Cadiz and Sevilla, Spain: A long bus ride, hilarity ensues, skipping the big attractions, a carriage ride
Last night, after we boarded, our Butler and room staff had a birthday celebration for Steve that was very nice. We had cake and a card in our room and our butler made a reservation at Jacques at 8:30 pm. We went to dinner, but unfortunately I had the worst entree I have had on this cruise, a steak that tasted like it had been dredged in salt. Steve agreed that it was inedible. Everything else we had was great, and we had another cake and a happy birthday song from the staff. Not sure what happened with the steak :-(.
Today we docked in Cadiz, Spain, in Andalusia on the south side of Spain. We had booked “Sevilla on Your Own” from Oceania, which included a bus ride to and from Sevilla, Spain, located about 70 miles north of Cadiz. Before we got here, we were calling it “Sevilla” and everything else we saw said “Seville”; turns out we were right.
We set out promptly at 10:00 am, driving through the very scenic town of Cadiz and then across the countryside that had lots of cotton fields, olive trees and little villages. Our tour guide was a riot (unintentionally), due to his interpretation of words from Spanish to English. He was a very nice man and I certainly am not making fun of him and we tipped him very well, but we were both doubled over in giggles trying to figure out what he was trying to say. For example: “The papillons here are near the boring and bulldings are influenced by Moskeys”, which translates to “The pavilions here are near the bull ring and buildings are influenced by mosques”. Another one: “There are many beautiful beetches in Cadiz” (I leave the translation to the reader). And, yes, I’m sure my Spanish (I took many years of it in junior and senior high, as well as in college) is completely incomprehensible, in case someone wants to point out to me that what we did by laughing at this was totally unacceptable, rude, horrible and a very politically incorrect response to this poor little guy who did his best. Perhaps we were tired, but it was very funny. The problem in this world is that no one can laugh at stuff like this anymore without getting the “harrumph, harrumph”, how dare you response. All I can say is that Lucy and Desi (she was married to the man and made fun of him), Peter Sellers (anyone remember Clouseau and “do you have a leesance for the minkey” bit?), Monty Python and Mel Brooks are endangered species.
Anyway, we arrived in Sevilla, walked a short distance into town and decided to have a beverage first (at a Mexican restaurant!) before tackling the Alcazar, the Moorish palace. We then walked over to this famous palace and found a huge line of people waiting to get in, so we changed our plans. We decided to hire one of the horse-drawn carriages for a ride. This was an awesome experience! We had an hour-long ride through the city and most of it was in a gorgeous park filled with families from Sevilla enjoying their Sunday afternoon. Our carriage also took us near the Plaza de España, a huge open plaza near an exquisite huge building that was covered in tiles with the history of Spain; we also saw several other gorgeous buildings built for a world expo in the 1920s. Our carriage ride was a highlight of our time in Sevilla.
Because this was a Sunday, the huge cathedral didn’t open until 2:30 pm. We decided to kill time at a little tapas bar nearby, sharing plates of Jamon Iberico, good cheese and croquettes. The croquettes had tuna inside, setting off the food poisoning alarm from my conservative brain, but so far we are not retching and heaving.
We walked over to the cathedral and ended up grounding out again (0-2, just like the Rockies) after we saw the huge line to get in. Oh, well, we have seen plenty of impressive churches on this trip.
We then ambled over near our rendezvous point and found a cute little sidewalk cafe nearby to kill some time before heading back to the bus. As expected, most people fell asleep on the way back, including us.
It is a beautiful evening on the ship, so what happened? We found our table near the pool for a drink before dinner, which also has a pretty good internet connection. One thing that has totally driven us up a wall is the fact that they close down the pool area pretty early every evening, no matter what the weather is like. Tonight, they’re planning a deck party at 9:00 pm. We were sitting at our usual table and the cruise director came over and said that we could stay right where we were sitting, but he let us know that the dancers would be rehearsing in the same area. Ok, whatever; we continued doing our stuff, then suddenly some young jerky officer from Romania came over and told us to move, right now, in a very brusque way. He didn’t offer us a drink, he didn’t apologize, he just said to move. So of course, we now had another wasted evening on deck (and one of the best ones so far because of the weather). Steve also lost his internet connection when we moved when he was right in the middle of uploading photos. We are paying more than 75 cents a minute for this cruise, so this was not one of their finer moments. One good thing is that we have an opportunity to review the positive and negative things on the final survey and on my cruise review on Cruise Critic.
We are sailing out now and have a beautiful sky to enjoy. We are having dinner at the Terrace cafe and are sitting outside. I had a filet mignon tonight that was killer bee, making up for the steak in Jacques (yay!).
More from Gibraltar tomorrow…