Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
127Trip End Aug 01, 2007
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Where I stayed
We reluctantly checked out of the posh resort in Evora on Wednesday to catch a bus southward to the coastal city of Faro. From there we picked up another bus across the border to Seville, Spain finally arriving in the late afternoon. Buses in Portugal and Spain couldn't be easier. Every segment of the population rides them, the stations are centrally located, schedules easy to read, busses clean and new, and prices affordable. Greyhound could learn a bit from them! Anyhow, we arrived just in time to check into our hotel (unknown to us when we reserved it, it is a Best Western!) and stroll around the lovely center of this historic town as the nightlife turned on. Gorgeous, charming, and lively, Seville has unbelievable architecture, some staggering palaces and churches and the wonderful street life for which Spain is famous. We stopped into a few tapas (small-plate snacks) bars, drank sangria and ate plenty of Spanish olives and ham before finally getting back to the hotel way too late. Next morning we packed up yet again, stored our luggage at the hotel and went out to explore the sites of Seville before catching our mid-afternoon bus out of town
Mini history lesson: Spain from the 700's - 1300's was occupied and ruled by Muslims from northern Africa called the Moors. This period ended about 100 years before the "Golden Age" of exploration (Columbus, etc...)
The first place we visited in Seville was the Alcazar Palace that had been built by the Moorish rules of the region and was later expanded by subsequent Spanish rulers. The place was magnificent! Intricate stonework, verdant gardens, pools, and the all the trappings of a royal palace! Seville also had a beautiful cathedral and too many noteworthy architectural gems to mention. Unfortunately we only planned one day in Seville so we'll have to see the rest some other time. In the afternoon we took a bus heading south to the port city of Algeciras. Algeciras is the major port for ferries across the Straight of Gibraltar to get to Morocco. Our Lonely Planet guidebook described Algeciras as, "An unattractive industrial and fishing town...keep your wits about you, and ignore offers from the legions of money-changers, drug-pushers and ticket-hawkers" so we were expecting the worst. Just goes to show you can't believe everything you read. We had a wonderful time there and found the much of the downtown to be cute and locals to be very friendly
I have been adjusting to life on the road rather slowly. The realization that we are really gone for a whole year has finally set in, and sometimes I wonder secretly to myself (not secret anymore!) "What in the hell are we doing??" I had a few teary nights in Portugal and in Seville thinking about the things I was missing back home (people's birthdays, a work conference if you can believe that one, family, good friends, and friends' pregnancies). So, on one of our first long bus rides into Algeciras, Spain, we were listening to our iPods because the Whitney Houston tunes (not kidding) playing over the speaker in the bus were starting to get to us. I was listening to Bon Jovi's "Who says you can't go home?" (I do live in New Jersey you know), and I started getting really excited. Who says I can't go home? No one says that, and we COULD go home at any time. Something about this realization made the homesickness ease. Being on this trip is my choice, and should we choose to do so, we could go home at any time. Free will is a beautiful thing. Anyway, I was in deep though pondering this idea, when Todd tapped me on the shoulder with a huge grin on his face and said, "Shhhhhh...I can hear you singing over my iPod." I guess that is why people were looking at me on the bus. And if you have ever heard me sing before, then you know it isn't pretty.