Friday, January 22, 2016

Tour Port of Sevilla Museum and Hunting for Home Items

One of the information panels, read below.

One day this week we went with Ivan to Museo Naval, a museum dedicated to the large port in Sevilla (Del Puerto De Sevilla).  in Spanish but you'll get an idea.

Sevilla was the world’s largest port from 2nd Century AD up to approximately Christopher Columbus days when silt caused them to move the main port to Cadiz. Being on a river instead of a coastline made for secure shipping of worldly goods in and out of Spain from the Americas. It has grown and morphed at different times further towards the sea or mouth of the river.

The Museum covered the entire history of the port and how it's business related to and affected the City, it was fascinating to us. We were all a bit surprised with the amount of information, the size and completeness and the length of the tour, two hours. The fellow is not a "tour" guide, he works for the City Port Authority but wow! did he know the history.


Our guide through the museum.

It was cold in there, built in what used to be part of the port storage areas, large cavernous building with only windows close to the very high ceiling.

The tour was free and had to be booked ahead but worth going if you want to learn about Sevilla and it’s shipping history which was and is so very important to this City.


They had a complete installation of lighthouse lights and parts showing how they have changed over the years both in size and how they operated. You can imagine or know lighthouses were terribly important to navigation.

Picture of a picture of a working lighthouse
Okay, admittedly I like the lenses, a lot! Like pretty giant paperweights.
The wheels go round and power the lighthouse.

Another exhibit showed cranes, buoys, and dredging equipment. Over the years man has changed the shape of the river in places to cut a shorter path straight to/from the port to shorten the trip, saving time, money and removing silt for large ships to pass through. 


There was a complete tabletop model of the port itself including ships, tiny cars, the railway which moves product from one area to another. It was large and very detailed, picture didn't turn out.

Another model showed how the river traffic is managed, with buoys and directional lights (which are red and green and opposite rules to ones in Canada).


There were picture panels with taped verbal information about the different areas of the port over time, see the above picture of the cathedral.

There was an area for the future with plans to 2020 to continue deepening the river for larger ships and expansion of port functions.

This tour isn’t well known to tourists or even locals but so very well worth seeing in my mind.


After we were all a bit weary and went for lunch at the restaurant on top of the aquarium. Too cold to sit outside so we ate in the dining room which serves as a popular night club in the evenings. Food was so so, my Pad Thai was excellent, Bruce’s and Ivan’s dishes less so. This is the second time Ivan has ordered raw tuna and the second restaurant not to have it in. He said there must be a tuna crisis in the city.

A very good day and we didn’t shop for home items, a relief of sorts before getting back at it. We've purchased two original paintings by a local artist; she happens to be the wife of the shop owner we bought the kitchen hutch from, who also does framing ... small world. I thought she captured the special light Sevilla has.

Not to bore you, but have bought more kitchen items and ceiling lights mostly Art Deco style for living room, dining room and bedroom. So no more news about that in this post.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Party, Party, Party, it's a Party!

Pepe took me to the Municipal Hall to get the water contract sorted, closed but they had a satellite office open at the Alameda, lots of walking, talking to the rather dim young lady, copies had to be made, then back to her. Whew, but done except of course she spelled my name wrong as they all do, even when copying from both my NIA (Spanish identity card) and passport where it is spelled correctly. I’m Beberly, Beberley or Burberly here, Spanish have trouble with the "v" it seems. Since these are legal documents to show citizenship and ownership of property I have to insist they get corrected.

Ivan brought us a printer scanner unit we bought but needed a USB cable to install. Got that today and also went to the bank because I wasn’t able to do online banking. So things are getting done but it’s one foot forward, two back before success sometimes.

 We went with Ivan to his friend’s restaurant and ate the best sushi I think I’ve ever had and that says a lot, coming from Vancouver, the sushi capital of Canada I think. We can get take-away from there too which will be good.

 We are having a housewarming party on Saturday so are busy fitting out with food and drink for that. Bruce bought a few more kitchen tools. The hutch we found at the antique shop down the road was delivered, in pieces and re-assembled. It does fit perfectly in the kitchen and adds more storage. 

The hutch, the orchid, vodka, old phone...

The woods of the kitchen and it match so well you’d think they were built together! This is furniture I wouldn’t have considered buying for any other house I’ve owned or rented but it works amazingly well here. My tastes haven’t changed but I’m adapting to the architecture I/we are now in.

Finally remembered that El Cortes Ingles delivers groceries if you spend over a certain amount, what a bonus that was Friday afternoon!

The party happened, we had eleven guests and it was just the right amount. Food turned out well and showed that we made an effort, because, frankly it was! The guests seemed to enjoy it though so well worth it. Bruce made a little welcome and thank you speech, Ivan translated. The parents went home and the rest stayed and partied on. Even still we have a fridge full of left overs and enough wine and beer to last us for a while.

Party people, missing three, Ivan taking pictures, Ben standing next to Ryan and Angela next picture.

A little blurry but here she is," Miss Geisha"

We received a beautiful pink orchid from Pepe’s Mom, bottles of wine and one cool red bottle of vodka. We were pleased with the results and glad to have done it to thank those that have helped us so much! As you can probably tell, we don’t host a party often so having a successful one was a relief. If you are wondering what we did with Lexi while doors and windows were open, we put her in the bed, snuggled under the covers and closed the bedroom door, she stayed quiet and snoozed through the whole affair.


