Monday, September 13, 2010

Sevilla: Can a place touted as so amazing really be this stinky?

OK, so I am about a day late in posting, but that should be about normal now. I figure I will catch up during the conference, since at that time no one will actually want to read that blog. Or if anyone did they would already be at the conference.

I asked the Eric and Allison if they would like to add any special messages to people in the beginning of the blog, sort of to make it an official statement. They don’t have any words to impart. So … I will just continue. I was hoping they would have something to say so that I would have less to type. Anyway, onwards with Sunday the 12th.

So the day started early for me, I was sleeping with my head next to the shower, which led to me hearing whenever our neighbors used water. I guess? I am not sure, but it was a bit loud. So I was up at about 9 AM and I showered and got ready, since I was really looking forward to the breakfast buffet that was to come. The walkies were still in bed… so I sort of roused them by opening the windows, but I think it was good to wake them up since then it allowed us to not have to rush and do everything, especially since the walk to the train station was kind of a long ways away.

So the walkies got up and got ready, after expressing their displeasure with getting up, and we went down to breakfast, which was amazing. It was this huge buffet with lots of meat and fruit and cereal and toast, and this really really crazy toaster, which Eric claimed sounded like wind chimes, but really it sounded like grinding gears and metal. The food was great. We may have eaten slightly too much, but it was the biggest breakfast that we had in a long time, so it was fun to chow down and really enjoy ourselves.

The crazy toaster:

After breakfast we packed up and got ready and headed out on our merry way. There was a bit of a problem with Eric’s credit card so they were worried that they would not be able to use it anymore. Luckily, this was not the case and the hotel accepted it and everything was fine.

Eric posing on the bed:

We headed out of Toledo and we debated whether we should get Mazapan, since Toledo is supposedly known for it, but we decided not to, we had had one, so that was enough. As we were riding around on the zocotrain we had seen an escalator that went all the way from the base of the hill to the top, so we decided to try that. Eric seemed slightly disappointed, since I think he really wanted to bound down some stairs. Thus, he walked down the escalator and left Allison and I in the dust. There was this other guy with a huge backpack ahead of us and we figured that he was probably bound for the same destination. Thus we simply followed him, sort of, and soon we were there. The walk to the train station was much quicker than the walk to Toledo. I think there is like a time paradox for walking uphill compared to walking downhill.

The train station was a quick wait and we were soon on the train and headed back to Madrid. As I promised yesterday, here is a picture of the train station.

The train ride was pretty quick, Eric and I both read from our book. Eric is about 200 pages ahead of me, he has also read it for about 50 hours more than me… so that is fun. I started to catch up, I read about 60 pages compared to his 30 in the train, so I just have to read half as much as he does and it will be all good… oh, then I will not pass him, I will just stay even with him…. BAH! It is a challenge now. Blogging is really distracting since I do that at night and Eric reads. So I hope you, the loyal reader, appreciate the sacrifices that I make. (Note: It is a book that I have already read, so it is not really that big of a sacrifice, but I figure that some sympathy can never hurt)

So we get to the train station in Madrid and we head into the station, and of course the first thing that Eric and Allison want to see is the turtles… they love those things. Here is a video… maybe? If it loads, otherwise it will just be a picture.

Ok… so I know that I get a lot of grief for not being excited about the turtles but I figure that I should explain. Turtles are cool… and turtles in certain places are cool… but there is nothing cool… well… turtles in the middle of the train are less cool. I have a theory that they would probably be resistant to ooze since they are already exposed to radiation from trains and from the people around them. Also… 4 ninja turtles and a giant rat are cool… 500 giant turtles… well that is just one big mess. I would not know what to feed them, and even if I could find a rat that I could train to teach them… how could he do that many? There are so many variables… lol.. J Basically…. I was just being cranky J. The turtles were still fine though, and they were slightly cooler today since they were all sunning and the small ones would try and climb onto the big ones and they would fall off into the water.

The video Allison took should be able to be viewed here:

If it doesn't load... then I will try again.

Note: For the most amazing turtle video, go here:

So we waited around a little and got our food. Eric and I again went the baguette route, Allison got a sandwich that they grilled but she didn’t want that so they made her a new one, well got a new one for her from the case. Eric and I also got a large cookie thing to split. I will not mention the shape, since I am sure some people may draw embarrassing conclusions from it… well I already mentioned the shape… fine! It was a heart! But it was good… so whatever!

Lol… so then we headed to our train and we tried to get to the platform, but they rambled at us in espanol and pointed to the escalator, which we assumed meant to go upstairs. Up we go.. and we get through security and check in… and then… down we go yet again back to the ground floor. It made no sense whatsoever. But we got to our train and we sat down and it turned out that we got a little block of four seats. Well we got three of them anyway. There was another guy in the other seat. He probably didn’t like us much. The train was pretty comfortable really. Much less leg room than in the normal seats though, but still nice. The guy next to us eventually left, so that was really nice.

