« Big City Madrid, Spain | Main | An Interesting Night »

The Tiring Life Of Living Out Of A Backpack

We have arrived into Seville, Spain. (In Spain, it is known as Sevilla; Spanish folk won´t understand you if you ask about Seville). It has been a long trip here.

Madrid is a nice city, especially in the evenings when the crowds come out into the plazas and cafe terraces; there is a great energy in the city. Still, it is a really big city, which can be a little overwhelming after awhile. So, we took a day trip our last day in Madrid. We jumped on a bus and headed out to a little town called Segovia. It is a nice town for sure, but it turns out that it is fairly touristy. It doesn´t help that it has a huge and amazingly intact Roman aqueduct just outside its walls, or that it has the castle that supposedly inspired Walt Disney´s Snow White fairytale castle. The streets get pretty choked with the tourists. Still, it was a nice trip to get outside of Madrid. 

The next morning we were off early to get to Toledo, which is a real magical place. It isn´t nearly as touristy as Segovia, it seems so much more authentic and interesting. To be clear, it is a much larger city than Segovia, and was in fact the capital of Spain for a long time until it became clear that it would not be able to keep up with the growing importance of the capitalhood (it is build on a relatively small hill). It is a fascinating medieval city, winding streets and tall buildings that frequently are older than the US. We only had a day there, but we walked a lot, and ended up seeing the city from end to end (there are 56,000 inhabitants, but it is a compressed city). That was actually fairly impressive, because we managed to visit one of the most interesting museums for a couple of hours in the midst of getting ourselves repeatedly lost in the hilly streets of Toledo. That museum, the Museo Duque de Lerma, was probably the most interesting museum that I have visited for a long time. It is relatively unknown museum, we were the only visitor, and for our entry fee, we got a personalized tour. It was really nice, because sometimes you walk through these big, impersonal museums, and if you aren´t an art or history buff (I am not, for those who might wonder), then it turns out to be about as exciting as a kick in the face. Our guide went through the entire museum with us, telling us history and information about the pieces. The museum was a hospital for the poor at some point, which is interesting especially for those of us who are nurses. There were patient charts from the 1700s that had hand designed covers, and an advanced pharmacy from that period that was really amazing. Not only that, the museum had a number of El Greco paintings, which were displayed much more intimately than, say at the Prado; you could put your nose about an inch from the canvas and really look at them.

Toledo was quite a place. After walking ourselves into a stupor, we found a little restaurant that served the locals; those places are precious in their own respect. This one served paella and tapas, two dishes well known as Spanish specialties. We spent the evening hiking up and down the steep streets of Toledo, the place takes on a special sort of feeling, more quiet and calm and perhaps reminiscent of the days of centuries before, after the crowds retreat. Then we collapsed in our bed, which happily was in a cheap but nice hotel (41 euros for a private room!) and slept like rocks until this morning.

See, we are getting tired. Day after day of walking, miles and miles, begin to take their toll. Yet, when you only have a day in a place like Toledo, there is no way you are going to take a day off and relax. We walked for hours there, and the hills were impressive. That city might be built on the top of a hill, but it runs all the way down as well. So, today, we decided to have a rest day, with our one objective to make the trip back to Madrid by bus and then catch the train to Sevilla. The journey itself was impressively exhausting. We had to carry our bags down to the bus station; we both are imagining that these bags are slowly gaining weight, like a chubby kid at fat camp. Jess is convinced that her bag is holding more stuff now than before, even though if anything more of her stuff has migrated to my bag. Anyhow, we made the bus in the morning, and arrived back in Madrid. Then we had to walk into the metro system and get onto our correct metro line. Turns out that two stops from our connection onto the second line, they had closed our first line for repair, so we had to get off and jump onto a third line for several stops to get further up the second line in order to reach our destination. Besides the progressively heavier bags, the stress of trying to keep up with the changes in the lines, in Spanish no less, was taxing. By the time we reached the train station, we were both grumpy as hell. We made the train with no problem, but couldn´t look at each other for the first half hour on the way to Sevilla.

Then we arrived in Sevilla. Problem was that while I had booked a hostel in Sevilla, I hadn´t written down even the name of it, thinking I would have access to my email before we left Madrid (that was before the day trip to Segovia, and there aren´t internet cafes in Toledo that I am aware of, nor are there hostels). So, I had to go find an internet cafe, before trying to reach our hostel here. The hostel, which I now know is called Triana Backpackers Hostel, is located a distance from the train station, something like 3 km. But we are brave and independent, and too cheap for the bus (it would have cost 1 euro), so we decided to hike it, regardless of the oppressive heat and humidity here in Sevilla. The logic in that decision was called into question about ten minutes in, but by then we had started and couldn´t be turned back, even for the calling of an air conditioned bus that stops outside the hostel. We made it to the hostel, albeit sweaty and worn out.

Not that there is going to be any rest this evening of our self-described day of rest. We cooked food, we are going to do a little laundry, we are going to clean up a little (we smell), and then we are going to go see some free Flamenco dancing tonight. Tomorrow is a bullfight.

You see, we only have three days in Seville, and one is already over. There is not a moment to waste.

Until next time, be safe.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Hosting by Yahoo!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)