Monday, April 26, 2010
In love with a little city called Sevilla.
So my last blog post may/may not have been a little cranky and sleep deprived, silly me. I can't believe I spent so much time freaking out about my trip, when really it was prrrrobably the five best consecutive days of my travels to date.
So when I was in the train station in Madrid, I met a charming woman who spoke English and was able to help me navigate my way through the various confusing lines. As previously mentioned, I had missed my 12:00 train and had to get into an obnoxiously long line to get a new ticket and pay another exorbitant fee. I was upset and alone, and I'm convinced she was an angel specifically put there by God to help me. Anyway, I hopped on the lovely AVE train and enjoyed the views of the Spanish countryside as we sped towards our destination, Sevilla.
Even though my Spanish came in handily enough--Donde estas [fill in the blank] Calle?--I couldn't understand the various passerby's responses and decided to straight up call the hostel to figure out where they were located. The hostel is right on the Alameda de Hercules, a nifty little square with a sort of "alternative, hippie" crowd. That night there was a large party sorta thang going on, complete with a band, DJ and girls dressed up in flamenco dresses who later stripped down to booty shorts and tank tops. But I met lots of really interesting people from my hostel, including a bat biologist from Germany, many Kiwis, Brits, French and Italians. It was a most enjoyable night. Then we all headed over to a bar and a few of us went to La Feria afterwards. I don't know how to explain the Feria...I've never experienced anything quite like it. Basically, we walked 40 minutes to a large fair grounds that had all the normal sort of rides you'd expect, but the main attractions were the "casetas," or tents. Families from Sevilla put up these massive tents and serve food and drinks, but you have to be on the guest list to get in. Luckily there were a few public tents that we managed to hang out in. The women looked so beautiful, dressed up in either fancy cocktail dresses or their amazing flamenco dresses. Seriously, regardless of their shape or size, they looked HOT. I wish I had had money to buy one/enough room in my little carry on. Which, let me remind you, contained enough outfits for 4 days...not 11. Needless to say I wore the same dress every other day. Anyway we returned home around 4am and I woke up 3 hours later for my bus tour through Andalucia., which was fantastic and left me very sunburnt!
Wednesday I slept in much later than I usually do, but I didn't even care! I was traveling by myself and didn't have to feel guilty about sleeping in or trying to get somewhere early in the morning. I absolutely loved being by myself--it was so much easier to meet people and do whatever I wanted, whenever. Don't get me wrong, I adore my friends and traveling with them, but it was such a unique experience! Anyway I walked to the Cathedral and climbed the bell tower--such amazing views, and strolled through the Alcazar, the old palace. I honestly don't know much about it because I didn't understand all the Spanish signs and didn't get an audio guide, but it was beautiful and the architecture was fascinating. AND THE GARDENS. I've come to the conclusion I'm in love with nature and beautiful things. I spent most of my time in the gardens, wandering around them and taking awkward self timer pics. Wa wahh. But seriously they were so beautiful and grand. I also got some delicious apple cake at the little cafe overlooking the gardens. So quaint! That night I made dinner and met up with a friend I had met at my hostel. We did a bar crawl with his hostel and had a really fun night, where I met even more people from around the world. It was super enjoyable, and we all got to have some rebujito, a traditional Feria drink that consists of sickeningly sweet white wine and Sprite--it tasted better as you drank more of it. After a few bars we headed to a public caseta at the Feria and danced the night away. I tried to learn the special dance they were all doing--the Sevillania? and asked a nice Spanish man to teach me--"Yo quiero bailar la Sevillania pero yo no se como!" ...or something like that. Anyway it was a great night..and I randomly ran into a high school friend studying there. Such a small world!
Thursday I slept in again after getting home in the wee wee hours of the morning--so early/late that people were heading to work when I was heading back to the hostel. Oops! But I headed to the Belles Artes art museum, hung around the Maria Luisa park and shopped around for souvenirs. I bought a poster and a flamenco dress-inspired apron. Love ittttt. The charming young Spaniard working there chatted me up and gave me his number--he said he noticed my eyes from across the room and commented that my smile is "simpatico." What a charmer! Too bad I couldn't get another euro knocked off the apron, but I did get an invitation into a private caseta ;) My friends joke that I am good at making new friends/getting discounts/things for free by tilting my head and smiling at prospective friends/helpers/whomever. I don't know if it's true or not, but hey!..if being smiley and charming gets me ahead in life, I'll take it. I had an early night in after getting sub-par paella and sangria--I think I went to bed around 11pm!
Friday I went to the bullfighting museo pero it was CLOSED because of the fight. I would've gone to one but they were expensive, and I didn't want to watch all the gore by myself. I walked around, shopped, tried on espadrilles, got ice cream, strolled through the Maria Luisa park and visited two museums there. The museums were a little bit boring to be honest, though I enjoyed the one on Sevilla customs and art more than the archaeology. Later that night I got churros con chocolate--they were way greasy and icky--but then I saw a flamenco show with my new Kiwi friend, Ben. The show was so beautiful--the dancer was so passionate and firey! Very fierce. And the 2.50 Dos XX wasn't bad either!
All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I had such a great time hanging out with my friends in Madrid and Barcelona and by my onesies in Sevilla. I feel like I learned a lot about myself and am more independent than ever! It's an empowering and very cool feeling. Woooo! Except now I have no money to travel anywhere else, but it ain't no thang. After all, I came to Ireland to study and live here, so I'll try to budget in one or two more trips within the country. Maybe a bike trip around Killarney and somewhere farther up north? We shall see.