Getting confused in Cadiz, catching a cold in Seville, yep! time to say goodbye to Andalusia...

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Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Cádiz
October 16th 2012
Published: February 7th 2013
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After a great start in Sevilla I was more than ready to head on to my next destination, Cadiz, and explore this old city. I woke up before sunrise (yeah right! Well… early enough though 😉), packed my things and went searching for the train station – according to my map it was meant to be pretty straight forward getting there, so put my map aside and set off… Straight away I regretted taking a bag with me instead of a backpack (back at home it made sense to take a bag as it was much smaller than my backpack, but now with the city still asleep and hardly anyone on the streets and me making all this noise from dragging the wheels on the cobblestoned paths, somehow taking the bag instead of a backpack didn’t seem like such a great idea after all)… after making a few bad turns, I finally got to one of the main streets and shortly after was at Santa Justa station with one thought in my head – half empty or not, definitely backpack next time! Lesson learned!

There was a nice café at the station, so sat down and had a nice breakfast – it’s the simple things that make us happy right? A big slice of bread with tomato paste and olive oil, glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of strong coffee – and all that for €2.50 – it’s hard to get coffee alone for this price in Dublin! Full of energy jumped on the train and soon after departed for Cadiz. The journey was very pleasant – listening to my iPod and looking at the landscapes and cities we were passing by, 2 hours flew by in a blink of an eye…

The Pensión I was staying in was just 10 minutes away from the station, so got there in no time, dumped my bag and was ready to explore again. Walked around the narrow streets of the old town for a while, checked out the view of Cadiz from the cathedral’s tower and after an hour could say that I saw the whole old town of Cadiz already! The town looked as if it was asleep and was very empty… have to say that despite the beautiful sunny day, I really wasn’t enjoying my day here… Maybe it’s because I felt as if a huge cloud came over my head and my mood was getting worse by the minute… suddenly I didn’t see a point in walking around, actually it was hard to find sense in anything at all in that moment! As if it wasn’t enough I was getting the first signs of a cold coming my way – sore throat and sneezing every two seconds didn’t really help making me feel better about myself at this moment. I was kind of hungry as well, but it turned out that everything was closed at this time – yep! siesta time! Totally forgot about that! Hungry, tired and with a mood from hell, went back to the hotel and decided it’s best to sleep it off…

Woke up feeling slightly worse – all congested by now, with a headache, and my stomach was stuck to my spine at this point basically begging for a bit of food, so whether I wanted it or not, it was time to hit the town again if only to search for some food… thankfully my spirit lifted a bit and after walking for a while I actually started smiling again, and thinking how silly it was of me, getting so overwhelmed by the stupid mood before… found a nice place to eat, but unfortunately didn’t have a chance to eat there after all, as an old, drunk guy sitting at the next table decided I needed his company and just couldn’t get the hint that I wasn’t interested talking to him at all (or joining him at his table for that matter), so not wanting for my bad mood to come back again, I just wished him a nice evening (I really did, I swear! 😉) and walked away. Went to the pharmacy instead and got some badly needed medicines and then just bought some empanadas in one of the shops for my dinner.

And then something weird happened… Was in a supermarket and some surfer guy asked me if I knew where the spices were, the question seemed so out of place that we both started laughing straight away. While we were chatting, they started closing up the supermarket, so he asked if I’d like to join him for a walk around the old town – since it was nice to actually talk to someone my age (more or less at least), and after that miserable day, some company seemed like a good idea at that moment, so I thought why not? It was really nice talking at the beginning – about studies, work, Spain, Poland, Ireland (he studied in Cadiz), but then after a few minutes of walking, he was already inviting himself to Dublin and planning our next holidays in his country!!! Not to mention that he was trying to walk hand in hand with me and soon after trying to kiss me as if we were a couple already! I know how naïve that sounds, but I was just so shocked and confused at that moment that didn’t know what to do… thankfully some senses came back to me very fast and just headed back to my hotel. Only one thing was pretty nice about this encounter – him saying I looked as if I was in my early twenties!! Haha, but that would be about it, as besides that it was way too confusing and definitely not something I was looking for!!!! Looking at my previous relationships I thought I should have known a few things about men by now, but I guess there is still a hell of a lot to learn in the men department, haha! Ah well... Honestly this was the weirdest day so far! So many emotions and mood swings in one day! Let me just say that falling asleep was quite a challenge!!!

In the morning I have checked the weather forecast for the next few days and have realised that this could be my last day of summery sun this year, so decided to take advantage of it and just went to the beach. Came across a big market along the way – I actually was passing it by the previous day as well, but it was closed at the time. So much variety in seafood, veggies and fruit!!! That’s one of the things I’m missing in Ireland for sure! Diversity in the food department! Ah well... You can't have everything right? Got some nice (and extremely cheap!) fruit for lunch and headed to the beach.