I was planning on reading again, but Eric decided that he was going to work on his presentation, so I figured I should work on mine. Luckily the train had power to the seats, which was really nice, especially since my laptop lasts approximately -14 minutes on battery power. Bored with us, Allison slept, as this picture illustrates:

The train ride was pretty smooth and fast and got us there quick. WE saw a nuclear power plant and some weird deer things and some very green trees and then BAM! We were in Seville, or Sevilla, whichever you prefer to use.

We got off the train and headed up and I tried to find a map. I asked the information desk for a plano de Sevilla. See I am learning! Again, directions in Spanish that I barely understood… so I roamed around the station and finally found the tourism office…. Closed. Either they took a siesta… which we doubted, or they were closed for Sunday, which we also doubted. But it was frustrating. We were thinking we might have to buy a map, when we found where we had to go in the map in the guide book, so we lucked out. We would later learn that the maps were 5 euros.

So we headed out and boy oh boy was it hot! It was very warm. We did everything we could to stay in the shade as we headed to our hotel. As we were walking we saw a family, a son and his parents, that were walking in the same direction as us, and as we crossed a street our paths met and we got to talking. Before, Eric and Allison had decided they looked very American, and indeed they were. They were from Kansas, of which the majority of the population is not located in Kansas City. They had purchased a map and were headed to the same street as us. They were slow though and I got tired of that and so we headed off on our own. At that time the son seemed really tired of his parents, they didn’t seem to notice this though.

If anyone goes to Sevilla I would definitely recommend getting a taxi to go from the train station to their hotel. Our hotel is not in the best part of town, but to get there we had to walk through the not so good part of town and it was hot and they do their garbage on the street, so it really stunk, and it was just a really bad first impression. I am generally against taxi’s…. but in this case it might be for the best. We also got there during siesta, so that may have made the town more empty, which might have actually affected our opinions as well. So we finally found our street and we headed up it. We had to get to 97 and we were only at 20. As we walked up it we ran into our friends from Kansas! They had ended up were we needed to be and we had ended up near where they wanted to be… we shared a laugh… well us and the parents… the son scowled and hurried past.

Me... trying to determine where we are going:

The streets are kind of stinky here, but I guess the people must be used to them. They are also kind of dirty. I think that unlike Toledo and Madrid, Sevilla does not have street cleaner people who walk around. At the time, I consider this a big mistake. The city could be really amazing if they did, and it would probably smell about a zillion times better.

Street in Sevilla:

So we finally find out hotel and we check in and settle in and I am really excited since I think that internet works really well… then we get to the room and no… it doesn’t I talk to the guy and he says he will “Reset the Rooter” This works briefly… sadly not for long. So no internet in the room. It does work in the hallway… so … yay for that!

Eric is really excited to go walking by the river and to walk downtown and check out the town. Allison and I are less enthused, but we rouse ourselves and head out. It is still hot outside. I miss the AC already.

I swear, that is my excited face:

We cross a few streets and reach the river and… It is kind of a mess… very graffitied and trashed… but Eric claimed it was a dream came through.

The expression after his dream came through:

This further solidified in our minds that Sevilla was not all it was cracked up to be, we hoped this would change. We kept walking and eventually reached the downtown/historic district. I am sad that the hotel that I got is so far away… but it is too late to change now… oh well.

We explore a little bit, we look at the river area downtown, which is much nicer.

Eric checking the map.... where should we go now? He got tired of navigating.

Some tower thing? Supposedly they had bike tours here... we couldn't find them.

We pass the bull fighting museum, which looks cool, as it is actually a bull fighting arena. And then we see the cathedral, which is actually, super impressive. It is just HUGE!!!! Allison says it is either the 1st or 3rd largest in Europe. It also houses the body of Cristobal Colon!!! … (Christopher Columbus) whom, for those unaware, Eric hates, kind of a lot.

They were holding mass in the church so we watched that for 10 secs and then got out of there, and headed through the shopping district. I noticed a basketball game going on. It was the US vs Turkey in the FIBA World Championship!!! So I told Eric and we decided we should watch it, so our plans changed to getting food and beer at the store and then watching the game in our room.

The streets of Sevilla

So we walked back to the hotel and checked to make sure we had the channel and we do, so we headed out to get food. We had passed a few little stores on our way back to the hotel, but we asked the guy at the desk if there was anyplace better. He told us that no place would be open…. Worried we headed out. Luckily the store was still open. We got some… Baguettes! This time we also got some meat and cheese and some pastry things, and some Sangria and DOS CERVESAS!

So loaded up with our food and drink we headed back to the room. It was already halftime when we got back, so we tried to open our beer… which… was an experience…. Eric gallantly tried and finally got it open and we toasted and chugged… btw, our beers were huge!

The USA won! And so we celebrated! We almost went out and rioted, but we didn’t want to get stoned for chanting USA! USA! USA! The rest of the night we just chilled, watched some Spanish TV, wrote the blog and read. We then rested up for more exploring and hoped that the next day would show us a better side of Sevilla than today.


Kaite said...

by "they do their garbage in the street" you mean they poopy there? I just don't understand. Also, the beds in your new hotel look shorter than normal beds.

The Elephant said...

lol....well... by the smell of it they could. I actually meant that they just have all their garbage sitting in bins in the street. Although we did see one guy peeing in the street :/