Monday, July 7, 2008
Hey, so first of all, sorry for pretty much failing at the blog. I've been busier and busier with every week. And even before my mom and Nina and Gramps left, Kellie (friend from high school for those of you who don't know her) came in town, so we've been traveling since then, and when we weren't traveling, I've been studying (yes, STUDYING). ANYWAY, enough w/ the excuses, here's some tales of my adventures (at least what I can remember two weeks ex post facto).
LEAVING MADRID: June 21
Our adventure began as we tried to leave Madrid. Little did we know the fun would begin so soon. We were already dying from laughter before we got out of the car rental parking garage. Gramps, our brave navigator, wasn't exactly at the top of his stick-shift game. I think the last time he drove a standard vehicle, Michael Jackson was black, Communism was still a threat, and a gallon of gas was less than a dollar. But he had to re-learn pretty quickly b/c the garage was closing, and we had to go up about 4 levels to the garage exit. The video will be posted tomorrow (and keep an eye out for a few more vids here and there).
SEVILLE: June 21-23
First of all, Seville is absolutely amazing. If I were made to choose my favorite spot in Spain, it might be this place. Naturally, our hotel was in the middle of the city on tiny, one-way streets, but we managed to find it with relative ease (we wouldn't always be so lucky). Getting there was the easy part, but then we had to park the car. I figured I'd lend Gramps a hand and do the parking, seeing as how parking garages, although hilarious for the rest of us, didn't tend to agree with him. My mom and I got in the car and pulled into the garage about 20 yards from the hotel, and were soon involved in what seemed like the beginning of a scary movie. There were no parking spots that we could see, so the old man attending the lot pressed a button on the wall, some huge doors slid aside, and he told us to pull into the ELEVATOR. I was thinking, "Great. The garage door behind is closed, so we have to pull into this "elevator," whereupon Creepy McGee here will kill us, sell the car to a chop shop, and that will be the last anyone ever hears of us." But after squeezing in the elevator, backing out, and parking, we managed to turn over our keys and get back to the hotel. I'm not ashamed to say that I walked out of the garage at a fast pace.
Anyway, Seville is one of the larger cities in Spain, but the historical area feels more like a small town - it was very quiet, clean, and we could just take our time and enjoy the city. The first day we just walked around and checked out the city, and that night we went to a flamenco show, which was awesome. Flamenco is a dance native to southern Spain, and it's kinda like a stomp/clog/tap dance routine w/ a guitarist, singers, and dancers. The singers and dancers are amazing in how they use their hands and feet to drive the show, it was awesome.
The next day we went to visit the Catedral de Santa Maria, which was about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, it's a huge building (4th largest Christian church in the world), and very pretty. My mom and I climbed the 30 or so floors in the bell tower to get a view of Seville, and it really wasn't too bad. There were windows on every floor, so we got to rest here and there and look out on the city as it got progressively further and further below us. Once we got to the top (over a football field tall), it was worth it - we could see out in every direction from the bell tower, and it as quite a sight.
Our last day in Seville, we went to visit the Alcazar, a fortress that was originally built by the Moors, then later converted into a palace by a succession of rulers. The palace is one of the best remaining examples of "mudejar" architecture, a style where Christian rulers used Islamic architecture for their structures, which is pretty common across southern Spain. Once we were done there, I pulled the car out of the ridculous elevator parking garage, hit a pylon w/ the side of the car (no damage though!), turned the wheel over to Gramps, then we headed east toward Ronda, first making a pit stop in Zahara...(update coming soon, I promise!).
P.s. For more photos, click here - I just post some of my favorites here b/c they're better quality when they're posted here on Blogger. Enjoy!
Just outside the Cathedral.
Walking through the Barrio de Santa Cruz toward the flamenco show.
The streets of the Barrio de Santa Cruz.
Cathedral at night.
Jesus looking sad.
Outside the Cathedral, a copy of the famous statue on top of the bell tower.
Inside the Cathderal.
At the top of the bell tower.
Dome in the cathedral.
Taking a rest at the cafe outside the Cathedral.
Nina and Gramps at the Gardens of the Alacazar.
Inside the main plaza of the Alcazar.
Martins swooping through the Alcazar (they NEVER stop flying).
Inside the Alacazar.
Inside the Alcazar.