cappuchino with a shooter glass of whipped cream (yes real whippied cream), drizzled with coffee liquer AND a bisquit. Here in Spain a pinta (pint) of beer is served with a plate of potato chips and a ham sandwich for each person. This is an all inclusive price - just now 4 Euros (about 6 dollars per person) got us the beer, chips and a delicious ham sandwich. You never just get a drink - there is always something extra!

This is our last night here - tomorrow morning we take a 3 hour train trip to Seville which I am totally looking forward to.

If you are keeping track - it is two Spainish towns and two pairs of shoes for Jona - none for Marty yet!

Posted by jonaway 05:28 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Nothing is private on the Internet

sunny 39 °C
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So we are now in Granada. I posted yesterday about my visit to the Skal office and today I got an e-mail from one of my fellow board members that he had read my blog. It seems his Google Alert program found my blog. Creepy!

We arrived mid day today and took the afternoon to look around Granada. It is stinking hot here - probably 38 or 39 during the day. I think it showed 31 as we were coming back from dinner at 9 PM. It is a lovely city with the highight being tomorrow when we visit the Alhambra, an old Morrish (African= palace set high on the hill overlooking the city. It should be a fun day.

The hotel is wonderful - again, thanks to Evelyne (one of my former students) who recommended it. It is a 15 room hotel that used to be a 15th century building. Small but unique rooms. We thought we hit the motherload when I can to Internet with an ín-room´wireless connection to the tv but it is not working so I am downstairs writing while Marty is upstairs drinking excellent red Spanish wine!!!! My turn to drink wine is coming.

We had dinner (wine and tapas - aka appetizers) at a lively bodega tonight. The full ham hocks were hangin from the ceiling already smiked. The tapas included smoked ham, aged chesse, smoked salmon and pate all servied with wonderful bread. I love this place.

All for now - better let Marty catch up! Night to everyne....

Posted by jonaway 12:18 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Jonaś pilgrimage to Skal International, Torremolinos

sunny 34 °C
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Ole. Well, we have had quite the day. Almost ten hours of travelling today and the highlight was our trip to Torremolinos. I knew the Skal International office was there so manned with little more than the address we set out by bus for a 14 km. ride. We found a map of the city and found Calle (street) Skal. It turns out that this is a street with bars (lots), the Costa del Sol Club social club (yes, they own their own building) and the police station. It turns out that this wasnt exactly what we were looking for. So we went for coffee in the plaza (our second favorite thing to do next to drinking beer in the plaza) and we look up and there is the sign for the Skal International office. It seems I was shoe shopping in the same building. So after coffee we go to the office where we are welcomed with open arms. The director Jom Power was quite happy to see us and we spent almost an hour there. I was given the official Skal history book and Skal plate. Wow! I guess I can cross that off my bucket list - LOL!

Let me tell you about the shoe shoopping - even Marty is being drawn in. Shoes are of the finest quality and so very inexpensive. It seems we are in the mecca of shoes as well. The leather is very fine quality and all locally made. I may have to purchase a second bag to bring the shoes home - and I am trying to pace myself. I have only bought two pair so far!

On Jimś suggestion we took the Renfe train further west to a town called Fuengirola. This is a hot spot for Europeans to vacation at. More wandering around, shopping and drinking beer. The food we had today was really good - an Andalusian salad of lettuce, tomatoes, eggs, avocados, asparagus and more. YUMMMMMM!

The culture here is very laid back. It has been very easy to travel around. My Spanish lessons have come in very handy. I feel almost comfortable asking directions, buying train tickets. I can even ask for my size of shoe!!!! English is not spoken readily anywhere so we are forced to travel outside our comfort zone. I said to Marty today how much easier it is to travel here than in Holland - even without GPS my sense of direction is better. Must be the sea is a good compass.

It is now 8 PM - Marty is up having a shower while I write this and check my e-mails. It is good to hear from all of you. Sounds like quite the storms you are having.

We are taking the train to Granada tomorrow - off on our next adventure. We have the bus ticket and are confident we can get to the bus station.. Love to all.

More soon

Posted by jonaway 10:43 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

And now on to the real holiday

sunny 34 °C
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We have now arrived in Spain. We had a 6 AM flight this morning and had to drive to Dusseldorf to get the flight so this meant being up and out of the hotel at 3 AM. Even with that time we barely made the flight because we couldn find the car rental return. An uneventful flight with German tourists and an interesting public bus ride into downtown as landed us in Malaga, Spain. We are staying at the Hotel California (you can check out but you can never leave)........what a beautiful place. I will tyr and take a few photos and upload them now that we have internet at the hotel. It can best be described as a botique hotel but looks way nicer in person. We are a block from the beach. Our first order of business was to walk the beach and check out the topless women and men in European speedos (there may have been some more beer involved and now Marty is napping). It will be hard to leave here on Wednesday as I think we will run out of time to see everything.

We got an upgrade on our cruise cabin - on the Navigation Deck which is way better than we paid for. Yahoo!

More later. Need to go and check the news headlines - I am craving some Calgary news - dont be shy to write.......

Posted by jonaway 06:08 Archived in Spain Comments (3)

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