The fourth part of my first real trip – Spain on bicycle, which I did 8 years ago, at the age of 19. I hope that you remember from the first, second and third part (http://flyingpolack.com/en/2015/11/flying-polack-on-bike-through-spain-part-1/ ; http://flyingpolack.com/en/2015/12/flying-polack-on-bike-through-spain-part-2/ http://flyingpolack.com/en/2016/02/flying-polack-on-bike-through-spain-part-3/) that the whole text wasn’t created solely from my memories, but mostly from my travel diary that I was conducting that time. Thus, in many places you’ll read point of view , emotions that I had that time and contemporary, youthful perception of the world surrounding me. Forgive me sometimes the lack of photographs and their quality, but have in mind different type the camera I was using that time and above all lower skills :) Okay, let’s go! :D
August 18th, 08.00 pm, Sevilla
Early wake up. For breakfast, sweet bread, banana and yogurt. Equipped with two water bottles, a few Snickers bars I hit the 120 km route to Seville. The sun is shining, flat road, the pleasant temperature not yet heralding the heat which comes around noon. Nothing to do else but pedaling! :)
The problems started somewhere along the 80th km… Problems? I was dying! Although the area after which I drove wasn’t typically mountainous, however, a small hill seemed to last forever. Wind also didn’t help. I climbed one after another. For every pedaling driven by the hope that reaching the summit (small hill actually), I’ll finally see the capital of Andalusia.
The sun burns so hot that sweat, which gives off my body seems to evaporate immediately. I’m going already so slowly that starts to annoy me two flies. But I’m so tired that I don’t have even the strength to snap them.
Another hill. I’m convinced that when snacking on top I’ll see the city. I’m pedaling further. I’m almost there. The higher I climb the skyline is lower, and in my imagination I almost see Seville. Nooooot! Instead of the city, in front of me appeared another band inclines. I’m so mad that I threw the bike to the side and lay down in the shadows thrown by one of the many olive trees fouling both sides of the road.
In the meantime there isn’t passing even one car, not to mention the buses (all traffic goes by motorway). So there’s no other choice than to get up and keep pedaling. Besides, I don’t want to spend another night under the sky…
Finally, after a 6 hour drudgery I finally reached city. Not having the strength to look at the map to locate exactly where is my hostel, I threw myself on the bench in the first spotted park. And here again I was charmed by Spain. At one moment approaches me a charming grandfather and says bonjuor!, and I told him that I’m not French but Polaco! Then he’s starting saying how he appreciates our Pope John Paul II and admire the route I did so far.
We had a nice chat about what should I see in Seville, and he left. After about 10 minutes, comes back with a small package in his hand. He said ahora eres mi amigo (now you’re my friend) and handed bun, as assured, the local specialty! I felt so nice and warm at heart, that the hardships of the route almost were gone.
August 19th, 07.30 pm, Seville
Seville is simply beautiful. I thought that after the Alhambra in Granada, La Mezquita in Cordoba nothing will enchant me so much anymore, but fortunately I was wrong.
In the morning I took the direction of the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world! And certainly one of the most beautiful. Built nearly 100 years in the XV century, it was founded on the site of the mosque, from which remained the only minaret converted into a bell tower (La Giralda).
But it’s immensity overwhelmed me when I went inside.
As it turned out, here lies the grave of my fellow (the discoverer) – Chris Columbus.
However, legitimate landmark of the city is the Alcazar, the royal palace built by a ruling Arabs here, and then expanded by the Spaniards in the Mudejar style, combining architectural styles, Arab and Christian.
It is here that decisions were made about sending multiple expeditions overseas, including Ferdinand Magellan. Here, too, gave a report of his first trip to America – Christopher Columbus.
In the era of great geographical discoveries Seville served as the main port and the loading bay in trade with the new colonies, until the early XVIII century, when the river Guadalquivir was so silted that large commercial ships were no longer able to sail this way.
August 20th, 04.30 pm, Seville
Strolling through the city, you spot two things. Admiring the architecture of the city you can easily see the influence of Muslim architecture.
And splendor! Resulting tons of gold and other treasures that flowed to the Kingdom of Spain from the colonized New World. Architectural beauty is simply overwhelming!
The wealth of ornamentation also expose Plaza Espana, which is a complex built in the early XX century, when Seville was about to host the Spanish-American Fair. Trade, however, didn’t come to fruition because of the crash on the New York Stock Exchange, which was the beginning of the Great Depression.
But enough about the monuments. Tonight we party! With Victor, whom I met through couchsurfing.com and his friends. So it’s time to meet Seville at night! Vamos! : D
August 21st, 03.00 pm, Seville
I think I still hold alcohol after yesterday, because I’m still kind of.. happy :) Victor and his friends turned out to be amazing! Although it was the middle of the week we partied till the morning! First, Victor took me to a few bars. Four bears was enough for me to get tipsy, keeping in mind that the mass of my body was smaller and smaller with every km of route I made :)
In the end, we were joined by friends of Victor, and we went to dance, afterwards we checked our vocal skills in a karaoke bar: D I beautifully faked to Mamma mia, Girls just wanna have fun, barbie girl, something with the Spice Girls and many more: D
Once again, the idea of couchsurfing.com made this trip so special. That I explore the city not only with a guidebook in hand, but mainly with locals. It feels just nice :)
Tomorrow morning I leave Seville and I’m heading to Jerez de la Frontera. There can’t be agony on the route like from Cordoba to Seville, no question about that! Just 90 km and it’s still flat route, as the road leads along the river Guadalquivir.
