Confident we were old hands at navigating the streets of Sevilla by car (having been there only once before and on foot), we promptly got lost upon entering the city near the cathedral and found ourselves circumnavigating the city in the wrong direction on one of those highways that circle around and around and you never know where you are
. We finally looked for the cathedral spires (by this time barely visible on the distant horizon), got off the highway from hell, found our way back to the center, and had a fight as to whose fault everything about this day and the world was. Realizing time was of the essence (and that we both had low blood sugar), we united together again and found the Casa de Memoria where our friend Melinda works and was waiting for us to hand over the key to her apartment. We then raced to the train station to drop off our rental car at the office which was closing in 15 minutes. After filling the gas tank we tried entering the train station car lots and were once again stuck in a traffic vortex, this time in the six roundabouts that surround the train station, with traffic lights in the middle of the roundabouts, four lanes in each of the roundabouts, and no way out of the roundabouts. After then entering the wrong car rental return parking lot and re-entering the traffic cirlce vortex, we somehow shot free and screeched to a halt in front of the office with two minutes to spare. The rental car people seemed unhurried and then proudly informed us the office was open for another four hours. So much for office hour information so carefully gathered from the internet!
Melinda's apartment was a welcome refuge from the sweaty, frustrating day, and so was the cafe in the square outside her apartment building where we used to have coffee every morning. We sat at a table outside, ordered two canyas, and enjoyed the sounds of Spanish being spoken, mopeds whizzing by, and the general mayhem that only a true Spanish city can offer. We had made it!
Dan and I were happy to be leaving Benalmadena and heading into the hills of Spain towards Sevilla. On our way there we stopped in Ronda, a town built on two sides of a deep gorge and noted for its typically white, Andalusian houses. What we found amidst all this beauty was what seemed like hundreds of tour buses, with thousands of tourists. As soon as we stepped off the main drag, however, we found quiet, winding streets with cascading bougainvillea and flowers in colorful ceramic pots. Enjoying all this charm we then stumbled upon the Museum of Torture, where methods used during the Inquisition were on display for all to see. Although one of Dan's great joys in life is to take photos of me in dungeons, shackles, and various torture contraptions, I refused to go in, so we left Ronda and continued our drive.