Tuesday, January 13

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today we started driving toward Spain. We crossed the Tagus River, the super wide river. The bridge was eight miles long. It took an incredibly long time to cross the river, and we were traveling at highway speeds. So crazy. But of course, it was foggy again, so we couldn’t see much. The fog in Lisbon is insane, the way in comes in so fast and so thick.

On the way, we stopped at a tiny place for coffee and a bathroom break, and none of the eight or so toilets in the women’s restroom had seats. This is the second place we’ve been to where the toilets didn’t have seats. What’s up with that?

But we drove on. I love all the orange trees in this part of the country. So beautiful. We saw Iberian pigs, which are grayish black in color. We also saw lots of cork trees, with the bark all stripped away. There were also tons of sheep, lots of cows, and a few horses.

We stopped for lunch in a small town just a couple miles from the Portugal/Spain border. We sat outside in the warm sun, and it was just gorgeous. Plus, it felt good to be off the bus. We’ve been driving through a lot of curvy, hilly roads, and I’ve been feeling pretty motion sick. I had to move up to the front of the bus so I could see out the front windows.

We arrived in Seville around 5:00. Dinner was included in our tour, but wasn’t going to be served until 7:30 so we had time to wander around. We saw a nice shopping area, with lots of restaurants. All very cozy little places. There were a surprising number of flamenco costumes for sale. We saw the cathedral that we’ll be seeing tomorrow on the tour. We had some trouble finding our way back to the hotel—the streets were very winding and narrow and many of them weren’t on our map. But we made it back in time.

We even had time for a beer with Mark and Natalie before dinner. I don’t know what kind of beer it was, but it was pretty good. The buffet dinner at the hotel was strange. There was a salad, and one of the dressing options was just sour cream. I’m not even really sure it was meant to be salad dressing, but I don’t know what else it was for.

After dinner, at 9:20, we left for the optional excursion to the flamenco show. It was spectacularly awful. There were only ten of us from our tour that went, and maybe 20 other tourists. The room felt completely empty, since it could easily hold a couple hundred people. It felt so awkward to me, these dancers putting on this show where the audience is meant to shout and get involved, but everyone was just so silent. The performers kept talking and commenting to each other. The dancers were talented, I’ll give them that. It must be so hard to perform for an empty room. It was late when we got back to the hotel, so straight to bed.

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