Spain: The First Two Days
[Note: this post is kinda long with a lotta pictures. It may come up short in the email but click the site to see the whole thing.]
Last month, my wife and I took a big trip overseas to Spain, and, to say the least, it was definitely one of those trips of a lifetime. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been ready to take another big trip, the last one we took was when we went to Rome in 2014. So we decided on Spain, and instead of hanging out in one city the whole time, we decided to make a go of it and see the country. So the plan was to land in Sevilla for 2 days, and then take a train to Barcelona for the remaining 3 days, where we’ll fly out. On the train we’ll literally see the country.
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After a few flights and layovers we landed in Sevilla safe and sound in the afternoon and when we went to baggage claim we discovered that our luggage had not made it. After waiting around and checking the other carousels at the tiny Sevilla airport, we went to inquire about our bags. The helpful attendant informed us that one of the bags was in Munich, Germany, and the other was in Lisbon, Portugal, and they won’t be in until tomorrow. How the bags made it to some other countries that were not on the itinerary I don’t know. Dejected, we left the airport and hailed a cab to take us to our spot.
The drive from the airport into city central wasn’t long at all, and once we got closer to the neighborhood we were staying in, the buildings turned older, the streets narrower, and there were orange trees seemingly everywhere. Bright orange fruits garnished the neatly trimmed trees that were stationed up and down the sidewalks. And yet, fruits were not littered all over the ground. We located our spot, a condo nestled on the second floor in a multi-unit building. One thing we noticed in Spain was that the second floor was always the third floor.
Wanting to change and freshen up, but can’t since our bags weren’t in, we decided to make the best of it and head out to explore and find something to eat. Keep in mind we were jetlagged as hell, but the sun would soon be on its way to setting, so we just have to power through. It wasn’t bad really. As we cruised the neighborhood we stopped into a convenience store to pick up some necessities; toothbrushes, deodorant, some fresh socks. I couldn’t find a contact lens case, though (my toiletry bag was checked in my luggage). We walked in the 60° weather and marveled at being in a different part of the world. It felt exhilarating.
In preparation for this trip I ordered a prepaid sim card so we could have service while in Spain. When we touched down and I activated my phone we had some fast 4G internet complete with a Spanish number. Now checking the map, cuz I like to navigate, and posting Instagram stories wasn’t an issue (I posted a highlight reel of all my Spain stories, peep it). Plus, I could turn my phone into a hotspot so my wife could jump online and post and tweet with relative ease. So consider that next time you go abroad. It may be even easier with your phone cuz most new phones nowadays utilize eSIM technology, which instead of a sim card swap you just use an app.
The next day we set out about the town and explored. We found a book store and comic store, an old church (a lot of churches had bakery outlet store fronts to support themselves) and stumbled into the Casa de Pilatos. We even sent off some postcards.
By the mid afternoon, we checked the status of the bags and taxi’d back to the airport to claim them. Imagine our elation as we drove back to our spot, bags in tow, ready to finally change our clothes. Seriously, getting our bags back was a game changer and my whole attitude 180’d after that. We got dressed and were now ready to experience some nightlife in Sevilla. And that evening included some delicious paella and a bottle of wine.
To cap off the night my wife wanted to check a flamenco performance off of her bucket list. The AirBnB recommended La Carboneria, which is right around the corner from where we were staying. After wandering around after dinner, we stopped in since it was on the way home. And this little dive down a dark-alley street did not disappoint. The room was filled with long cafeteria style tables, everybody was sitting together. Among the dull roar of the crowd was a pony-tailed man plucking an acoustic guitar, and before him a bald, mustachioed man with hair as white as ash belted out these heartfelt songs. But it was casual, as his intended audience was in his immediate vicinity. Pitchers of sangria were €12, and we found a table all to ourselves near the snack bar and a peculiar stage. Next to us sat this older couple in two chairs in the middle of the room facing the stage, bundled up with their coats, a small table with their pitcher of sangria in front. The snack bar has all kinds of variations of meat and cheese plates, and the woman running it, in fact, all the servers and bartenders had the most cheerful disposition.
Ten minutes after we settled in, the lights turned down low, and the stage in front of us lit up with some colored spotlights. The old man from before made his way to the stage, drink in hand, and parked himself on an adjacent bench. The guitar man followed and also sat down on a nearby bench, somewhat out of the spotlight. Then in walks this young man wearing skinny pants and a sweater vest, glasses, and a sandy goatee that matched his thinning buzzed hair. He takes a seat on the bench center stage. He literally looked like any young man you’d pass on the street, oblivious to the raw talent he possessed within. He stood up and thanked us for coming, and proceeded to ask us to not photograph or film the performance tonight. Everybody in the room complied, otherwise I’d be posting those said flicks and video here instead of describing it to you now. He then proceeded to project a commanding baritone voice out to the audience, crooning Spanish songs with all the emotion from the pit of his stomach. The guitar player soon followed, plucking the complicated chords that backed the emotion. After a song or two, a slender woman in a black flamenco dress came out and sat next to the singer. She looked like she was in deep contemplation over the lyrics being sung, and when the time came she stood up dramatically. Following with the notes of the song and the guitar she struck a pose, arms up and out, and her heels began to stomp in an incomprehensible pace that accompanied the passion. It was magnificent. This show went on for 20 minutes or so, and every second was captivating. We left the place and strolled home with a satisfied awe, agreeing that what we just witnessed was exactly what we wanted this trip to be about; something utterly unique and special.
The next day, after our morning coffee, juice and croissant combo, we packed up the room, hailed a cab and boarded the train to Madrid.
To be continued in Part 2!
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