Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Prado Exhibition and Furnace Installation

This fellow and the next are advertisements for a men's clothing shop

One night we watched a movie with Helen Mirren in it, who I think is a very good actress, it was called The Hundred Foot Journey, I liked it a lot.

Heating installation starts at 08:30 on a Thursday, so far they’ve filled the flat with a compressor, ladders, the units themselves and gone for coffee I think and probably a tostada. Now three fellows are working on it. I can only hope they finish today! More holes are being made in our ceiling… I do hate construction in the house. We’ll move out when they install the elevator for sure. We are very lucky we can put Lexi in the bed and she’s happy there, away from open doors and people. 

Cat burrito

They take less than an hour to have lunch, unusual, and come back to finish. They work well together and joke together, but not at the expense of the job. We now have heat, nine hours later, quite a big job!

Met up with Paula and Paul, a couple that we were email introduced to by bloggers Ali and Andy, now living in Berlin, used to live in Freiburg. Paula and Paul have arrived in Sevilla and, not having been here before, gleaned some local knowledge from us. We enjoyed their company on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The art market was closed due to the rain so they’ll come back another Sunday to see it with us. Since I don’t really “do” social media, which is how many people meet others in a city, it is nice to meet people through others.

Went up to the Setas (Metropol Parasol) that giant wooden structure downtown I’ve mentioned before. Had a nice sushi lunch and were able for the first time in days to comfortably sit outside. Lots of dogs walked or cavorted through. Walked through the food market which I think is larger now than last year, do not buy celery in this market it looks like it’s been towed behind a car! Other veggies looked good though, there are a couple of bakeries, few fish and meat stalls. As always, love markets! But this time we had making chicken stock/soup in mind and didn’t see all the needed ingredients so we ended back at El Cortes.

Black Friday happens here too, I think it has almost gone world wide, and it lasts all week. There are many more than usual shoppers out, discounts are high, which makes me think I should stock up on wine now for Christmas.

Our modus operandi has been crushed a bit, lots of rain this last week and it’s not pleasant to sit outside, rather we’ve been home more than usual. Dash through the rain drops to shop for food and that’s about it, boring! But I have read the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast have had almost two full months of rain so I shouldn’t complain! That’s why I decided to cook, at least do something more creative. I hope the smells are driving our neighbours crazy, as theirs do to us.

I did stock up on wine, saved a bunch of Euros but they failed to deliver two bottles. So after a careful count, again, and again, I phoned. Next day they called back and indeed, they found them and will deliver today, decent service really.
Bruce gets a massage once a week for an hour so because I think it best to  leave and therefore not make any noise I usually do. 

Painted rolling door on a shop depicting the next picture

The real thing, Museo De Bellas Artes
There is an exhibit on at the Museo De Bellas Artes which is half a block from our place, you’ve heard me talk of it before, same plaza the Sunday art show is in. It is a collection of paintings and art objects from the museum Prado. I love the banners they have advertising it, never been to the Prado in Madrid so went to this exhibit. 

Love the lacy detail! See the second page of the brochure (second link) for better detail.
Entrance is free for EU citizens, took my Irish passport, but even so, entrance is cheap at 1.50 Euro.
I really enjoyed it! The painted detail of the costumes is fantastic and the exhibit is called “The Objects Speak” so it focuses on dress and surroundings. As for the time, many are portrait paintings of people who could afford to commission one so they are “dressed to the nines”, not a good representative of the common people I think, but certainly lovely costumes.

All for now, Cheers, Bx2 & Burrito Lexi

Monday, November 14, 2016

Freiburg to Sevilla and First Week

As said, fall is here. My parents were fanatical about cleaning up the fallen leaves, raked, blew, and kept the yard tidy at all times this time of year. I found the perfect card for them one time, picturing a fellow, rake in hand, trying to get the last leaf off the tree, you get the picture. I just looked outside to find a fellow shaking a tree to get more leaves off it, had to hoot with laughter, so familiar! He’s the caretaker I think for the grounds so it’s practical, but just made me laugh.

