The Coup Seville

Trip Start Mar 04, 2008
Trip End Oct 06, 2008

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Andalusia,
Thursday, September 4, 2008

I've got a confession to make. I've broken my new camera already. Actually, I broke it back in Salmanca. I thought I'd take in an afternoon matinee at the El Tormes mall (saw the new Adam Sandler flick, Zohan. It was in Spanish, but I figured Mr. Sandler's antics could transcend any language barriers there may be). I was attempting to fit a 1 L bottle of chocolate milk and an asian cracker snack pack into an already full backpack. It was a tight squeeze but it all fit. Unfortunately I ended up turning my camera's LCD screen into a CD screen. It still works, I just can't see what it is I'm taking a picture of. Consequently, the quality of photos may have been diminished of late and from here on in.

It was great riding from Lisboa. The first day was flat and rather uneventful. By the second day I was back into beautiful interior Portugal. I camped literally on the Spanish border the second night. I set the tent on an old, disused service road between the two countries. It's funny, the Spanish side is a national park but is nothing more than scrub brush and electric towers. The Portugal side is beautiful pine forest, but has no official designation as a park. The trees stop at the service road.

Portugal was a great country. Beautiful scenery and beautiful people. No where else did I get so much support from motorists. There is one sore spot I have for the country, however. The dogs. Portuguese dogs are a special breed. Well, not technically a breed, as they come in all shapes, sizes and colours, and look just like other dogs, but more of a collective mentality. I have never seen such raw hatred in a dog's eyes. Dogs of other nationalities would bark and set out on chase, but with the exception of the Italian mutt that bit Ainaz I always felt that it was more for sport or an action performed out of boredom. With Portuguese dogs I get the distinct feeling that they have set out after me with the sole intention of homicide and full dismemberment, not necessarily in that order. Thankfully, most are chained up or behind fences. When you see one with his jaws locked around a wrought iron gate, snarling and frothing at the mouth, it is not difficult to surmise that serving you a painful death is first and foremost on his mind.

Further on into Spain I got into mountain country. Not mountains like Canada mountains, these are old and worn but present difficult riding conditions nonetheless. Especially when it's pushing 40 degrees out. Beautiful country. Rounded mountains, arroyos secos, bedrock outcrops, olive trees, sinuous railways, dilapidated stone mountain houses, and the like. Very peaceful out on the frontier. Cloudless starry nights and quiet to the point that you get that faint ringing in your ears.

So here I am in Sevilla! I've been here for two nights and will stay tonight before getting back on the road. My excuse for the extended stay is that I'm looking for bike parts and a good mechanic, but really I just love this town! This is the Spain I was looking forward to. Palm trees, lively atmosphere, city gardens and a maze of streets. Sevilla is one tough town to navigate in. There are reference points, like the river and the cathedral, the problem is you can never see them. Once you delve into the labyrinth of streets in los barrios Santa Cruz and el Centro there is no getting out. All you can see is the cobblestone road and the peeling paint and intricate masonry of the adjacent buildings. I'm usually half decent at finding my way around towns, something of a sixth sense, but man did I ever get lost in Sevilla the other night.

I've spent the last week contemplating a dip into northern Africa. Thought I might take in Morocco and Algeria then catch the boat back to Marseille. The catch is it would mean missing the Spanish beaches and powerhouse travel towns like Cordoba, Granada and Barcelona. I was convinced I would do it anyway, but after a little more thought and some research it just looks like too big of an undertaking at this point in the trip. Jake is not riding so smooth, and frankly, neither am I. I think we'll stick around on this continent for a while longer. Sorry to disappoint you, mom. I know how badly you wanted me to go to Africa.

All is well in this part of the world. Hope all of you can say the same.

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ainaz on

Sorry to hear about your camera, but still taking beautiful photos nonetheless!

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