It’s about time this travel blogger did some traveling. I returned from this trip no less than a week and a half ago. My excuse for procrastinating: my wifey came to visit immediately after and then I moved. I’m writing this now from a couple of friends’ place where I’m leaving my crap as I bang my way through Europe (we hope). I’m getting on a plane in six hours, but since I am so dedicated to the six of you that read this, I’ve carved out the morning to offer you all this inspiring nugget of useless information.
Also, please excuse the state of this. I probably won’t have time to edit and I’ve been a bad little writer this week so the quality of this is probably gonna be a bit rusty. Also I’m mildly delirious. (I should note there I initially wrote “delicious”. What a great Freudian finger slip. What a great name for a band! Or porno. SHOTGUN!)
I went way down south on a Monday with my friend Arthur and his friend Cindy* who was visiting from Amurrca. (Cindy is now my friend, too. I made her pancakes and we follow each other on Instagram. It’s real.) We initially intended to use BlaBlaCar, a car-sharing service that I’ve employed a number of times with great success. It tends to be cheaper, faster, and more comfortable than busses. However this time we had several hiccups and after making three separate reservations we gave up and took the train.
In the event you’re just joining us, this is how I feel about trains:
The best part about ground transportation in Europe is all the castles you pass. It took us approximately four hours to get to Cadiz, which was on my Spain bucket list and is probably the furthest south I’ve been on the mainland. (A couple years ago I went to the Canaries, which are a bit closer to the equator.) When we got off the train it was a tad chillier than we were anticipating. But that was whatever because we had set aside the first day to do Nerd Stuff.
At a whopping 12.1 km2 (4.67 sq mi for my compatriots), Cadiz is a pretty walk-able city. We moseyed from the train station to our Air BnB location in about fifteen minutes. The streets are just about wide enough for two mopeds to fit side-by side with whitewashed and pastel buildings. The place we stayed was gorgeous and we were all alone.
We were also a bit hangry at that point. Earlier that day I made the genius decision to purchase Pringles and a sleeve of Oreos as rail snacks. So I felt mildly nauseated for most of the ride until we arrived and I suffered a sugar crash. We found a café near our place that was unremarkable but that had coffee and mini-sandwiches. Even cheese sandwiches. Cindy is a vegetarian with a mild cheese addiction so this was perfect for her. Spain has a reputation for being awful for vegetarians, but as long as you eat dairy products and eggs, it’s a gastronomic wonderland. (Vegans are another story. I know you can survive but I can’t comment on the yum or price factor.)
Arthur, being the crotchety old man that he is, scoffs at the idea of cheese sandwiches or any dish that can be constructed at home of equal quality and lower price. He’s the youngest of us, but the oldest soul.
After we took the edge off our hunger we went to the Tavira Tower to check out the cámara oscura. It’s a sort of pinhole camera that projects images of the city onto a concave disc. We made it just in time for the last tour, given in Spanish and German, leaving Arthur to translate for Cindy.
Then we went to the top!
The next thing on our nerd stuff itinerary: ROMAN THEATRE.
First we stopped off in some church wherein we sat on a pew looking at our savior and talked about boys. I wrote a nice message in the guest book. The message said: boobs. If I’m already going to hell I might as well have my fun on the way down.
Probably as karma for disrespecting a Catholic guest book, (or, you know, pure coincidence because that is how the world operates) the Roman theatre was closed for restoration. But it looked pretty nice from the outside! Cindy offered to down a couple of beers and Parkour it, but we ended up wandering around and finding a quirky artisan market-type thing. There was a picture of Jesus looking like a rock star there. He was probably the hundredth representation of Christ we’d seen. That’s when we decided to start taking shots every time we saw our BFF, Jesus**.
We did a bit more sauntering along the coast until the effects of our montaditos (the aforementioned mini-sandwiches) wore off. Then I sat patiently and did not help at all while my travel buddies took out their Google machines (Arthur’s preferred term for anything with internet connection) and found a place for us to have dinner. When they found it, we stood up and walked directly across the road to a lovely place called La Mirilla.
