It is amazing how much better you can feel with the warmth of the sun on your face. After Shazza had got her full eight hours sleep, and perhaps a bit more, she had changed from being a not ‘happy teddy’ to being a very ‘happy bunny’ !! Even the ‘work of fiction’ could not dampen our spirits when it forecast a dry, cloudy day with temperatures reaching 18 degrees(c), whether that would prove to be correct or not we didn’t really care, at least here at ‘Puerta Gelves’ we had everything we required, come rain or shine. Even Shazza had decided to ‘chillax’ over her desire to get to Morocco as quickly as possible for she, like me, liked this place and on our previous, albeit short visit, we had both fallen in love with ‘Seville’.
We agreed that we would stay here and watch both the ‘work of fiction’, on the iPad weather ‘App’, as well as the nightly ‘BBC World’ weather reports on the TV, the latter being very good as they showed the weather radar pictures covering Morocco and the Southern part of Europe. However I was not prepared for Shazza’s next suggestion ! We had only spent two days exploring Seville on our last recent visit, I felt we had done it justice but it was a bit of a whistle-stop tour. Shazza had been reading more about Seville in our tourist bible, ‘Rough Guide to Spain’ to see if their was anything that we had missed first time around. We hadn’t really missed anything of consequence, however, she read that on the 8th December there would be lots of pre-Christmas activities going on in the City and then on the 9th December the official ‘switching on’ of the Christmas lights. Now when we lived our former ‘conventional’ lives, Shazza had a very strong ‘Bah Humbug‘ feeling towards Christmas, it was me that used to insist that we put all the decorations up and make our living room something akin to ‘Santa’s Grotto‘, and I always decorated the tree, I liked Christmas, I liked drinking Sparkling wine and eating my traditional turkey dinner, so I am not sure how I am going to cope with just ‘Mint Tea‘ and ‘Sheeps Eyeballs‘ in Morocco !! So it did come as a bit of a surprise when she suggested that we stay here until at least the 10th December so that we could go and watch both the festivities commence and the switching on of the lights, irrespective of whether Morocco had a heat wave in the meantime !! This was music to my ears, we would be here for at least another eleven days, yee hah !!
At least now we could spend some time relaxing, not planning routes or looking for ‘Aires’ or ‘Wildcamping’ locations, we could spend some time exploring ‘Gelves’ a little more, even if I knew that would definitely include the insides of the ‘ALDI’, ‘LIDL’ and ‘Mercadonna’ shopping establishments. We were familiar with the bus timetable for getting in and out of Seville and could re-visit at a more leisurely pace now that we had time on our hands. In my ‘routine’ pleasantries with our fellow Motorhoming neighbours I had got to speaking with one of our ‘Dutch’ neighbours, a male solo traveller, who comes to this Marina Parking every year and spends one month here. He was a keen cyclist and told me that he didn’t bother with buses and that he preferred to cycle into Seville. I remember thinking to myself that it was a fifteen-minute bus journey and that included some very busy roads. We knew that once in the City that they had fantastic dedicated ‘cycle paths’ but I didn’t fancy taking my life in my hands getting there on a bike when for a total of €6.20 (£5.05) return ticket, we could both get there with the only effort being the walk to and from the bus stop ! However, he did get me thinking about looking for ‘other’ cycling opportunities in the immediate vicinity so, whilst Shazza made some bacon rolls for lunch, I took a look at our local area on ‘Google’ maps to try to identify some potential routes. I managed to find a route that would take us right along the bank of the river, and another that would enable us to cycle to the local ‘Supermarkets’, without having to risk our lives on the busy main road, I just happened to mention this to Shazza over lunch. Have you ever had that feeling when words come out of your mouth that you just know that you are going to regret speaking them !!
We had run out of certain provisions so decided that a trip to ‘ALDI’, ‘LIDL’ or indeed both, would be in order, this would be a good opportunity to get the bikes off the back of ‘Big Momma’ to check out the ‘safe route’ that I had ear marked. It would also give me another chance to confirm that the ‘fix’ I had conducted on my bike on the ‘Aire’ at ‘Felisia Beach’ was still ‘fixed’ as we hadn’t used them since ! At this point it is also worth mentioning that the cloudy, 18 degree(c) day that the ‘work of fiction’ had predicted had already turned into a clear blue, sun shiny, 24 degree(c) sort of day, so, being the calm, level-headed sort of person that I am, all I will say is…….. ‘Up Yours !’ Work of fiction !!
One thing about this lifestyle, I dare say for people who are ‘retired’ in general, is that you tend to lose track of what day of the week it is, let alone the date or even which month you are in. This is compounded when you travel between countries, some have ‘Siestas’ whilst others do not. What I am trying to say in a long-winded sort of way, so unlike me I know, is that today was Sunday, we had not even thought about what day of the week it was, why should we, it bore no relevance, however, in this part of Spain at least, and in the smaller towns, Supermarkets such as ‘LIDL’ and ALDI’ do not open on Sunday’s !! ‘No matter” says my beloved, “We can go for a ride on that cycle track alongside the river” she said with a mischievous grin on her face. She saw the look on my face, the one that said ‘We are not cycling into Seville’ and promptly announced, “Don’t worry, we won’t go all the way into Seville today“. I looked at her and said “Shall we put money on it ?” but it was too late, she was already pedalling down the track towards the river and Seville !!