Not risking in meeting the surfer dude again, just went to the small beach next to the university instead going to the big one. It definitely felt like this might be the last day of sun, as it wasn’t as hot as the days before and there were a few clouds scattered here and there. Still it was very pleasant lying down, relaxing and taking some sun. If there is one thing I definitely can’t do is stay still on the beach for more than 10 minutes (maybe even less), thankfully I had my ipod, something to read and to nibble in between as otherwise I wouldn’t have lasted long there at all. Later on decided to treat myself to some proper food, so just went to the little restaurant next to the beach and ordered some chipirones (fried squid) and a nice cold beer. Although I got something slightly different than what I was hoping for as the squid came in much bigger pieces than I thought it would (basically whole) and because of that wasn’t as crunchy, still the seafood was fresh and tasty so couldn’t complain. And had a chance to witness a wedding photo shoot right in front of my eyes as well – have to say it was pretty hard to look at it, as the girl was ruining her dress getting into the sea and when the photographer came up with the idea of the groom holding the bride on his hands in the water – I almost closed my eyes as was already picturing them both falling and landing in the dirty water (lots of seaweed around…), but thankfully that didn’t happen and at the end the couple got quite an ovation from the restaurants’ guests for their brave acrobatic efforts. 😊

Somehow Cadiz seemed like a totally different city that day! Can’t say it was the weather that made the difference as it was bright and sunny both days, but I guess it was just the change in my attitude that made me look at things in a brighter light. The same empty streets, didn’t feel cold and abandoned anymore, but just peaceful and tranquil. Really enjoyed this day at the beach! I was back on track with my thoughts and all relaxed. Also my skin seemed to have turned into a lovely bright pink/red colour, yep! the last day of sun, so what was the point in using sun screen right? Anyway... Some things I'll never learn. 😉

My train was leaving at 11 the next day, so I thought I might just stock up on some lovely fruit from the market again for the journey. Coming back from the market I passed by a little café where people were having churros with chocolate again, they just looked so yummy and so full of calories that I just couldn’t resist! Sat down and placed my order. The waiter seemed to be a bit surprised to see me there and with my order also for that matter, but took it anyway and left. Only then I looked around at the place and I noticed that there was quite a gap in the age of all the other clients of the café and myself... all the other guests were more or less double my age... ah well... and then the waiter brought my order, somehow I thought that the chocolate they serve with churros is the usual hot chocolate to drink, but basically it was a melted bar of chocolate, pretty difficult and way to heavy to drink the whole thing for sure, so ordered a coffee to go along with it, after which the waiter only nodded with a cheeky grin on his face as if thinking: ‘now she orders the drink! Silly girl!’ Haha, funny! When he came back with the coffee I asked in my lovely, twisted Spanish if they had a shop with magazines somewhere around as haven’t noticed anything close by. Upon which he answered that they sell daily paper in the kiosk nearby but they don’t have any ‘diarios romanticos’ there, saying that with that lovely smirk on his face again... hmmm... don’t recall asking for any romantic magazines??? Well, what else could I be interested in right? 😉 But then I remembered from my Spanish class when my teacher said that they really love gossip and celebrities and all sort of stories like this around here even more than they do in Ireland, so could be that he was referring to these sort of things when mentioning diarios romanticos, maybe these kind of magazines are normal here? Whatever he meant, no offence taken, I said that the daily paper would be fine – after all just wanted to get some Spanish paper for the journey to practice a bit of espanol, so anything would do fine really.

Eventually gave up on the magazine idea and after a lovely but pretty heavy breakie just headed to the station. On the way to Sevilla the sky was getting more and more clouded – so the weather forecasts are true in this country! (can’t say the same about Ireland, but then there is one season in Ireland the whole year, so you kind of always know what to expect anyway - rain that is!). So the summer was officially over... Too bad, but at least got a few days of sun, so couldn’t complain. This time I was staying around Plaza de la Encarnación. Stayed in a nice, quiet place, and had a room with a private bathroom (and a double bed actually as well, nice!) for only €20 a night. Not bad at all!

Decided to go for a walk around the Plaza first and check out some other neighbourhoods this time. Plaza de la Encarnación is worth mentioning here, as there is a huge wooden structure located just in the middle of it (and taking most of the plaza actually). It was finished only in 2011 and is known as Las Setas de la Encarnación (Encarnación's mushrooms), as it resembles... giant mushrooms!. 😉 It’s apparently the largest wooden structure in the world! You can find there a museum with archaeological relics that were found on the site, restaurant, market and of course viewing platforms from where you can admire the old town of Sevilla. I’m trying to figure out how come I didn’t visit this place but only passed it by (more than a couple of times actually!), but then I’m thinking it must have been one of these sites that I left for later on and then just had no energy to visit it in the end. Ah well... Next time!

