Bad weather red alert

Mirinda decided to test the strength of her forehead this evening. Walking through the labyrinthine tunnel network at our hotel in Seville, she stopped to look at a display of statues in a small glass shop.

The glass was very thick and she was closer than she thought and she headbutted the thick, immovable glass. It hurt. A lot. However, the glass came off worse. Mirinda had managed to give it a hair line fracture. Extraordinary.

But that was on the way to the piano bar many hours after we all woke bright and early, ready to walk up to Malaga station. At first Mirinda and Denise didn’t believe it was actually 07:30 because it was way too dark. Mirinda accused me of being ridiculous and Denise figured her watch was lying. I knew it was 07:30 because…well, because it was.

So, we headed off.

According to Google Maps, the station was an eight minute walk. Given my inability to walk very fast, I figured it would probably take more like 16. And so it did.

We found a much needed cafe (we ignored the Dunkin’ Donuts option and not just because they can’t spell) and had some life affirming coffee before heading for the train.

There was the usual check in and scanning, pat down and extensive interview by the National Police before we were allowed to enter the space before the trains. Mirinda and Denise went off to the loo while I waited with the bags, refusing to sit down because the numerous seats did not include a power-your-mobile via USB option. (Cheap bastards.)

The Rita Hayworth Station, Malaga

The train was very comfortable and, apart from the guy who kept asking Denise if it went to Seville and which coach he was in, quite normal. We crossed the country, through all kinds of weather (at one point a vicious storm blotted out the view entirely) before stopping in Cordoba for a bit then, finally, into Seville.

I have a feeling that the vicious storm had just visited Seville because when we arrived, everything was very wet and black, ominous clouds were slowly leaving, shame written large on their faces. (A little later a coach driver’s smartphone told me that the Plaza de Espana was closed because of a red storm alert which I think says it all. Incidentally, it was open again by the time we reached it so we did see it.)

We checked into our favourite hotel (Casa de la Juderia) and were instantly upgraded. I can only assume this is because I am extremely nice to service staff. Denise was given the maid’s room that is attached to our rather extensive suite. Her room was not quite ready so she left her bag in ours and we headed out in search of food.

It’s a little known fact that there’s a boundary between breakfast and lunch in Seville. Well, little known to me before today. In yet another instance of me not listening to my wife, I suggested we eat first and walk later. Unfortunately this meant having to have breakfast because the invisible boundary seems to occur at around 12:30.

On the boundary, the staff go crazy, changing tables, chairs, cutlery; shooshing people away until they’re all ready. It’s quite a flurry. I guess had we walked first and ate second, we would never have seen the flurry. It was very impressive, particularly when it’s happening around you.

Properly chastened, I let Denise pay and we headed through the back streets before finding the cathedral which was exactly where I’d said it would be. (Apparently if you filled it with beer it would be fuller than any other cathedral on earth.)

The streets were remarkably crowded, phones held high everywhere. You almost couldn’t see for the screens. And horses! There were so many horses and carriages we just had to get in one merely to escape the crowds. Also, Denise had never been on a carriage ride so how could we not?

We then spent a lovely time clip clopping through some back streets and some very busy front streets, around buildings and through the park before reaching the wonderful Plaza de Espana which was no longer closed because of the red alert.

It looked beautiful beneath the mostly blue sky, and was very, very crowded. Having been before, I reckon the best way to see it on such a crowded day is from the back of a carriage.

We then continued back to where we’d started, right by the enormous queue for the Alcazar (we have tickets for Tuesday so there’ll be very little queuing for us.)

Actually it was in the queue for the Alcazar that we saw Polly and Dennis. For reasons known only to him Dennis rather enjoys standing in a queue for four hours waiting for the thing he’s queuing for to close so he can then continue on to something else. I’m fairly certain that Polly doesn’t agree but what can she do? I think their relationship is such that she is just happy enough to be carried along with whatever he says.

I have a feeling we might run into Polly and Dennis a few times during this holiday but, for now, here’s a short video of Denise’s first horse and carriage ride. (She made Mirinda swear we wouldn’t canoodle.)

Shortly after that video was shot, we ran into a guy trying to get out of a parking spot that was smaller than his car. He decided to leave the car there. There was also a dead cat which Mirinda unsuccessfully tried to avoid seeing by holding her iPhone at just the right height and angle. We were stopped in this street for quite a while.

Having missed out on the beginning of beer time, we headed for a little place we may have visited last time we were in Seville for beer and tapas. It was lovely sitting under the umbrellas as the sun beat down, drying the previously soaked streets. We clearly came to Seville at the right time.

Finally we headed back to the hotel for our Spanish siesta. 

The view from our room

Eventually we headed off for a cocktail in the piano bar (Mirinda trying to break the glass wall on the way) before heading off for dinner. We wandered the narrow streets of the Barrio Santa Cruz until we found a place we visited last time and settled down to dinner.

On the way we saw a rather strange sight. A man in a white doctor’s coat was standing just back from his window stirring something in a cup while people stared into his room. The man in the coat was staring right back at the people outside. It was quite weird.

Later, on our way back, he was still there but this time was sitting at a dining table playing with a remote. I don’t know what it all means.

Another wonderful surprise was running into the white Mary on the way back. A Taiwanese lady asked me who she was. I told her it was Mary, mother of Jesus wearing a big white dress being carried around the streets before heading back home for the night.

She was very happy, praising god for letting her be there just at the right time to see her.

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