Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spain - Transport woes in Sevilla

In Spain, most touristy sights don't open till 9:30 or even 10:00am. Which was just as well, since it gave us a little more time to sleep in. We walked to the cathedral to take some touristy shots before heading to Plaza Nueva, where we met up with some of our hostel friends Steph and Jonathan, Eva and Bobby. The hostel had advertised a free walking tour that would commence at 11am. Either the Spanish went by Spanish time (i.e. very late) or perhaps it was a Sunday and the guide decided to take the day off, we didn't know. The walking tour never happened. In any case, our group took it upon ourselves to do some sightseeing of our own. We initially wanted to check out the Hospital de la Caridad because it closed at 12:30pm today, but walked past the Royal Alcazar (royal palace) on our way. Michaela, Sarah and I decided to hop in line to see the palace over the hospital. Due to hiccups in our travel plans, we had only half a day left in Sevilla, so we had time for just ONE tourist attraction. And c'mon, of course it had to be the palace. The palace over the hospital any day. Sevilla definitely deserves a visit of 2 or more days, but oh well,  it is what it is. Jonathan and Steph parted ways with the rest of us, while we got our tickets to see the Alcazar. Built in the 10th century for the governors of the Moorish state, it was extensively rebuilt in the 14th century under the rule of the Christian king Pedro I. The palace was elaborately decorated in the Mudejar style, which is a mix of Islamic and Christian elements, complete with colorful ceramic tiles, lush gardens, open courtyards and watery pools. We didn't regret picking this as our main sightseeing, only that we didn't have more time to stroll through the gardens on this beautiful day.

We rushed back to the hostel to collect our belongings before hopping into a taxi to head to the airport. Here, our troubles with transportation resumed. When changing our travel itinerary, all rebookings were done hastily, on websites that were fully in Spanish. Michaela and I had spent a lot of time and frustration cutting and pasting sections of the websites to Google Translate. Somewhere along the way, we had booked our flights out of Jerez, a different city one hour away, instead of Sevilla. And there was no way to change our flights as the next flight out of Jerez was two days later, and all flights out of Sevilla were booked solid. This meant we would miss at least a day or even two in Barcelona, which was to be our next destination. Us girls sat down in much defeat, typing furious on our various devices, trying to figure out the next best plan. In the end, we decided to reverse our itinerary, which was to catch a train to see Madrid first before going to Barcelona. Actually this worked out really well for me, as I eventually fly out of Barcelona anyway. But it meant changing train tickets, rebooking hostel reservations and coughing up more Euros. In any case, we were finally on our way again.

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