Tuesday, March 07, 2006

March in Seville

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March was another interesting month in Seville aboard Chinook. They all are.

We took the train to Cordoba (once the largest city in Spain) an hour and a half north of Seville. Our bicycles were welcomed on the train and were a boon for seeing that city. Highlights were the Real Alcazar (Royal Castle of the Christian Kings) built in 1328 and also the headquarters for the Spanish Inquisition from 1492 until the1800’s and an 11th century Arabic mosque cum Jewish temple cum Catholic church. Cordoba was also famed as the place where Christopher Columbus receiving the royal blessing from Ferdinand and Isabella (who funded him) to sail off to America.

Deborah, while practising a stretching exercise at her tai chi class, hurt her left knee quite badly. She had to go to the local medical clinic, saw specialists, had xrays and an MRI, bought crutches and was virtually boat-bound for two weeks. If you know her you would realize how frustrated she was. No swimming, walking or biking - just hobbling. The service at the clinic was excellent - mind you she was paying big euros for it.

Photo: Paul at the Alcazar in Cordoba

Brian’s son Paul visited for the last week of February after a week in London. It was really great to have him aboard – his second time on Chinook and first trip to Europe. The bicycles were pressed into service daily to see the city’s attractions. We also made a repeat Cordoba trip on the train with the bikes and the weather cooperated for him for the week only raining briefly on his last afternoon with us. He seemed enthusiastic about the city.

A visit by Terry and Fiona, friends on sv Roam for a weekend reminded us of how small Chinook is with four aboard. We never-the-less had a really good time together and managed to pack Deb in a taxi with us to go to a bar to watch a soccer game on the Saturday night.

Some outstanding (put off) boat chores were completed this month. The “list”never seemed to get smaller Always something to be added as another one was ticked off.

Vegemite supplies are excellent at the moment. Jars of the “incredible inedible” were brought back from Gibraltar, Ireland and New Zealand by kindly fellow Seville marina dwellers. Brian’s complexion is looking better (Vegemite for the uninformed, has all the B-vitamins you ever needed lurking in the black goop). It is expected to get rid of all those wrinkles, but rubbing it on his face at nights gets it on the pillow cases…

Weatherwise we were expecting it to warm up a little, but to the contrary - we had more rainy days and cooler weather in February than is usual in Seville, so the locals told us. Still, mustn’t complain as we had an excellent “winter” with most days being cloudless, little wind and temperatures of 15 – 20 degrees C.

Sevilla is gearing up for two large festivals - the largest in Spain: Samana Santa which is a religious parade with many many church treasures being carried through the city on extemely heavy man-powered "floats". Then the reward is a huge week-long party in the local fair grounds where hundreds of "casetas" - tent-like shelters presently under construction - are set up for food, music, flamenco dancing, horse-back riding, costume wearing and mucho mucho vinos and cervezas. A pity we will miss them.
We plan to leave Seville and motor the 50 nm to the coast on Wednesday the 8th March. This time the trip will be a two-day one with an overnight stop anchored somewhere along the river. We will miss the marina and all its facilities, as well as the people we have met here. At least four of the other cruisers we spent the winter with will hook up somewhere in the Med. during the next few years.

Photos: One of the town squares in Cordoba. Beer and Tapas again for lunch. Chris being farewelled by Ferdie and Isabella ("Go for the gold, Chris" - must be true, it´s cast in stone...).