Greetings from Southern Spain! I always seem to apologize for the lack of posts, but truthfully, I’ve been sitting around basking (or Basquing since I’m in Spain?) in the sun each day instead of spending hours on the computer writing posts. Plus, the wifi (which they call wee-fee. I’m still laughing) is horrible all over the city — even more so when it rains. I’m just over the four week hump of traveling and now ready to start doingsomething instead of aimlessly wondering around the city.
I’ve temporarily settled in beautiful Seville, Spain among the Andalusian orange tree-lined streets, mish-mash of Moorish/Roman/Spanish architecture, endless amount of terraces — and the noisiest construction project of all time directly outside of my window. I tend to forget about the last part while awake, plus it seems to help get me out of bed by eleven. Sometimes. I was instantly drawn to Seville’s culture and people the minute I arrived, much more so than any other city I’ve been to in Europe. The Andalusians spend more time outside than inside; every night the streets are filled with tourists and locals mingling at the bars and walking down the curvy, endless alleys.
It’s taken me a few weeks to get used to everyday life in the city: I still suck at Spanish, but now I can understand most everything that people rattle off to me in the crazy Andalusian accents; I don’t get nearly as lost as I did in the beginning of my stay (which, embarrassingly, was 2-3 hours at a time…); and I’ve become used to the Spanish schedule. Before coming here, everyone talked about the time— siestas and late dinners and crazy nights — but I thought it was just a loose schedule, like how the States “runs” on 8 to 5. But it’s all really true. Shops, restaurants, and basically the entire city doesn’t open until 10am, which doesn’t really fit into my 6am typical coffee run I had back home. Then a few hours later, usually around 2pm, is siesta/nap time, where lots of kitchens close for a few hours. Dinner is not-so-promptly at 9pm — tapas (small plates) tide people over until then — and then the bar/club (disco) scene doesn’t get going until 1 or 2am and lasts until sunrise. The first two weeks here I thought that I was too old for this insane lifestyle…then one day I stopped trying to keep track of time and started to run on the habitually late, I’ll-be-there-in-a-minute southern Spain time clock. I suppose it works best when you don’t have any set plans save making sure to get to the 50 cent sandwich shop on Mondays sometime in between the hours of 10am and 9pm.
My previous plans to live in Barcelona foiled when I realized how damn hard it is to get a visa in Spain if you’re not a student or have a million dollars in assets or both. I’ve had to explain the absurd visa rules to just about everyone I talk to, so I’ll write a post about it in the future In the meantime, Nomadic Matt provides a great overview here. So, the general itinerary so far is to spend another three weeks in Seville, then walk the Camino de Santiago (more on that later), followed by Porto, Portugal for a week, then up to Ireland and Scotland for a handful of months if I can stretch my wallet that far.
I found a temporary job cooking paella and making sangria every night at a hostel in the center of Seville. How I found that job, I’ll never know. Luckily, cooking paella is a fairly easy task and you can’t really fuck up sangria. Working at a hostel is…interesting. 95% of the time, I’m doing one of three things: talking to random people about absolutely nothing; trying to decipher said random’s accents and trying to figure out what they’re trying to say about nothing; or talking to people who might be cool but I don’t have enough time to figure out if they are. It’s all very fun though! Definitely something I needed to get out of my typical career-focused lifestyle.