Return to España Day 9-From Barcelona to Seville

Easter in Spain is such a big deal that people travel from other parts of Europe so that they can celebrate it there. However, for my husband and I both of our trips to Spain have had Easter as a travel day. In 2011, Easter Sunday marked the end of our vacation as we left Madrid to return home to Los Angeles.

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This time our travels weren’t taking us home but instead to Seville.

I think my husband is more in love with Barcelona after our second trip than he was with the first one, that’s why I think leaving Barcelona was so difficult for him. When we got up on the ninth day of our vacation he was very sad about leaving.

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I wasn’t as sad as him but still a little down. One of the many things I love about traveling is seeing new places. So while I absolutely loved returning to Barcelona and getting to know the city more in depth I was also very excited to go to Seville and see a part of Spain that I hadn’t seen before.

After showering and enjoying one last breakfast buffet at our hotel we checked out and got into a taxi and headed for the Barcelona airport. When we decided to visit both Barcelona and Seville on our trip we had been torn on what the best way to get to Seville was. We initially planned on taking the train. However, taking the train, while more relaxing, would take all day. As a result we decided to look into flying. As it turned out flying from Barcelona to Seville would only take about an hour in the air and could cost the same amount of money. In order to maximize our time in Seville we decided to fly.

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There were two downsides to flying though. One was the stress of getting through a busy airport and going through security. The second was having to wait in line and wondering how much our suitcases weighed. When we got to the airport we found that the lines for Vueling, the discount Spanish airline we were flying, were really long.

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I wasn’t sure if we were in the right line. I had checked in online but I didn’t have boarding passes for us. Luckily, that all worked out. The problem came with the weight of our suitcases. Once again my suitcase was on the edge of the weight limit but they let it though. But my husband’s suitcase was over the weight limit, just as it had been when we had left Los Angeles a week earlier. My husband we ready to accept his fate and pay the fee for being over the weight limit but I knew we could find a way to get him under. His backpack was already too full to fit anything else inside. Thankfully, my backpack had just enough room for him to take a few things out of his suitcase and get in under the weight limit. The fact that we both managed to get our suitcases under the weight limit was a relief but it was also worrisome. How in the world were we going to go through another five days of buying souvenirs and not be overweight when we returned to the United States? I was so mad at myself for over packing back in Los Angeles a week and a half before but clearly there was nothing I could do at that point.

After passing through security we had a good amount of time to kill. One thing I don’t like about European airports is they don’t post your departure gate until an hour or less before your departure time. Maybe I’m a control freak but that always leaves me feeling a little frustrated that I don’t know where to go. Since we didn’t know which gate we were leaving from my husband and I tried to stay in a central area. Despite the fact this was our second trip to Barcelona it was our first time flying out of the Barcelona airport. In 2011, we took the train to Madrid.

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That meant it was our first time seeing the departure part of the airport. We really liked it. It was very open and modern.

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Although my husband and I had only had breakfast a couple of hours before at our hotel we decided to have lunch at the Barcelona airport. We weren’t really hungry but we knew we wouldn’t have a chance to eat in Seville for several more hours depending on how long it took us to get settled so we figured it was best to eat there.

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The timing was perfect. Right was we finished our light lunch our plane to Seville began boarding.

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I wasn’t crazy about my experience on Vueling. You could definitely tell it was a discount airline. I guess you get what you pay for. Still, we did gain several hours in Seville by flying instead of taking the train so it was worth it.

When we landed in Seville I was very excited to see a new part of the world. Unfortunately, things did not go our way the first twenty four to twenty eight hours there. To begin with I was very underwhelmed with the airport in Seville. It was very worn down. It kind of reminded me of the Tegel airport in Berlin. The main difference is that Tegel is a Cold War relic. I don’t know what Seville’s excuse is for having such a dingy airport.

As our taxi took us through the streets of Seville we were struck with how empty the streets were. As my husband talked to the taxi driver he found out that the reason the streets were so empty was because of Easter; everyone who had the holiday weekend off headed to the beach, just like they had in Barcelona. When we got to the center of Seville it was thrilling to see a different type of architecture than in Barcelona.

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It was too bad that our excitement of seeing the different architecture around Seville was cut short as soon as we walked into our hotel. In order to save some money we had decided to get a hotel that had a kitchen. Our hotel in Barcelona had been expensive, but worth it, and we figured we could save a nice chunk of money by making breakfast for ourselves every morning in Seville. We had done this in 2012 in Paris and 2013 in Berlin. The problem was the hotel chain we used in those two cities does not have a location in Seville. We had found a hotel in central Seville with a kitchen that was cheap. We found out very quickly, like we had with Vueling airlines, you get what you pay for. Stepping into the lobby of our hotel was like stepping back in time and not in a good way. I’m sure the hotel might have been nice in the 1960s’s and 70’s but in 2015 it was just a rundown dump. It’s not just that the hotel wasn’t nice, the staff was very rude. Before we even checked in we witnessed some truly awful customer service. A man in front of us had been given a room where somebody was already staying. The desk clerk basically told the man to wait for an hour until the manager returned. I was shocked by how rude the clerk was to this man after a mistake had clearly been made on the part of the hotel. The clerk wasn’t much friendlier when he checked us in.

