Monday, January 27, 2014

Hammam, carriage ride, funny bum, and way too much wine...

I booked our appointment at Aire for 12:00pm.  That left us with our morning to wander around Seville.  It was Monday and Bill was starting to fret about how we were going to get out of Spain and make it back to Texas in time for his leave to end at 11:59pm Texas time on Thursday, the 23rd.  I, of course, was annoyed with Bill for not arranging for leave through the weekend.  He later explained that he wanted to get to the office to take care of some stuff for a briefing with his boss.  But as we watched the flights leaving Rota Naval Base in Rota, Spain, it wasn't looking like we'd be able to get out of Spain in time for Bill to get home before his leave ended.


Breakfast!

Because Bill is hyper-responsible, he was super stressed out.  So we went for a walk and ended up passing a bunch of guys with horses and carriages.  One of them approached us and asked if we wanted to take a carriage ride.  They started at 11:00, when the cathedral opened.  I asked how long the ride would take, since we had the hammam appointment at noon.  The guy said it took an hour.  I said we'd have to do it in the afternoon because we didn't have time at that point.

Alphonso XIII…  A very expensive hotel...

As we headed toward the Guadalquivir River, we were accosted by a pushy woman wanting us to sign up for a Hop On, Hop Off tour.  I was immediately turned off by her approach and also realized that for us, the bus tour would not be a particularly good buy, since we like to walk a lot.  I listened to her spiel and finally said, "I don't think we're interested."  That seemed to piss her off, but at least we were able to cross the street.

We walked past the naval museum and along the river, then crossed into the beautiful park near the palace.  Bill and I were engaged in conversation when I got bombed by a pigeon of some sort.  Then I spotted some swans and ducks, so we turned toward there, just in time to see some guy hastily zip up his pants.  Apparently, we had interrupted him as he took a piss.


Rental bikes in Seville...

Naval museum
We walked along the street in front of the palace, then headed back toward the hotel, so I could pick up my bathing suit.  We went looking for Aire and, of course, got a bit lost in Seville's narrow streets.  I think we might have been a little late when we finally found the place.

Aire offers two hour sessions in which you can get massages or other treatments and soak in one of five pools or sit in a eucalyptus scented steam room.  You're supposed to speak in a low voice, drink lots of water and tea, and relax.  It was just what Bill needed.  Of course, it turned out that many staff members at Aire didn't speak much English, so we had to rely on our crappy Spanish skills to figure out what to do.  I actually could understand a lot of the Spanish, but my ability to speak it is almost nil now.


The outside of Aire…

I wasn't completely understanding what we were supposed to do, but managed to get into my swimsuit and found my way around the peaceful facility.  The lights were dim; there was relaxing music; and had it not been for a couple of chattering Spanish ladies, it would have been a very calming experience.  Bill and I only got fifteen minute massages.  I kind of wish I'd gotten a longer one, but I'd read on TripAdvisor that the massages weren't all that great.  I ended up with a pretty good masseuse, though.  We rotated around the salt pool, jetted pool, and warm, hot, and cold pools until we heard the chime letting us know our time was up.

After we went to the hammam, we visited what turned out to be a chain restaurant called Robles.  Once again, we ordered too much food.  The restaurant was pretty quiet and I noticed a manager type walking around, looking like he was proctoring an exam or something.

Where we had lunch…



Bill's avocado and goat cheese starter.  I skipped this because I don't like strong cheese.


My starter… fried prawns!


Bill's beef and potatoes.


Chicken and garlic.


Dessert!  Everybody loves a parfait, right?
After lunch, we took our carriage ride, though not from the guy who had asked us if we wanted one.  Our driver did not speak any English, but we were able to understand much of what he said.  He had a grey mare who seemed a little nervous in the heavy traffic we drove through.  As he was pointing out places of interest along our route, the driver got a call on his cell phone.  Bill and I chuckled, since the guy's ringtone was a horse neighing.  The driver insisted on taking pictures of me and Bill in his carriage.  I'm grateful they mostly turned out okay.  I hate the way I photograph.  When we got back to the starting point, I managed to tell the guy that I used to have a horse.  We bonded and he told me his mare's name is Rosilla.  I petted the horse and we went on our way.

That evening, we ended up at this great bar near our hotel.  Bill and I wanted some wine, though we were still pretty full from lunch.  Our server was a fatherly man who was intent on teaching me how to order shrimp fritters.  I was enjoying the music in the bar, which was all from the 80s, so we sat there and drank a shitload of wine.  The second bottle was from Jerez de la Frontera, which is where Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry is made.  The quality was excellent and the bottle wasn't too expensive, but it packed quite a wallop at 15% alcohol.

I ended up getting pretty hammered… and when a bum came in looking for handouts, I ended up in a funny exchange with him.  He flirted with me as a means of mock begging.  I laughed in response and Bill gave him a couple of euros.  Sadly, I don't quite remember the end of the evening… at least until we got to the hotel and my body kicked out some of the booze.

Information center...

There are buildings related to Spanish speaking countries in Seville...

Beautiful park



Swans!

Palace views!






























Part 11

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