So I wandered around the streets of Sevilla, getting lost quite a few times and losing my sense of direction so bad that even looking at the map didn’t make sense at all... And then it started raining... it was time to hide away somewhere and since I was just passing by the Museo de Bellas Artes which had a free entrance for EU citizens, didn’t have to think about it twice – it was time to indulge myself in some fine arts! Turned out to be a good idea as they had quite a nice collection of paintings by Spanish artists there.

I took my time walking around the museum and admiring the paintings, but not enough time I guess as it was still raining when I left and shortly after I was all soaked and cold so headed back to the hotel to change into something warm and dry. I got so cosy at my room that was ready to call it a day, but then remembered I read on the internet that there was a free flamenco show on Thursdays in one of the bars in the old town so decided to drag my butt out of bed and check it out after all. Was tough though! 😉 Found the street with the bar quite easily but then the door was shut, tiny little sign saying La Carboneria on top of it suggested I was at the right place, still no people around... hmmm... since it was meant to be popular, I was expecting a crowd? Taking into account that all the flamenco shows were starting around this time in Seville, I assumed it was the right time for this place as well, but then I guess it did seem to be way too early for a bar! I was ready to give up on this place already, but eventually decided to walk around a bit and head back here a bit later. As usual walked around Santa Cruz barrio and then went to Plaza de Espana, again! This time it was dark already, so perfect timing for some night shots! I was hoping that something would be going on there but was quite disappointed when I got there as there was no music, no people, nothing really... It was the first time in Seville when I thought that maybe I shouldn’t have come here on my own especially at this time, as after all it was dark, I was in the middle of the park, with very few people around... and on top of it all it started raining again, so after taking a few shots, just headed back to the old town.

When I was walking towards La Carboneria in one of the side streets, I passed a couple that seemed a bit lost. Soon after I heard the girl saying to her boyfriend that maybe they should follow me as I looked like I knew where I was going... haha! If they only knew! 😉 I guess I was almost a local at this point!

This time the doors from La Carboneria were open, what a relief! I asked a guy that was standing at the entrance if there was a show there this evening and he said that indeed there was one but was starting in an hour or so. He did say it was worth waiting for though, as there was always nice atmosphere inside as both tourists and locals were visiting this place. Sounded good to me! We started chatting and it turned out he was from Holland and moved to Spain not so long ago as it felt the right thing to do at the time and now was enjoying his life here, working and in his free time learning to play flamenco music hence loved to visit all kind of places like this one. Funny how an idea like that might have seemed to me a bit scary a few years back but now it was nothing out of the ordinary. You don't like one place, time to move! What's stopping you in the end? It was nice to go back in time for a while and talk about my and his past days living in Holland. Sadly soon after the show started he had to go to work, but the next day he would take me to try some of the best tapas in Seville and show me another place with flamenco. I didn’t stay there alone for too long though as another guy came over to me and we started chatting but this time in Spanish. Nice! More practice! He turned out to be quite a chatty guy so it was more listening than talking actually, still I have to say that my Spanish is slowly improving and we had a nice conversation after all. Time flew by and soon the show was finished or at least the main one did, as the crowd seemed to have moved to a smaller room, there was no more dancing there but still you could sit around and enjoy some Spanish guitar for another while. I’ve had enough for one evening already so decided to head to my hotel, Antonio (my new Spanish friend) asked me with a huge smile on his face if he could join me but I think the moment he was asking the question he knew the answer already, no way Jose! Haha (or in Spanish jaja ) 😊 Honestly I was in such a good mood at this point that I didn’t really get offended by his ‘offer’, just politely declined, said my goodbyes and headed to my hotel.

The last day just wandered around the streets of Seville again with the idea to do some shopping actually. But I guess getting totally soaked the day before finally took the better of me as the day was progressing I was feeling worse and worse and finally just headed to the hotel with a fever and was feeling just horrible. Thought that maybe a small nap would bring a bit of my strength back, but it didn’t work at all, so had to call off the evening with my new Dutch friend, just took some medicines instead and went back to bed. Not exactly a perfect ending to this trip but then I have to say I have had a fair bit of excitement as well as confusion this week, so maybe it was best to finish it on a quiet note? 😉

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7th February 2013

Great blog
Really enjoyed reading it. I felt like I was there myself. It is so cold and snowy up here, so thanks for letting me take a vicarious trip to sunny Spain:)
8th February 2013

Not confused...
just making the right choice. Good for you!

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