August 23rd, 02.30 pm, Chipiona
Now I just chill on the beach in the small town of Chipiona over the Atlantic Ocean. Although this is my first time over the ocean, however, I was expecting something more. Wide beaches with little sand that’s it. Not even exotic greenery.
Nevertheless, the main purpose of coming here, apart from the bath is to compensate tan. Despite the fact that before every cycling route I was smearing sun cream with a filter 30 and 50, still I sunbathed traces of t-shirts on the shoulders and shorts on my legs. So I look like a typical cyclist :|
The route between Seville and Jerez de La Frontera, of course, wasn’t as light as expected. Left knee hurts already. Or actually something above the left knee. So at the end I struggled. Before I found the hostel was already 03.00 pm. To my surprise, the place where I was staying had a pool! So the first thing I’ve done was jump in :D
I devoted the rest of the day for walking around the city, which is famous for, among others, the production of Sherry (Jerez -> Sherez -> Sherry) and the finest stables of Andalusian horses, which because of love of my mother for these creatures I just have the duty to visit.
August 24th, 02.30 pm, Jerez de la Frontera
I’m dying! Oh, what a fool I was! I’m all burned! To align tan done on the road, on the beach in Chipiona I didn’t use even a drop of cream! (And the marks lasted for next 2 years anyway) Idiot! : /// And under the sun, as moron, I wondered, that why I was still white… But after returning to the hostel, I saw that all the arms, body, back is red! God! How it hurts!
Step by step I went to the pharmacy for some balsam. There was no need to try to describing the problem in Spanish. After I rolled the shirt up, nice lady in a moment understood what the problem is and she recommended the appropriate lotion.
What’s worse, burning isn’t my only problem. From those fu… flip-flops, I developed such an imprint on the midfoot, that I walk like a paralytic.
In the meantime, to my room moved a Spaniard from Seville. Cool dude, 24 years old, which supports Real Betis. Spending the night here to visit his girlfriend working during holidays in a bar in Chipiona, the same seaside town where I went to get some sunbath…
That guy has done me the incredible favor.
– Manuel, I have a request to you, if you refuse then there’s no problem, I completely understand, but… would you put the cream on my back?
Manuel laughed and without hesitation put a hefty layer of cream on my burned back. Additionally, he brought me out of his car PSP (portable game console) that I wouldn’t be to bored. Super guy :)
August 25th, 06.40 pm, Cadiz
I continue to suffer, but there wasn’t an option I would have wasted another day in my, after all, beloved Spain. Due to the fact that I’m still an invalid, for a day trip from Jerez to Cadiz, I went by bus.
The city itself doesn’t knock. Honestly, I expected more. But maybe just after what I found in Granada, Cordoba, and Seville in Andalusia nothing more will make an impression on me?
Anyway, I had to come here because the city is the farthest point from home in my journey, the oldest city in Spain, and one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Founded around 1,100 years BC by the Phoenicians,
Unfortunately, traces of antiquity you won’t see here, because at the end of the XVI century, the city was completely destroyed by the British.
August 26th, 07.20 pm, Jerez de la Frontera
In the morning, little less affected by the pain of the skin I went to Real Escuela Andaluza de Arte Ecuestre, which stud the famous Andalusian horses. The Institute takes care to preserve the tradition dating back to the Baroque, trains horses and riders, and prepares them for the competitions.
Andalusian horses are characterized by a balanced temperament and a huge commitment to human. Their majestic appearance (broad, deep chest, muscular rump) makes it appear in corridas, Spanish parades and national holidays.
The next stop was bodegas (wineries). I went to one of the oldest in the city, to the company Gonzales-Byass producing the famous Tio Pepe.
Sherry, which is enhanced wine (16-20% alcohol) is produced only in the region of Jerez. The English name is derived from the huge popularity the drink has in England, where it was popularized in the late XVI century, when the English, led by Francis Dreke’a sacked Cadiz, among others taking 2,900 barrels Sherry, ready to sail to the Spanish colonies.
Familiarizing myself with the process of wine production, I met a very nice couple of friends. Filipino, Filipino lady and Japanese guy. Today, over 50 years old, long ago they met at university in Tokyo, where two of the Philippines arrived on a scholarship, and the Japanese is now a professor.
All three stated that I’m a “smart boy” and started to persuade me also to take part in such adventure as a scholarship in Japan. The professor gave me his mail address and I recommended that after returning to the Poland to go to Japanese embassy and learn everything about the topic. Why not?! :)
The next day I leave Jerez and I’m heading to the small town of El Bosque, where (as if I wouldn’t have enough effort) I’ll explore a bit Andalusian mountains.