Sunday, January 19, 2014

Paris, unexpected delay, and first of Sevilla

We get on the train, in the right compartment but someone is sitting in our seat. Train is not crowded so we take others. This becomes a rather major problem when the train stops at the midway station between Calais and Gare de Nord, lots of people come on board there.  We are sitting in a space for four and corner ourselves to make room for two more who were originally meant to be there. Another fellow comes along and says I am in his seat. Yada Yada, almost became musical chairs. Then the conductor comes back, after knowing we are in the wrong seats and cannot process our tickets because we are on the right train but wrong date. Darn agent we bought from made a mistake, but ultimate responsibility is mine to check before purchase. Anyway money changes hands at a reduced rate and we carry on.

Into Paris Gard de Nord station and we get a cab to go across the city to Orly, close to the airport. Novatel, whom we are staying with this time has many, many hotels in Paris. Weather goes from really heavy rain, read downpour, to better but not much. Warm and muggy in the cab. Went through many tunnels, traffic extremely heavy, with four lane highways each way. Took about an hour when Google said half, but major traffic downtown caused us to inch our way along the city. We came in just before 16:00 so it’s the start of rush hour. Our cab driver drives well but gets lost, thinking he knows where to go but doesn’t really. Figures it out and we’re “home” until 06:30 tomorrow when we fly to Seville.

Lexi was so good, hard day for us all and she hardly meowed but is now sacked out and not wanting her “snakey” to play.  In hind sight, should have been a clue for the next day.

We’ll all be glad to get into Sevilla tomorrow and rest up a bit before looking around the region and seeing other places to visit. Probably day trips by train.

Well we were packing up in the morning and Lexi went under the sink through a hole. My God! I’d rather have a boring blog than report this!

Real time reporting: She’s still not out but we located her under the shower in the corner. It took two hours and four people tearing apart the plumbing, the ceiling and a wall that covers the plumbing.We can’t eyeball her; located her by putting a cell phone down the hole and taking pictures. A manager also helped with the search and offered to take us to the airport in his car if we got her out in time. Not yet…

The staff here are fantastic, I can’t say enough!. They’ve changed our flight, (as it turned out, didn’t work) comped us another room for tonight once she comes out and comped breakfast as well. They all seem to have cats so do understand our panic. What a morning and it’s only 10:30 as I write this! Now all we can do is wait.

15:40 Angelica the lovely lady from the hotel came to us after I asked for a flashlight, hoping to see Lexi to ensure she’s okay in her hideout. She took another picture and she is. She’s just warm, not being carted around and feels safe where she is. When she needs to use her box or gets hungry she will come out. What an ordeal and it’s not over yet…

As said she is travel weary and so I suppose this is her way of putting all four feet down and “saying” I’m not going anywhere today! Well she certainly accomplished that.

17:30 not yet. Staff have brought up tuna and shrimp to entice with smell. Too bad she has never eaten either one but we’ll hope. Either the smell will entice or drive her (and us) out.

Bruce’s comment: So what did you do in Paris? Well we spent the day in the hotel room waiting for our cat to come out of hiding underneath the bathroom in amongst the pipes. Hmmmm, wonder how often people say that! I’m sure staff are telling this to their friends and family as one of the more unusual things that happen in their hotel.

She's back.... 18:30 and I heard her scratching at the entrance. Hauled her out unceremoniously by her paw, which she didn't like of course, but she's safe. Moved to a different room and checked there are no holes in the bathroom. There was supposed to be a cover on the other, here in this room, missing in that room. She is eating so is okay. Whew what a day!, Both boring and suspenseful. The staff here realize there has been a mistake in not having a cover on the hole but who could have anticipated a cat going in? No one. If we were of the type we could take legal action, but definitely won’t. Staff have gone over the top to accommodate, perhaps with that in mind, but they really have been great. One in particular Angelica who had the bright idea to take a picture.

So we go to dinner and everyone seems to know we are the “cat” people, no problem. We’re told to write an article on Tripadvisor to thank the boss and employees and have.

Okay we’ve had some glitches on our trip including no flight re-arranged and more monies exchanged due to a likely a miscommunication with hotel staff, boring, no detail here. Arrived in Sevilla fine and to a caring host. He picked us up at the airport, took us food shopping, did his as well, and brought us to the flat. Sundays, as in Germany, stores are not open. He unloaded the luggage and got us familiar with the place. It is smaller than the flat in England, functional, not fancy, but comfortable which is all we care about. It is a bit dark, sun comes through the atrium open roof, I would expect all the flats are. Would be cooler in the summer though. The courtyards are beautiful, all flats are arranged around in a square, we are on the ground floor of four. The orange trees we remember so fondly from a previous trip are beautiful and abundant. Oranges from those trees are shipped for making marmalade.  

Pond in one of two atrium plus orange from tree

Walked around a bit after having a restorative drink and had dinner at a tapas bar. Got some bearings, certainly not all.  Our host pointed out many things but until we walk the streets we won’t know the area for a few days. Also want to learn the bus system as there is no light transit here.

Anyway we’re here for one and a half months now and will explore outside of Seville but are already happy with the accommodation which is most important for that length of time. Already bought Spanish olives – yum, the best in the world we think. Bruce read olives are extremely healthy, fatty but good fat, kind of like avocados.

So a bit of history from/about our host. His father has a vineyard outside of Seville and makes wine for family and friends. He grows grapes to make a dry sherry but recently has added Sauvignon Blanc grapes to make a dry red wine for friends and family only, about 100 bottles per season. The family, three sons have four apartments in Sevilla, one for each son and one for the parents and whomever is staying over when the apartments are not rented.  The two other brothers are in good business, and living elsewhere so when Pepe got let go as an Electrical Engineer, his family asked him to take over the management of the flats. While he’s done five years to get his training and a hard study, he enjoys the tourism aspect of the job, people friendly and happy to be on vacation. Has an opportunity to partner with a small business but as he said "I’ve got both feet on each side of a fence”. He speaks very good English originally from school and then learning on the way, a sponge of sorts evidenced by today, we taught him a couple of new words and he taught us some Spanish.

Pepe's Father in Law grows olives. He wasn’t getting the price he wanted for his olives at market so went to the Government and had them tested, took them back to the market and said this is what my olives are worth, most unusual for here. 

Slow start on Sunday, Bruce had needed to sleep in and I researched Sevilla, where we are located in relation to everything else. Also what is to do here and there is a lot to visit. We’ve been here before but only for a few days and located right in the middle of the old district. We’re not far from there but walking there, back and around the district will be too much for Bruce (and probably me). Another city with one-way systems and all I read is the Sevilla is an unfriendly town for cars, easy to see why.

Back to the same tapas bar we were at yesterday, creatures of habit we are, but not before exploring other plazas. Had paella tapa which was wonderful, special of the day. Sunny, warm day and good to sit outside and do the people watching. 

So with fits and starts and a reluctant cat, we're here to stay for a while and all glad of it! 

Cheers, Bx2 and crawling Lexi Cat

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