Holy shit everything was delicious. Forgive me for being a shit blogger, but I am just starting out and I was hungry so I took exactly zero pictures of the food. I actually took few pictures of food the whole trip but everything we ate was fantastic. I ordered salmon served with homemade pasta with Roquefort sauce. The salmon was perfectly cooked. Cindy had a spattering of veggies cloaked in breading. Also very yummy. And Arthur had duck.
If you think we didn’t have dessert you are horribly mistaken. They gave Arthur and me (link to: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/i-or-me) menus in Spanish and they handed Cindy the English version. Much to Arthur’s dismay, the menus had different items. He mentioned this to the waiter, who, in the most Spanish of fashions said, “yeah, they’re different.” Well, ok sir. Even more disturbing than this to our resident 90s-born senior citizen was that the cheesecakes were priced differently! One was an entire euro cheaper! The horror!
We had two desserts among the three of us, and of course Arthur made us order the cheaper of the two cheesecakes. I don’t remember exactly what the other one was, but chocolate was involved. In any event, there was a lot of delighted moaning going on.
When the check came, Arthur made sure we’d been aptly charged for our Spanish-menu cheesecake. He then laughed triumphantly and said, “We saved a euro!”
We are very proud of him.
Shockingly, Cadiz was not as lively as we expected for a Monday. We had a few drinks then went home.
But on the way, we met our new best friend: Tree-sus Christ.
The next day we got up and went to La Caleta, one of the more famous beaches in Cadiz. There’s a castle-type structure that juts into the sea, so we walked out on it as our final Nerd-Stuff activity in Cadiz. I like travelling with Arthur because the history section in his brain is bigger than mine. He always reads the plaques and happily relays the information to the rest of us along with his pre-existing knowledge. I think he should have a TV show, but he’s too good-looking. His overwhelming intelligence and attractiveness would ruin us all.
Then we ate more food that I didn’t take pictures of. We got an affordable menú del día that Arthur was very pleased with. Our vegetarian had gazpacho and Arthur and I had salmorejo (similar to gazpacho but with fewer ingredients and topped with ham and hard-boiled egg) and a dogfish stew. We were highly impressed.
Then we beached! Beaches are beaches so I’ll spare you the details. This one was nice.
We were meant to shove off to Sevilla by BlaBlaCar again. However the woman who was supposed to take us said she could not wait fifteen minutes for us (we had to take a train up to another station to meet her and the schedule did not allow us to arrive on time) so we took ANOTHER TRAIN! It was only sixteen euro and we were there in about two hours.
This time we stayed in a hostel. The name of which still escapes me. I probably asked Arthur what it was called upwards of ten times. We arrived in time to eat again. While Cindy and I got ready, Arthur went off to grab Burger King with that euro we saved on cheesecake the night before.
We went to some swanky little gastrobar. I ordered a burger that was five times more expensive and five times smaller than the one Arthur had eaten. It was also probably five times tastier. So really, who is the winner? I don’t know, you decide.
I started doing some Tinder-ing after my first tinto de verano, mostly for entertainment but also out of Arthur’s insistence that I get laid that night. After about four swipes and two “wow, great tits” comments I got bored. Such is the life of a single millennial.
Someone (I think a friend of Arthur’s?) had instructed us to check out some bars along the river. I took a picture of this bridge:
Then we entered a bar that seemed to have a good deal of activity. Arthur and I had actually been there before, nearly five years ago when we were study abroad students and visiting Sevilla with our travel seminar. However this time it was full of fifteen-year-olds. I don’t mean, “these people were young and looked far more youthful than us ancient group of twentyfive-year-olds” I mean literally fifteen. They had chaperones.
