Sunday, February 17, 2008

The sea was calmer on the way back to Tarifa, thankfully, making for some smooth sailing. Once back in town we had about three hours to kill before the bus came, time enough for some lunching and wandering. Once again we weren't hungry, so we took a stroll to kill some time. We checked out some castle ruins, visited the southernmost civilian point in Europe (there was a crumbling military base on an island that we couldn't get access to that was the actual southernmost point), and generally enjoyed the bright sunshine with the other promenaders who were taking advantage of it. We found a Plan B restaurant and the went to check out the one that the guidebook had recommended: a healthy breakfast-all-day type place which I assumed would be closed for the season, but they weren't!

Jack got an enormous bowl of yogurt, granola, and fruits of all types. I got a miniature sandwich, which was fine. We each ordered a smoothie to go with our meal. It could've been one of those lengthy affairs had the newspapers been in English, but no. I ordered a lovely piece of homemade energy bar/oatmeal cookie thing for the journey back to Seville.

After lunch we went over towards the bullfighting ring, an area of town which seemed to house most of the non-seasonal residents as well as some the city's more monumental public works projects, such as a long boardwalk festooned with graffiti along the Atlantic-side beach, and a wind-swept plaza on a hillside that served no apparent function and was falling into ruin. Once we knocked that off our list we had literally seen everything even remotely worth seeing. So we headed to the bus stop to wait. The bus was on time, and the ride back uneventful.

Once we checked into our hotel in Seville Jack did some texting with a coworker who was visiting her family nearby and was in town doing some Christmas shopping. We met up with her at a tapas bar for a drink, and were subsequently joined by her sister and friend. We had to do the triple-kiss greeting to these strangers, the first time I had to kiss someone on the initial meeting. Jack's coworker talked about things on the menu that people ate at home, and we got some bean and ham combo at her suggestion. It was not very delicious, sadly.

After she left to take the bus home, we went to see a fabulous belen that I had read about the last time we were there. It was entirely crafted from ice. There was some kind of eco-theme to it, and it was traveling the countryside to make Spaniards more environmentally aware, but the message wasn't overt and you just walked into the semi trailer, took a gander, and walked out.

More wandering commenced, and after visiting the remains of the old city wall and some Roman columns in a pit in the backyard of an apartment building that we came across by chance even though we had gone looking for them in the past, we returned to the hotel.

The next morning all we had to do was check out and get to the airport. Since we had some time, we decided to fortify ourselves with churros and hot chocolate before hauling our luggage around. The churros place had just opened for the day and we may have received the reheated leftovers from the previous day, so I was a bit disappointed that this Christmas eve treat was a bit lacking, but it was fun sitting in the park and chowing down on the crispy nuggets while taking sips of the hot chocolate, which was a lot thinner (and therefore more easily drinkable) than the previous one we had.

The bus ride to the airport was uneventful aside from the fact that the bus driver appeared to be insane, conversating with other bus drivers on the route through closed windows.

Then it was back home for a memorable Brussels Christmas with our Spanish treasures.

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