Seville


Today begins my second full day in Seville.  However, before I talk about what I’ve seen so far let me briefly recap my life since I last posted on July 11.  

Saturday and Sunday were mostly travel days.  I checked out of my hotel in Munich and made my way to the Hbf and took the S5 train to the Munich airport for my flight to Barcelona.  The Munich airport is pretty far from the city.  I don’t know the distance in miles but it was a 50 minute train ride.  Once there I checked in  and waited for my flight which arrived at the Munich airport about 15 minutes late and by the time we boarded it was already 4:45 PM for a flight that was supposed to leave the gate at 4:20 PM.  Once we boarded and were safely in the air we arrived in Barcelona at 7:10 PM.  After I retrieved my luggage I decided not to take the bus because I was really tired of what I am now calling the nine days of travel hell so I took a taxi even though I knew it would be expensive, and it was, to the tune of $51.25.

I checked in to my hotel in Barcelona and immediately got directions to Barcelona Sants Station so I could make my train reservations to Seville.  The nice folks at my hotel recommended I take a taxi to the station but I insisted on taking the Metro so they gave me directions which involved taking two lines.  Well I thought that was easy enough.  No need to take a taxi.  As it turns out it was very easy to get to the train station via the Metro.  What I didn’t realize or had forgotten since my last visit to this beautiful city is, much like the Paris Metro, there are a lot of up and down steps and very long walks to the train tracks.  Doing all of that on a Saturday night with no luggage or backpack was easy but by the time I reached the station I realized that taking a taxi early Sunday morning to the train station would be the smart choice.   

Now at the station I went directly to the ticket counter of the state railway company better known as Renfe to try and make a reservation to Seville for early Sunday morning.  I was flatly told that I was not able to make a reservation for a Rapido (fast train) in advance and I would have to come back Sunday.  This was not good news.  I was a little worried that the trains would be sold out and I would either have to take a slower train or perhaps I would even have to rent a car which I was and still am loath to do.  However, if I had to resort to renting a car I would do it.  The person at the ticket counter told me there was an 8:30 AM train that would get me in Seville at 2:14 PM.  That would be perfect I thought.  He recommended I arrive at the station not later than 7:15 AM.  So I left the station determined not to let these minor road blocks to my efficiency standards upset me.  Once I got back to my hotel I asked the desk person to please have a cab waiting for me by 6:30 AM and then I went straight to bed after laying out my clothes for an 5:30 AM alarm.  I slept quite well and was still asleep when the alarm went off.  I was showered, shaved, dressed and packed by 6:25 and then went down and checked out and took the taxi that was waiting for me to the Barcelona Sants Station.  So far so good.  When I arrived at the station, (by the way the fare was $11.00.) there weren’t a lot of people so I got in line hoping to get a reservation on the 8:30 AM Rapido to Seville.  Once I reached the ticket counter and made my request the person there checked the seating availability and found one last first class seat on an otherwise sold out train.  YESSSSS!

Once on the train I purchased some breakfast, a Spanish omelet and sat back in my large seat read a little, looked at the changing countryside whizzing past me at about 175 MPH and snoozed.  By 2:14 PM we arrived in Seville.  After I got off the train I decided to just try and make a reservation for my next destination which will be Granada on Saturday July 19.  I only had to wait in line about 10 minutes and lo and behold I was able to make a reservation on a Rapido leaving at 11:45 AM Saturday morning for the three hour journey to Granada.  This was great news because I am much more comfortable when I know in advance that the transportation reservations are booked.  I asked the person at the ticket counter for directions to my hotel and the person told me to go outside and take the 32 bus and get off at the very last stop and the hotel would be just a couple of minutes away from the bus stop.  At the very last bus stop I driver pointed me in the right direction and within two minutes I was at my hotel.  My room is very nice, it has a king sized bed and is air conditioned.  What’s not to like?  Oh I almost forgot, there is a roof top pool and solarium which is where I took the picture at about 5:00 PM before taking a very nice two hour walk to begin to familiarize myself to this very old, very beautiful city.

Yesterday morning I signed up for a four hour walking tour that would take us to about 75% of the main sightseeing attractions of Seville.  The walk was well worth the $12.00 fee and now along with my travel book know how I will spend the rest of my five days here.  When the tour was over at about 2:00 PM I had a salad for lunch and by then the temperature had reached 100 degrees so I decided to go back to my room and have a nap.  After my nap I arranged to go listen to and see some Flamenco singing, dancing and guitar playing.  I found out from my tour guide earlier a place where traditional Flamenco is performed.  That is with no more than three people on stage.  Although the performance lasted only an hour I really enjoyed it because the venue was small and felt genuine as opposed to a big theatre and big stage production with a large cast which I’m told is the norm these days.

So today I begin my serious tour of Seville.

1.Louis.skypala@verizon.net © Louis M. Skypala 2014