Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 2: Barcelona to Sevilla - May 22

It was the best no-sleep any of us had ever had.

After two straight nights combining of 6 hours of sleep total; we were all in bed no later than 8:30 p.m. last night.

We stayed in a hostel room that has 10 beds (bunk beds) and the three of us fell asleep well before any of them, meaning people were constantly coming in and leaving which made a lot of noise but in all seriousness, I don't think one of us cared a bit. We just wanted to be horizontal for awhile.

Around midnight, I decided to get up and walk around outside for about 30 minutes and then when I got back, it was MUCH quieter and most had come to bed for the rest of the night. We would sleep/lie in bed until about 6:45 a.m. when we woke up and checked on the Thunder game's Game 3 playoff game against Mavericks (lost) then we got ready to take off for the airport to head to Sevilla (Seville) in South Spain.

We caught our flight on Vueling with no problem. We all felt very well rested for the first time in a couple days and were anxious to get out and see "The Old City".

Sevilla, the place where the origination of Flamenco dancing is commonly placed. (In the movie "Meet the Fockers" Dustin Hoffman's character is in Sevilla learning flamenco dancing in a few scenes.) Sevilla is also commonly known for some of the oldest origins of bullfighting and the bullring here (Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de CaballerĂ­a de Sevilla) very famous worldwide and took 100 years to complete.

Sevilla is also home to the Giralda Cathedral, the world's largest Gothic cathedral and the world's third-largest cathedral of any affiliation (behind St. Peter's in Vatican City and St. Paul's in London). This cathedral is the main attraction.

When we arrived in Sevilla, we hopped in cab and headed to our hostel where we were to have room with only 4 beds and since there were three of us, having only one other roommate was a great advantage to getting lots more sleep in the upcoming couple of nights.

First let me introduce the other two people traveling with me and if any of you know me at all, these two probably won't be new. I am traveling with the wonderful Marek Freguson, my girlfriend of over a year and this is her first time overseas and hopefully not her last. Also, with me, Doug Vrooman. Doug has traveled with me in previous trips: Madrid, Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Prague, Berlin, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns.

After we checked in, we decided to join a walking tour of leaving the hostel with other travelers. It seemed like it had lots of potential, but after 20 min, we decided to head back to the hostel to change and find something to eat.

After showers, we headed downstairs and rented bikes for the day and headed out in direction of some great local neighborhood restaurants. Mission accomplished. It is so easy to find a place to eat/drink in Spain. Tons of local Mom/Pop places on every corner of every small and skinny street.

After we ate we hopped on our bikes and headed to the river front to ride around to the bullring and other attractions. I was really shocked at all the kayaking going on there. There were rowing lanes that went on for about 200 yards and even a small boat house where there were plenty of kayaks. Riding bikes along the river lasted about 10 min until my bike got a flat. Ok, so it's time to lock all three bikes up on a nearby bike rack and go on foot from here.

We got to the bullring and found out there was a bullfight going on at 7 p.m. but that was something Marek definitely did not want to do, Doug and I considered going to it but decided not to later on. We headed on up to the Cathedral and took the tour. This cathedral is not only famous for the size or is also the resting place of Christopher Columbus. His casket is enshrined up on high of the shoulders of four statues in the cathedral:
Pretty cool to see.

After the cathedral, we headed back to the hostel and stopped at the Spain-wide protests happening in Plaza Mayor. Hundreds of youths are gathered with tons of signs, I'm not going to go in to all that they are protesting but I'm sure you can Google it. (I have videos of this that I will upload and link to later).

After the protests we headed back to the hostel for a bit of resting and then joined joined a group of people from our hostel heading out to a small/intimate Flamenco exhibition. It was incredible. There were about 30 of us in a small room and the three parts of Flamenco were all represented: Voice, Guitar and Dance. The guitarist on Classic guitar, the singer was roughly a 25-yr old native that could belt with the best of them and the dancer was as intense as a performer as I had seen. It was a great thing to be a part of and I have some video of this as well and will upload it at a later point.

Right now, it is time for sleep. Good night!

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