It had only taken us half an hour, from leaving ‘Big Momma’ to getting into ‘Seville’, on traffic free cycle paths. We arrived in the outer suburbs of the ‘Triana‘ District of the town, this being the main ‘Tapa’s‘ area, however, we did not know this at the time. We stopped at one of the numerous Cafe/Bars and enjoyed a nice cold beer. Now at this point, without coming out prepared with either the street plan of the city or our mobile phones, which contained ‘Google’ street level mapping, I suggested that we go no further at the risk of getting lost and to my utter surprise there was no resistance from Shazza. I suggested that we make a mental note of the street name and then when we got back to the van we could look on the map to see where we had been, we could then plan a route into the City for our next visit. Now this plan would have been perfect had it not been for a
interfering old biddy nice old Spanish lady, who, I guess presumed, by the way we were looking for names of the streets on the buildings, that we were lost. Although she was prattling away at a hundred miles an hour in Spanish, which neither of us could understand, we could not mis-interpret her very forceful arm gesticulations which were ‘go straight ahead’ accompanied by the word ‘Centro’. I needed to try to shut her up, quickly, before Shazza got wind of the fact that we were not that far from the City Centre. I used the tried and trusted phrase “Losientes, No Hablo Espanol“, but this didn’t have the desired effect, in fact quite the opposite !! You know what it is like with ‘Brits Abroad’, we say something to our foreign hosts, whether that be Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian etc. and if they do not understand then what do we do, yes ! we say exactly the same thing in English but even louder ! thinking that the person we are speaking to is in fact deaf and by raising our voice they will miraculously hear us and understand. Well this was done in reverse, instead of the old woman tutting at these foreigners, who couldn’t understand her language, in her country, and then walking away in disgust, no ! She decided to raise her voice and wave her arm in a straight ahead motion even more vigorously. It was too late, Shazza had turned her bicycle around and was half facing the ‘nice old and very loud lady’ and half facing in the direction she was gesticulating with her arm. As if to say to the old lady that she understood, Shazza now also had her arm raised and pointing in the same direction and saying ‘Centro’, and for some reason was saying this in a very slow manner in ‘Spanglish’. Everyone in the vicinity was now looking at us and watching the ‘comic theatrical street scene’ unfold, it would have been embarrassing had it not been so incredibly funny to watch !! The interfering old biddy nice old lady, smiled when she realised that Shazza had understood her directions, then glanced a look of disdain at me as if to say ‘Men, Simpletons’ !!
After all her efforts we couldn’t just turn around and return to ‘Big Momma’ as we had intended, could we !!!!!!! So, we mounted our trusty steeds once more, under the watchful gaze of our informative benefactor, and headed into the City !!
What I will say is that cyclists in Seville get some serious preferential treatment, not only are the cycle paths all painted green, but they have individual lanes, one for those travelling in one direction and another lane for those travelling in the opposite direction and ‘arrows’ painted on them to indicate which lane you should be in. Not only do they have them along the roads, protected from vehicular traffic by small concrete bollards running alongside, but these ‘wide’ two-lane cycle paths are also within the pedestrian areas of the city !! In my previous post about our trip into Seville I mentioned that it was possible to ‘walk’ to all the different ‘Districts’ within the city, just imagine how much quicker it is to cycle !! We crossed one of the many bridges spanning the river and then cycled along the promenade, on our designated cycle path of course.
I have never ridden a bicycle in a city before but here in Seville it is made so easy, the cycle paths are everywhere and they are all interlinked. I was saved another city tour, but this one on our bicycles instead of a bus, for no other reason than we were both getting
sore bums a little saddle sore !! We found a nice little riverside Cafe/Bar and stopped for a well-earned coffee before heading back to Gelves. After making our way back, past all the pavement ‘Tapa’s’ bars, with the wonderful aromas , we promised ourselves a return visit the following day to have lunch, but perhaps this time we will take the bus, after all we will more than likely be taking some liquid refreshment of the ‘grape juice’ variety and one shouldn’t drink and cycle !! We knew the route back to ‘Big Momma’ and again it only took us half an hour.
The ‘work of fiction’ showed another warm sunny day, however, we awoke to a chill in the air, thick grey cloud and a strong cool breeze blowing. This did not bode well for an ‘Al Fresco‘ lunch ! It was a little after 09:30am, the Spanish don’t ‘do lunch’ until 2pm so we had a bit of time. We had met ‘Dave and Betty’ when they arrived, they were parked directly behind us and so we had passed pleasantries on several occasions. We had got chatting, as you do, and whilst doing so the sun made an appearance. Before we knew it the time had passed and it was Twenty Past One !! We rushed inside, got changed, caught our bus and made our way to an appointment with a ‘Tapa’s’ lunch.