Arthur couldn’t get served (age discrimination, ugh) so we left and went to another bar where were no fifteen-year-olds. There were also no other people. Cindy and I had probably the shittiest mojitos ever created. We could simply not take the excitement, so we left, in search of a place where Arthur could catch the NBA finals. We walked through this neat outdoor kiosk-bar thing that was rather lively.
We did not find anything so he suggested returning to the previous place. But I was fading very quickly and we decided to head back to WhatsHisFace Hostel.
This is getting long. Is this boring? Are you still with me? I’m not very good at giving just the highlights, but I’m running out of time so I’ll do my best to keep it short.
Next day highlights:
1) Wake up at noon-ish.
2) El Alcazar. Original price: 9€. Student price for cheeky graduates 4 years out of college: 2€. This place was rad and we hadn’t visited it before. It’s gotten hella famous recently for its appearance in Game of Thrones
3) Food at Los Coloniales. Every fried vegetable you can imagine. Goat Cheese with honey. Spinach croquetas. More cheesecake. Wine.
4) Bar. Two Long Islands with SPARKLERS.
There, we met a gross creeper from Texas who I’ll elaborate on in the next point. Also met a guy from Liverpool who had spent four months in Arbor Hill, the neighborhood next to mine. If you are from Albany you will understand how random this is. I lived about .25 mi from there the majority of my life and have never met anyone from there.
5) First bar closed down, we wandered around for a bit. Arthur had been talking to the very cute girl Texas Creeper was at the bar with. (Not with, with. They were just there together. But not, like together. They lived in the same university residence.) So she was with us and Texas Creeper latched on and was being belligerent. A random older (around 45, so not old, but older than us) Sevillano walked by with a drink in his hand, clearly taken out of some bar, and tried to inform us that there was another bar open nearby. Texas Creeper started yelling something at him, but somehow we got him to shut up. For some reason this Sevillano gave me really good vibes, so I gathered the troops and we followed him. I was walking with him most of the way, pretending to understand what he said. Sevillanos have this accent where they only say about half of the word, so for most of the conversation I had no clue what was happening. He commented that my Spanish was really good and I didn’t say this but I thought, “not good enough to understand you!” We got to the place, and it was this neat little rocker bar. The dude that brought us there went off with his friends and said hi to us a couple of times but generally left us to do our own thing. Not all strangers are dangerous! Sometimes people can be nice. Moral of the story: trust your instincts.
Also trust your instincts because sometimes people can be not so nice. See: Texas Creeper. The girl Arthur had been chatting up said repeatedly that she was really drunk. She was about the width of a paperclip so it was a wonder she could drink more than half a beer. Texas Creeper was telling her not to trust us and actually said the words, “they’re poisoning your mind.” Then he tried to get her to leave. And she was about to go with him. Arthur and I looked at each other and were like, “uh, no.”
I walked her home and Texas Creeper tagged along most of the way, all the time complaining about me speaking Spanish to her and my apparent inability to use Google Maps. At some point I shouted at him and pushed him several times until he went in another direction. I stayed with her until she was inside.
Arthur stayed at the bar, figuring his presence in the walking-home would have exacerbated this dude’s belligerence. I texted him when I got her to her building and he said, “You really took one for the team tonight. Team non-rape. We should make shirts.”
So, that whole fiasco momentarily killed my buzz, but then it came back when I was in bed with the spins.
Main Events from the next day:
2) Trip home
3) Finding out about the shooting in Charlotte. I am ashamed to admit I have been putting off this post partly because of my fears about writing about it. I was obviously very sad about it. And I hate that my second thought after “God how awful” was “ugh again?” followed by “how am I going to deal with people wanting to talk about gun control and mental health instead of racism?”
We are more than a week out from the tragedy and a lot of really important things have already been said about it, so instead of adding more to the conversation I want to amplify the voices of those who are already talking:
In other news: yay for gay and check out this Vine. (Link to:)
And I am going to see my family today! Yippee!
*Names changed to protect them from having a Google problem. I like to keep my friends employable so they have couches when I need one to crash on.
**We did not do that.