Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away.

Alright, alright, alright, oil addicts.

There has been major upheaval in my life recently, which will continue for about a month. Soon, I will write about it, but not now.

I have finally uploaded and sized all the Beartooth pictures, so expect a post on that later tonight.

In the meantime, we have yet another guest post!

This time, from The Eck. The Eck recently traveled to Spain.


My wife and I have been planning a dream trip to Europe for nearly five years. Each year the plan seemed to grow. Originally she wanted to visit Spain with me since she spent a semester studying abroad there. Other circumstances evolved over time and we finally settled on going to Spain, France and Slovenia.

As a way to kill time on the trip to Spain, I printed out a month of The Dude Abides to catch up. For fun I also printed out the very first month of The Dude Abides. It was funny to see the Dude’s list of things that he needed to complete shortly after moving. Notably absent from the Dude’s list was: Get new Montana driver’s license.

We began our vacation in Sevilla, the city my wife studied in. Sevilla is a city of 1.3 million, but really feels more like a town. We had a modest hotel in the downtown area and everything important in town was within walking distance. Here are some pictures of Sevilla.

People in Sevilla were relatively friendly. Of course I’m sure it helps that the wife speaks perfect Spanish with an Andalusian accent.

Sevilla has a river separating it from its neighboring town of Triana. Triana is to Sevilla as Brooklyn is to NYC. It’s a little less crowded, more locals and the pace of life is a little slower. It’s amazing how different a town can be that is just ¼ mile away.

An attraction of Sevilla is the day trips one can take to neighboring areas. This part of Spain was ruled by the Moors for over 500 years. Consequently, much of the architecture is of a Moorish influence. The two greatest examples of these buildings are in Cordoba (an easy 45 minute train trip) and Granada (a longer bus trip).

The city of Córdoba was conquered by the Moors in 711, and Moorish influence can still be felt in the city. During the time of Islamic rule, Córdoba was the largest city and arguably embodied the most sophisticated culture and the most developed bureaucracy in Europe. Cordoba’s attraction is La Mezquita, originally a Moorish mosque of gigantic proportions dating back to the 10th century. When King Ferdinand and Isabel conquered the region in 1492, they had a cathedral erected in the middle of the mosque. It is really a surreal site.

Granada is home to the Alhambra. The Alhambra is a Moorish fortress built in the 1200’s. Its scale and detail are amazing.

Of course we also did traditional Spain tourist things. Here’s a bullfight. Sort of cool to see, but I have no desire to go back. A hint for anyone that attends one in Sevilla, you may not video tape, but you may carry in beer, food etc.

Good things about Sevilla: Coffee with milk, people helpful and relatively friendly, paella, architecture, public transportation, Triana, it’s too hot for anyone to wear a lot of clothes, mid day siesta.

Not such good things about Sevilla: Restaurants are hit and miss, tapas aren’t all that, breakfast consists of bread, restaurant service is ridiculously lousy.

Misc. Note: People stay up late, like really late. Dinner is 10:00, and then partying begins after 1:00 a.m. On Saturdays, whole families will stay out late. On Sunday morning at 7:00 my wife and I were up early waiting for a public bus when an entire family walked up to the bus stop to catch a bus home from the party they attended the night before. Mom, dad, teenage daughter and teenage son, all dressed formally, bonding with a full family walk of shame.


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