Need to pay attention

I was just buying some food from a street vendor (chocolate covered mini-donuts) and a group of Americans or Canadians walked by and a girl from the group stops, looks over my shoulder and says 'Yum! Those look really good!!'. I just smiled and said 'si', also with kind of a dumb look that spelled out I was a foreigner. Only when they walked away did I realize that they were speaking English and I could understand them. Idiot.

I've been blank staring it or listening to broken English for so long, I'm not used to understanding. Again - idiot.

My super expensive hotel room.

Really, its expensive but not that expensive compared to American rates, but it's a 150% premium on regular rates (110 euros/night, so ~$155) because of Carnival. I was laughed at when I asked for 2 nights. It's a down-pour here so it looks like I could be stuck here for a while, so in that respect I guess I'm getting my money's worth. I hope I have the same luck as I did in Seville & it is nice tomorrow.

Also, it turns out that the carnival (not carnivale, as I'd previously spelled it) started yesterday, so this is the first weekend... which apparently is the better one. Really hoping for some improvement in the weather.

Change of plans

So much for Cordoba & a return to Malaga.

At the last minute (literally) I decided to go to Cadiz. Cadiz is a small city on the Atlantic side of southern Spain, and apparently the city has fallen on pretty rough times. But there is tons of history in the city (it was founded in 1100 BC and is where Columbus departed on his 2nd & 4th trips to America), and it is also home to the world's 3rd biggest Carnivale (next to Rio de Janerio and Trinidad). Carnivale is on right now and in its last weekend. I was half an hour early for my train to Cordoba, but when I got to the station I saw the train leaving for Cadiz in 5 minutes and made a quick change of plans. My only worry is that my pre-paid phone card will run out while I'm gone and I won't have data. I cannot live without data, and Cadiz will be much less enjoyable if I can't have Wikipedia, Google Maps & Google Translate at my fingertips. I NEED DATA.

The weather is shit all across Spain, but I figured there is no real sense in heading home and Cadiz is a more accessible via Seville than from Malaga. It is cold (10 degrees), raining and I have no idea if I can get a hotel tonight but WeatherEye (via access to data) told me is was much colder in Cordoba. Plus it only is 12 euros & 2 hrs to take the train to Cadiz... if it doesn't work out I can either take the train back to Seville or home to Malaga. Speaking of which, I'm more convinced than ever that the YYC-YEG corridor needs a high speed rail system.

Sevilla/Seville

What a long, tiring, fulfilling day. I didn't get much sleep last night, and the forecast today was for rain - so when I got up and saw that it was sunny out I fully expected to be coming home for a nice siesta in a few hours. Yesterday was really miserable (photo from the top of the cathedral tower from yesterday below), and most of the sights in Sevilla are outdoors so it's not a lot of fun to sight-see when it's pouring out. Turns out it was really nice all day, and I really loved the city and couldn't bring myself to come back to the hotel.

My fist stop was at the Alcazar. The Alcazar is the Spanish word for castle - and although it isn't the largest or most prominent alcazar in Spain, there is a ton of history there. It was built in the 11th century by the Moors, and then claimed and built upon by the Christians during the Reconquista. La Alhambra in Granada (which I saw last week) was actually built the the Muslims to replace Seville's Alcazar after it fell to the Christians. The place was amazing, especially the gardens (photo below). I had a chance to get lost in my first real hedge maze. The thing that was probably the most notable for me was the Alcazar was where Columbus met with Ferdinand II and Isabella I after his second trip to America.

I spent a good 3-4 hours walking around the Alcazar and even found a place to take a quick afternoon nap in the garden.

After that I took a tour bus ride around the city. I figured that I probably won't stay another day, but Seville is Spain's 3rd largest city, so I needed to get a good, quick overall view of the city. The tour wasn't anything special, but I'm glad I took it. There was a ton of stuff I wouldn't have seen - such as the bullfighting ring and the Expo '92 site, which was unbelievable. I also learned a bunch about some places that were more accessible to where I was, so after the tour I went for a long walk to take some photos and hang out a bit & enjoy the weather.

The plan is to take an earlier train out of here tomorrow and I think I'm going to stop for the day in Cordoba, which is on the way back to Malaga. If the weather is crap I may skip it.

In any case, I loved Seville. I will definitely make a point of coming back here at some point in my life. I can't wait to get back and get some photos off my camera (the iPhone pics really don't do the place justice).