Thursday, February 16, 2023

day two- I think!?!

 Ok so I know we will eventually loose track of the days but right now I know this is the second  full day we have been here - having arrived three nights ago at around 8PM.... 

We started day 2 with a refrigerator emergency and so we got a late start- we had a list of a few items we needed to pick up so we were headed to Sephora and El Corte des Ingles (department store). But we were waylaid by - 

OMG we just found the best thing ever! Phil has been on this FB group for Sevilla and learned from them that the place for everything you might ever need is located in what they call Chinese stores. So today we stopped at one that said on the sign that they had Ferreteria (hardware) for some adapters for the electrical stuff... The guy at the cashier looked at the one we brought and pulled three out from the drawer underneath him! Clearly a frequently requested item. Then we went on to the one pictured below. They apparently serve in place of our drug stores. There we bought shower gel and paper towels! #winning. And they had easy 10,000 items in the store! Souvenirs, school supplies, toys, paper goods, buckets, mops, nails & screws.....

so we were returning from the Chinese store and ran across a bagel place with lox and bagels with cream cheese etc. But we got a super good laugh when we read further on the menu. These two "VERY" kosher kind of bagels. #NOT 

After putting away our goodies from the Chinese store we decided on a drink outdoors - we found a bar nearby that  had seating in a plaza next to it and spent some time relaxing in the sun, but when the sun went in we returned to our apartment to catch up on "work" before heading to dinner.. And by "work" I mean emails and dinner reservations and social media posts etc.... but here are osme things we saw when we were out today- and on the walk to dinner- 

Then it was off to dinner - at Casa Manolo Leon... a terrific meal in a lovely setting- 

Tomorrow- we meet our group leader for the Spanish immersion class.  The class is run through Road Scholar programs at the Spanish Studies Abroad in Sevilla school.   We begin at a meetup point and walk to the school - where we will do introductions - then a brief orientation of the overall program (every weekday 3 hours of language lessons Monday to Thursday - then 3 hours of culture lecture on Friday- with a few field trips mixed in and a local speaking partner program - meeting weekly) then a welcome dinner together.... and a full weekend of city orientation with public transport and various other things to teach us before we start school on Monday morning!

so we will be very busy soon... but we still have one daytime to ourselves before the program begins so there might be one more decent meal before we head into group territory for a couple of days...LOL

we start to settle in

 So we finally got checked into our apartment and relaxed after a lengthy unpacking and a grocery store run...

above view from our kitchen window- 

We then started with a first evening meal that totally kicked butt... 

First dinner out and we chose well! Every course was good but the pork knuckle was beyond delicious - making it all the way to sublime! The two desserts vied for the title of winner, but they were both so excellent that I'd give them both gold medals. Although we stayed last night in the hotel (across the street) by the same name, we had checked out this morning when we moved to our new digs, we did not begrudge the short walk to this fantastic restaurant (and would only say a longer walk back "home" would have served us somewhat better)

We walked home in an evening made for light jackets and hit the bed for a good night sleep after the long journey here... stay tuned for more-

Wednesday, February 15, 2023


So for years Phil and I have referred to the experience of getting somewhere when you travel overseas as a visit to Airportland. It is the place you must traverse to get to where you want to be- a hazing in so many ways, but an evil that appears to be necessary in today's world - maybe some point in the future it will be different but for now- a visit to Airportland brings much waiting, much walking, some rushing, a lot more waiting, lines for every part of the process, and as mediocre food as possible LOL

So we tried to ameliorate the mediocre food a tiny bit by eating right before getting to the airport at a nearby mall franchised restaurant. It was decent if not memorable- 

Then we were off to TPA for the first leg of our journey to Spain via London Gatwick.

I admit to fascination with all things maps and most things airplanes. If I ever flew BA business before it's been years. Despite doing business in London for two decades I can only recall flying United Business or First.  These seats (they call them suites ) are well designed with all sorts of cubby storage and easy access to in seat power (no ab twists required) the tray table has multi settings for eating, working, snacking etc. The map (which is my flight entertainment of choice) is a new weirdly 3D motion that also gives tours of the cities you came from and are going to.... Not liking the frenetic pace so I think I'll change to the aerial tour of Britain.

We flew on British Airways in Club World class (read Business class with a fancy name LOL) The service was great, the meal fell off a steep cliff after the appetizer but hey- it's airplane food... we could not check our bags all the way through (yes we - who NEVER check bags, had bags to check as we are gone for 2 months)  so we had to exit security in London Gatwick and pick up our bags and recheck them to Sevilla.  A process I would not recommend to anyone... enough said. 

Then we had booked a day use room at the onsite BLOC (weirdly mini rooms) hotel. Our layover was eight hours.... so we went to the hotel and the best thing about it was - we paid for an upgrade to a room with a window LOL - so we didn't feel like we were in a cave but - well the view was... well it speaks for itself.

Then it was more waiting, after leaving the hotel and going through a horrific security check... There's something about "Airportland" that creates zombie like behavior - especially for those early AM arrivals from the States into Europe for transit passengers. No amount of caffeine makes up for the lack of sleep overnight. For years my boss Lew and I used to ride around on a HOHO bus and eat a few times while waiting for our rooms to be readied in London. Here we wait at London Gatwick for a flight to Sevilla dehydrated and desperate for sleep. But as every traveler knows. You forget the horror of Airportland when you arrive at your destination and are sitting - say for example, overlooking the Grand Canal in Venezia sipping an Aperol Spritz. So, onward we go.... #mykingdomforapillow

A tale of two hotels in one day. Or: A Room With/Out a View. Our first view (shown above) could perhaps be titled "post nuclear winter". On the other hand when we arrived in Seville around 8pm and when I opened the balcony doors of hotel room two ("2 for Tuesday") I found an orange tree and a lovely street below. Gotta love travel. It builds character. 

Here's a funny one- our bathroom at the day room was a toilet and small sink INSIDE a small shower stall - our second hotel has a very very spacious bathroom with a separate toilet room down the hall way. NOT "lo mismo" (Spainsh for "la même chose")

After a good night's sleep and a lovely breakfast at the hotel we tried to check in to our rental but were told we couldn't check in for a couple of hours - while they cleaned - so we went to a park, and then went for a lunch a nearby restaurant where we had sodas and then a lunch and made a dinner reservation.  We have arrived in Spain.! 

We checked into the apartment and went to the grocery for a few items to tide us over until we really got a chance to settle in... the unpacking took a long long time.... LOL I committed the crime (in our family) of overpacking.- next year I will do better- I am out of practice on long long long trips...  so stay tuned.... hasta la vista!