I woke up the next morning to no mess, food stored, bottles and garbage gone! Thank you! A few dishes to do and our cleaner’s day is Sunday so she mopped the floors. Bruce said it’s kind of like Boxing Day, eating the leftovers.


All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat, still loving those stairs!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Best Wishes for 2016 and Purchase of a Condo in Sevilla

Hello Friends, hope your year has started off well! 

Here is a view of Sevilla in a video Pepe was commissioned to do, it's in Spanish, of course but will give you an idea of this lovely city.

Street Christmas lights out our balcony

This year's "Christmas tree" more decorative than last but less inventive.

It’s done we are now proud owners of a flat in Sevilla! Fulfillment of a dream Bruce has had for many years, he and I are over the moon about it!

It is true Spanish style with colourful tile inlay in the floors and a lovely facade. Built in 1870 it was a family home of someone well off, we need to do more research. The building was renovated into flats in 1998 so plumbing is relatively up to date. There is a winding, beautifully crafted, wooden staircase going from first floor to second. Top floor has two bedrooms, bathroom and access to a sunny deck and a shaded one, unconsciously we seem to like that arrangement since it is the same in Freiburg. The kitchen has leaf green countertops, no dishwasher, no clothes dryer, but the washer and fridge are relatively new. Funny, Spanish people are looking for ultra modern flats and we foreigners look for older Spanish style flats.

Pepe, has been there for us, viewing the flat and going to the Notario as it is called here and spent a considerable amount of time fixing lights and odds and sods. He helped get us our Spanish residency permits, needed to purchase the flat, get a bank account, very important, and phoned to get the services moved from the previous owner to us. He has loaned us a dining table and chairs which puts us pretty much in the same situation we were when moved into Freiburg. Table, bed, kitchen and that's all, but that's okay, we're shopping slowly to outfit the flat.

Ivan took us to his friend's wholesale warehouse to buy all needed for a kitchen and then to Ikea to get bed and bathroom items. He moved the bed frame from the top floor to the lower via ropes over the balcony! A bit scary for both of us.

Friday December 18 is move in DAY! Pepe brought his car to the apartment and we shoved in as much as we could, all our luggage and four chairs, and the flowers he kindly bought as a welcoming. Ivan bought us salt, while you might find that a bit strange, it is considered here a very good omen if salt enters the house first, so it did!

Ryan and Angela came over to bring the table and Pepe bought champagne to celebrate. Later on there was a brass band playing in the plaza close by us. Boom, bang Oom pah pah, it wasn’t the best band in the world but it felt like we were being welcomed to the neighbourhood, well, that’s my take on it anyway.

Unpacking my suitcase into drawers, I found a pillowcase in one drawer, okay, but when I unfolded it due to it feeling hard in the middle, behold, a bank book, 120.00 Euro in cash and two lottery tickets fell out! The lottery date was for the next day so that made it somewhat urgent to call the previous owner, Pepe did and she was here at the flat in half an hour with a huge bouquet of pink carnations and baby’s breath. She thanked us profusely for giving back her things and said she had searched the place over for them. An unintended Christmas present to her and maybe she won the Lottery...

House outfitting hunting and we go to a big box area outside the city with Ivan, choose a couch and fabric to have it made. We surprise ourselves on how quickly we agree on large purchases and small ones too. Then got more fittings for the bathroom and kitchen, we were at a Home Depot type store. Lots of walking for me and reposed to a lovely lunch at a rather upscale restaurant bordering a park we’ve been to before. Ivan had been to his Uncle’s who has orange trees and brought us oranges and the tiny lemons off the tree at the restaurant. They smell amazing!

We have talked about getting a hamburger the whole time we’ve been here, enjoy the "salad" as much as the patty, and "Peggy Sue’s" is across the street. Remember we are in Sevilla, old town, not a usual place to put a 1950’s North American food and ambiance type of restaurant! They had jukebox selection of Oldies music at the tables, vinyl booths and chairs peppermint colour, a video that showed a talk, revue type show before Ed Sullivan on an old looking TV. Service was good, burger boring, not enough salad. I had my first onion rings in I don’t know how many years and, yes folks, they tasted exactly the same, once in about twenty years are good for those. My personal review, mixed, the ambiance was great, the food mediocre.

We had a couple of resting days over New Year's to get over my cold, contracted due to getting run down with the needed pace to get things done, no appointments which was slightly boring but good too. Saturday we were trying to find a place to eat and walked by the Museo square where Sundays they usually have an art market of local artists. Some of them were there Saturday though including a fellow from Argentina we bought a piece from last year. He saw me first, rushed up and gave me a big hug and nattered on, so friendly! We chatted some, he slowed down his speech so Bruce could mostly understand what he said. He gave us a small piece of his work as a gift, it’s a metal outline of a horse’s head, matte framed, thank you Sergio!

Well that's all for now folks, a turbulent but exciting few weeks for us since my last post. 

Many, many, hugs and thanks to Pepe, Ivan, Ryan and Angela for all their help with this move! You've really lightened the physical, mental load, and language barrier.


Happy New Year to you all our friends, may 2016 be a good one for you.


Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the staircase climbing Lexi Cat, she loves it!