Wednesday, 26 August 2009

He Says - Music, muses, views and bats

24- 26 August 09

We road from Campo Major to Merida in Spain, a city famous for having huge tracks of ancient roman ruins. From the second we arrived in the campground I had a bad feeling and it never went a way. I just did not like it. We headed in to the city, and my bad feeling did not change, it could only be described as bhlah. At the first ruin we approached I noted 7 bloody hypodermic needles littering the ground. As much as I tried I could not like the city. Yes, the ruins were cool, until you looked at them closely. Then, you could tell that most of them were reconstructions so there was little magic at all. It only made me dislike the city even more. It was dirty and basically a lie.

We left early the next morning not really wanting to go back in to the city that neither of liked, and headed in to deeper in to southern Spain, towards Seville. I was expecting an ever-increasing temperature as we went south but alas it was getting colder. It was a boring two-hour ride mostly on motorways. There was a gusting crosswind most of the way, so I had to concentrate on the road and the bike and therefore could not concentrate on what we were or weren’t talking about. About 50k out of Seville, we stopped for a leg stretch and we found a red cross outpost building that looked like one day they just did not turn up for work and it had been looted ever since. It was creepier then any chapel of bones I have ever seen.

Upon entering Seville, we got lost, (I seem to sense a pattern here but can not quite find it.). At length we got our bearings and found the section of the old town that we were looking for. We promised that we could treat ourselves to a hotel room and enjoy the city with out the hassle of driving in from the campground all the time. We had plenty of choices but the one we found was a pension that was next door the Alcazar had a private roof terrace and was only 50€ (5€ more then a basic pension room). The view was fantastic and Seville was an amazing place.

The view alone was worth the €€€. We both agreed that we really liked it here. After getting the hotel set up we spent the rest of the afternoon walking the streets looking at the wonderful building and narrow lane ways. Seville is such a nice place (if not a little on the expensive side). Most of the little lane ways were clean and the houses were well kept. It was like the perfect version of what you want to see out of a city like this.

We got up early so that we could get fed and ready and be inside the Alcazar at the opening. The plan was conceived so that we could miss the crowds, and have lots of time to take photos and wander without the hustle and bustle of the tour groups. Well we missed the lines to get in but before we finished looking thought the first room (which we could see our hotel terrace by the way) the tour groups had already caught up. So much for the plan to have some time alone in there.

Tam spent most of the time it seemed to me trying to capture every square inch of the place on film or video. I could not shake the feeling that I was in a Tombraider like video game and some “bady” would come out and try and kill me. Despite that “danger” we spent most of the day wandering in the buildings or gardens. The Alcazar is a mish-mash of about 6-7 different building styles conglomerating in to a big palace of sorts (hence the Tombraider flash backs). Some of it is medieval some later but the nicest part was by far were the oldest Moorish sections. This section was covered in intricate plaster carvings and designs that can often be overwhelming while at the same time peaceful. Hopeful this will just be a taster for what is to come in the next few months as we head for the home of the Moors.. but alas we shall see.

Although we decided that we should go out and do some night photography. We took advantage of our balcony room and brought in a light dinner. It consisted of some salmon wrapped in pimentos, garlic breads, cheese and sangria. So as the sun set we sat there drinking sangria, listening to some 40’s bigband music, and watching the bats fly over head. Well as you can imagine a few glasses of sangeria under our belts and we did not move, the night shots did not happen (again). Although this time I do not regret it Seville is one of the very few cities in the world that is more photogenic during the day then at night. The night was warm we shared a danced on the balcony, and eavesdropping on the quietest city ever. We are right in the centre of the old quarter and all we can hear is the clip-clop of tourists being shown around by horse cart and the occasional pigeon. One such pigeon sat a few metres away and joined us in the music and views not moving for at least an hour. We laughed at the number of people that would walk by Anubis (unloaded) and stop and stare or comeback with a camera and take a picture. Yet there was hardly a sole that was looking the cathedral towering above.

We slept in for the first time since I can remember, before packing the bike and heading out for breakfast. We decided to do some much-needed internet work and so looked for a wi-fi café. There were a few choices including McDonalds, which we just could not bring ourselves to go to. We picked a café and spent a good couple of hour doing the net work although this did not include blog updates. When we had enough of the café and the computer. We decided that it was also time to move on and head to our next destination.

This however was the problem, we new we had to head towards Malaga, because in two days we were meeting up with friends, but did not have any idea where to go for that night. But we headed out anyway hopping that the GPS would let us know when we were near a campground. Well it did not work. We found a place called Aldequera which was said to have one, but it turned out to be the bus station, we then went to the next waypoint and it was simply a dead end. So now both a little short of temper and a little short in patients we had one of our little “you are not listening” spats that seem to only occur when we have been on the bike for too long and while looking for a place to get off the bike. Eventually it was decided that as we saw a tourist information office (sign) in Aldequera that we should head back that way and see if they can help. If not our only other option was to go an additional hour on the bike to where both the GPS and the maps say there is a campground (and hopefully it is open). As we road in to town, we lost the signs to the tourist info office, and ended up just following the sign to the historical centre. We reached the coble stone sections of streets Excellent! Here all the signs simply stopped, we had no idea where to go or where we were. I pulled over at a little round about type thing and we were talking about what to do next. When out of nowhere a man appeared next to us and in accented but perfect English. “What are you looking for”. This was the start of a 20 minute conversation with a Colombian /British expat, who told us where the campground was (10km out of town) and that he was a biker knew the look on our faces as he too has pulled into town looking for X Yor Z and could not find it. It was that required him interrupt his afternoon coffee to help us. He told us that we had stop (by luck) just out side the tourist office although the sign was obscured by restoration work (helpful!).

Aldequera was a sunning little town and would have been worth a day or two, but we simply did not have the time. We got to the campground and it had a sunning view of El Torcal, a series of rock formations deserving of a day or two in its own right. The campground looked okay, but as we found a place to pitch we noted that the rubbish bin had not been emptied in several days, and then we found out that there was no water to drink, shower or to use the toilet and yet it still cost us €20. We both were still a bit grumpy from the ride and this was not helping. We set up and had dinner and just as I was thinking about going back to town to buy some drinking waer, as well as complaining a lot to the camp manager and trying to get our money back, the water came back on. Things started to look up. Tam went for a shower, which was ice cold because of the lack of water all day, however by the time I got there I got 3 minutes of hot water.