Saturday, March 18, 2017

Getting myself fixed up for more adventures

As you probably know from reading my blog I have issues with my knees - namely osteoarthritis.   Both knees are bone on bone but the left one is the "bitchy" one.  I have been on the waiting list for a knee replacement since late last summer.  I had figured it would be sometime in the May/June timeframe from my (too frequent) emails to inquire how much longer. (yes I am impatient!).  Well this past Thursday the 16th of March I was called and asked if I wanted to take an opening on Tuesday March 21st.  Yes please!  So the past couple of days have been crazy with a a pre-surgery assessment and racing around stocking up on supplies I will need for the next couple of months.

I've joined a couple of Knee Replacement Support groups and quickly learned to scroll quickly past pictures of people's incisions and scars before I was sick all over the keyboard or phone.  Trust me, you won't be seeing any of that anywhere from me.  What's with people?  Geesh!  I have learned there is a lot of pain involved which has me terrified as I could never be accused of being brave...well not when it comes to pain anyway.  Hop a plane to anywhere in the world on my problem!

So no more blogs for a while my friends.  Once I can sit for any length of time at a computer and actually focus (I hear the drugs are good at least and I will be in la la land for a while) I will start writing again.

There will be pain and tears ahead of me but a sparkly rainbow at the end.  Hello Chicago in October (and by then hopefully I can do short walks in more state capitals in the midwest!) and nice to meet you Dubai, Sri Lanka, South India and MORE next winter.  THAT is what is going to keep me working hard on doing my exercises.  I'm told the key is exercising, listening to what the doctor and physiotherapists say as well as rest AND taking painkillers when you need them.  (no problem there!) I am fortunate to have a great bunch of friends locally who have my back on this and are willing to help out when I need them.  I am an independent gal (in case you hadn't noticed) but I am already learning that I need to ask for help now and again.

I'll be back here soon!!!

And hopefully back on the Thames Path next year...35 miles down and only 145 to go!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Seville - the last 24 hours

Here I am two months later telling you about the last part of my time in Seville.  Honestly people, I never thought it would take this long!   I wrote about my first 24 hours and then the middle bit so now I need to finish the story.

I ended the last post with me going for Tapas the evening of January is what I had.

Spinach with garlic, Shrimp coquettes and mushrooms grilled with shrimp on cream cheese.  It was delish!  I sat outside (of course) just outside the Barrio de Santa Cruz area. (which I will be writing about in another blog post)

Previous to the meal I had wandered around the the afore mentioned area which was on the doorstep of my hotel.  I loved the narrow winding streets where you never knew what to expect around the corner.

Back to my room to watch "Marcella" on Netflix on my phone (my laptop stayed in Malaga)...yes it was that kind of " I am exhausted and can't focus enough to do anything but watch TV" evening.

The next morning I headed back to my favourite place to have breakfast.  I have learned my lesson on wandering around trying to find the perfect place for breakfast while getting hungrier and crankier with my "I NEED CAFFEINE" headache.  This morning I had an omelet with ham and cheese on top.  Different to have it on top and not in the middle but all part of the experience.  I sipped my cafe con leche and caught up on my journal. (which is how I remember these details!)  I happily listened to the Cathedral bells chiming knowing I would be visiting later.

I then started walking over to the Divino Salvador church in the central area of Seville.  There was a method to my madness. Standing in line does not make my knee happy and I discovered that a combination ticket to see both the Salvador church and the cathedral could be purchased thereby skipping lines at the cathedral.  Works for me!

I loved the narrow walkways over to the Centro area.

Seville is Flamenco!  I didn't see a flamenco show when I was there as I had seen one in Malaga and I was usually too tired to do much but collapse at the end of the day.  If there is a "next time" in Seville I will make sure I see one.

I got to the church much too early (it didn't open until 11 a.m.) so wandered around the back.

I love unique doors and loved this one on one of the buildings in the square behind the church.

The area around the church was full of religious shops selling First Communion clothes as well as clothing and shoes for Flamenco dancing.

I stopped in a nearby coffee shop to sit down and order another cafe con leche as it still wasn't time for the church to open.

Welcome to Church of the Divine Salvador.  It was built between 1674 and 1712 on the site of a former mosque.  It is very impressive on the outside.  The inside?  Well I'll leave it up to you to decide!  I bought my combination ticket to this church and the cathedral and was informed that the cathedral was closing early today at 1.  Say what??  So that certainly put the pressure on.  I probably spent less than fifteen minutes at this church when I likely would have spent longer but I had less than two hours to see both places and I knew the cathedral was immense.

While some of it was beautiful to me (the columns and ceiling) and a couple of the sculptures were beautiful I found it way too over the top for my liking.  And that's all I will say on the matter...

I then retraced my footsteps back over to the Cathedral area.

As you can see the Cathedral is immense.   Seville Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world.  It sits on the site of the 12th century Almohad Mosque and when Seville fell to the Christians in 1248 the mosque was used as a church.  The mosque's minaret (now called Giralda tower) still sits beside it.  Due to the bad condition of the church, in the early 15th century the church decided to knock down the building and construct a new one.  Legend has it that the famous quote to begin building was "Let's construct a church so large that future generations will think we were mad". It was completed in 1502 after 100 years of hard labour.

Walking in you are overwhelmed with how huge this place is, I've never seen anything like it.

 The Capilla Mayor - supposedly the largest alter piece in the world.   It has over 1000 carvings of biblical figures.

And...(drum roll please!) the highlight of the visit for me was the supposed tomb of Christopher Columbus.  Although it could be his son Diego...whatever for me it was a highlight.  Okay now I know they are saying Columbus was not the hero we thought he was but I grew up hearing "In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue" so for me it was a thrill to think that this man's bones were here right in front of me.

The Patio de los Naranjos outside the Cathedral  - it's planted with 60 Naranjos (orange) trees.

The Giralda tower is on the left.  Despite it being ramps to go up most of the way my knee was sore and I knew it would not like it.

I then wandered around the centro (central) area of Seville a bit...

Meet the Metropol Parasol - the largest wooden structure in the world.  Regret:  I was too tired to walk over and go on the escalator to explore further.  When I saw this I had no clue what it was - just that it looked pretty bizarre!

Loved this statue of a Flamenco dancer.

And then it was time for the last tapas in Seville!  Paella and chicken.   Need I add I couldn't finish the chicken?

Then it was time to head back to the hotel, collect my luggage and go and find a taxi to take me to the train station.  What a great 72 hours I had in Seville and it is another city that has stolen my heart. Will I return some day?  Who knows!  There are a lot of other places I want to visit first.

I stayed at the Hotel Goya.  I would recommend it as a great place to stay because it's so close to the centre yet on a fairly quiet street and is very reasonable.  I was at the back however and there is a bar next door so not sure how loud a room at the front would be.  My rate through was 40 euros a night.  I had a view of a garbage and another building but that doesn't bother me if it is quiet!  The room was clean with a private bathroom of course.  Downside?  There were not enough power outlets.   I am going to solve this problem by getting a multi-plug travel adaptor before my next big trip so this will never be a problem again.

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