Holly may have more to say about emotional highs and lows experienced whilst in this city, but this post of mine is completely literal.
A huge aqueduct, a light festival, a birthday, secret passages…it’s been a busy few days.
We have a car now! Which is at times terrifying. At least I’ve stopped reaching for the gear stick with my left hand, and no longer feel a jolt of terror when moving into the overtaking lane. France as a nation seems to view road rules primarily as suggestions; at least in Carcassonne most of the streets were one-way, so I didn’t need to navigate oncoming traffic as well as avoiding snapping off wing mirrors.
It’s our last night in town, and in the couple of days we’ve had here in San Sebastian, we’ve done very little other than eat amazing food. I am on board with this.
Sim kind of wrapped up Porto last time, but let me add my two cents. Portugal generally was fine. I would rather have been there than in the office. But for my money, I prefer Spain. I like the food better (except the tarts in Portugal, the tarts are great); the cities seem less likely to contain massive hills you have to drag your luggage up; the language is basically recognisable if you speak a smattering of any other Roman language. Portuguese is decipherable if written down, but aloud it sounds like French being spoken by a Russian.
So yesterday, I was happy to return to Spain, despite their absurd ideas about it being appropriate for a bakery to be closed until 9.00am. We flew from Porto to Bilbao via Lisbon. Our luggage flew from Porto to Lisbon, and no further.
This blog post is a bit overdue – the wifi here in Porto has been a bit flaky, and we haven’t been doing heaps of note. But I’m seven glasses of port in, so what better time to recap our stay here.
Sintra is a town a short train ride from Lisbon, built by the Portuguese in order to have somewhere to put their fancy buildings. It has a population of some 377,000, and contains five palaces, an historical convent, a hilltop castle, and several stately homes. Apart from the tourist industry, it appears to have little economic or political value, though the castle, at least, has some military advantages, being on a hill overlooking the Atlantic.
Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I ate the pastries in a town called Belém
It’s the thing I was most excited about in Seville! The Real Alcázar. A network of palaces originally built by the Moors, it was then added to over the centuries by the Castilians, and even today includes the official residence of the King and Queen when in Seville. (Side note: did you know there was still a monarchy in Spain? I did not. This is something I possibly should have googled before I came here; the Catalan situation seemed more of an immediate issue at the time but in the end our entire interaction with it was seeing flags hanging from windows.)
After an epic train journey from Barcelona, we’ve been spending the last few days in Seville. We both quickly agreed that this place feels like Spain – the streets are lined with orange trees, the buildings are plastered white with little orange balconies, and you never have to wait long until a segway tour rolls past you. Ok, so maybe we’re a little too close to the tourist centre of town to get true authenticity.