Things didn’t get any better once we got our key. And by key I mean actually key on a giant key chain. The hotel had not yet entered the 1990s and upgraded to computerized keys for the door. I know I may sound like a snob but even the hotels I stayed at last year in Peru had computerized room keys. I later figured out that the building wasn’t just a hotel. People actually rent apartments there. The elevators reminded me of something out of a horror movie.

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And then we entered our room. It wasn’t the worst hotel room I had ever been in. It was just a giant step down from our room in Barcelona. It did have a kitchen.

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However, the kitchen did not have any bowls, dish soap or sponges. The bathroom was pretty worn down. But the real downside was the regular part of the room. It had two single beds.

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That meant my husband and I would have to sleep in different beds. The beds themselves were very beat up, soft and squeaky. The room also did not have a safe for us to store our passports in. This left both of us feeling very uneasy. But we had prepaid for the room so we had to make the most of it. We unpacked our stuff and used our luggage locks to store our valuables inside our suitcases.

There was one feature out the room that we did find interesting. In 2011 on our first trip to Spain we noticed that most apartments are equipped with heavy duty shutters. We continued to notice this all over the place on this trip. We wondered how these shutters worked. Well, our room had the shutters so we finally got to use them. They are a bit tricky to raise and lower until you get the hang of it. However, they are VERY effective in shutting out the light. I’m sure they were nice in the summer when it’s light outside very late and you need to get to sleep. My husband and I have a dream of one day moving to Spain so the ONE good thing about this room was that we got to experience, first hand, the heavy duty Spanish window shutters.

After we were done unpacking we went to a nearby grocery store to pick up a few things. The thing we like about having a hotel room with a kitchen it allows you the real world experience of living like a local just a little bit. We took our groceries back to our hotel room and had a sandwich.

As much as we were disappointed with our day we did have several hours to explore Seville so we headed out. We decided to try to forget about our yucky room and enjoy the city. At first things were great.

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We headed to a nearby park.

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We love European parks and this one was no exception. This one had so much going on. There were horse drawn carriages you could rent a ride in to take you around the park our around the city.

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There was an amazing government building that looked like something about of some amazing period film. The building had canals that you could rent a boat and go out on.

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My husband and I both expressed interest in renting a carriage and a boat on our last day in Seville. One thing we liked about this amazing government building is they had little maps that have the different regions of Spain on them. We took several pictures with these maps.

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We made our way around the rest of the park.

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We walked by several closed museums.

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Then disaster struck.

I had purchased my camera before our trip in 2011. The camera had been all over the world. It had been to Spain 2011.

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It had been to Andorra in 2011.

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It had been to France in 2011.

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It had been in Idaho in 2001.

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It had been to Oregon in 2011.

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It had been to Washington State in 2011.

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It had been back it France in 2012.

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It had had been to Luxembourg in 2012.

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It had been to Colorado multiple times.

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It had been it Germany in 2013.

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It had been to Peru in 2014.

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It had been on several other trips as well snd then there in that beautiful park in Seville in 2015 it died. With two pictures left on the memory card the camera just froze up. It the shutter wouldn’t close or stay open. The camera would only turn on for about two seconds before it shut itself down. My husband and I love to take pictures on our travels and there was just no way our phones were going to be good enough for the rest of our trip. I tried desperately to reset my camera. I looked up different threads online but nothings would work.

We went back to the hotel and were once again met with the rude staff. I wanted to go on my laptop to try to find a camera store were we could buy a new camera the next morning but the desk clerk was extremely rude and dismissive when I asked about the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi didn’t work which meant I had to try to figure it out on my phone. After much searching I found two options for us. The next day we had timed tickets to visit the castle in Seville but we came up with a plan. If we got up early and got on the metro we could go to the camera shop and buy a new camera and make it to the castle with plenty of time. We didn’t want to have to spend money to buy a new camera but sometimes these things happen.

We decided to put the camera disaster and the shitty hotel room out of our minds and go out for a nice dinner. We went to a very fancy restaurant and enjoyed a great dinner with a fantastic view.  The dinner was a total fantasy but we both dreaded going back to our crappy hotel. I had a little mishap. I meant to order a mini bottle of wine but ended up ordering and drinking an entire bottle almost by itself. Needless to say that got me drunk. I hadn’t been drunk in almost nine years and my husband was amused to see me in such an inebriated state for the first time.

When we went back to our awful hotel room we had to go to sleep in different beds because of the shitty set up with the two twin beds. I was not looking forward to getting up early to have to rush and buy a new camera but I was too loopy to care too much. Since I was drunk I fell right asleep. I’d deal with the next day the next day.

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