Statue at the airport hotel in Frankfurt
We train to Frankfurt, November 2, comfortable journey after getting settled which, if busy, sometimes takes a few minutes. Stay overnight at the airport hotel, dinner there, they make good chicken wings. November 3 and head to the airport. We go to the Special Services desk due to Bruce’s chair. He gets to take the chair to the gate this time and they “park” us in a lounge with coffee, tea, juice and snacks. To board we are escorted to a VIP entrance/exit and are scanned, body scanning by a woman, a bit embarrassing but suppose that’s her job and she doesn’t think much of it. (no clothing removed but felt up and down thoroughly). She did the same to the next couple who were from Texas so we weren't targeted. Rode around the airport in a bus for what seemed like kilometres, with planes crossing our path, calculated but a bit scary, with those monoliths coming at us!  We saw the airport from the tarmac, very interesting, very busy. Loading they put Bruce in another chair, manual and wheeled him onto the plane. All of this procedure is new to us. It never seems to be the same when we fly through Frankfurt! Keeps us guessing I suppose. Flight is three hours and I get to sit next to a very, very large man, not fat, just hefty, but polite. Felt like a sardine and plotted how to avoid that in the future. 

Land and we have help getting luggage and then they do the usual with Bruce’s chair. The “unusual” luggage gets it’s own spot to emerge, but this spot is on a platform and they have to lift the chair to the platform and lift it off. The chair weighs 120 kgs, not a light article, takes about four people to get it up and down. Staff are patient and good to us. We go looking for the taxi outfitted to handle a chair, it isn’t there, it has been ordered but is about 45 minutes late. Now this is the third time we’ve been abandoned at the Sevilla airport in the last three years! I’m now naming it the “abandon Bev and Bruce at the airport” airport. It is rather a dumpy place too but does have a few orange trees next to the parking lot which are always a welcome sight.  

Arrive at the flat and there is Ivan! Good thing too because I would have not found the ramp to get Bruce and chair in, he re-purposed it to keep water from coming in our leaky windows upstairs. Brief visit, he helps get us in with suitcases and the goes off to a meeting. We’re home at last! Yippee! Flat is clean thanks to Ivan and Rocio our lovely cleaning lady. How good it is to be here, and it’s warm!

The lift/elevator we ordered has NOT been installed, ordered before we left but there were modifications in-between. Application for modification wasn’t accepted here until mid August, takes three months after to get the permission paperwork. Lift fellow, Ivan told me, had doubts about it fitting so had the contractor put a hole in the kitchen floor, and ceiling and remove the cupboards upstairs. He had this done without warning to Ivan so Rocio had to come in and clean up the dust. Now our fridge is in the mini-office and we are living in a bit of a construction zone. Neighbours weren’t happy either because we are still waiting on permission from City Hall, and as the saying goes, you cannot rush City Hall, so very true here.

Went to have a shower in the morning and we’d forgotten to turn the gas on to heat the water. Found out it takes some time for hot water to reach the bathroom, almost two hours really. Well it’s fixed now, a very good thing to have hot water for sure! Update, not fixed, cold showers for the next five days until we get a gas expert in to fix, Brrrrrrrrr……

It’s been a bit of a cluster-fuck (excuse the language) this time. Read the email I sent to our partners in reply to the question “All Set?” Four days after arrival.

No not all set, but working hard on it, following are the issues and Pepe has been here to call his contacts to help us fix, Ryan has also helped.
- No HOT water is the biggest, pilot light works but no hot water. Gas people coming tomorrow
- No heat, although not really needed, but want it working for when we do, heating person coming tomorrow
- Couldn't unlock my cell phone, Ryan took me to the store, result, new number, it works now.
- Bedroom closet door fell off, three screws are broken and will have to be re-bored to fix, Pepe is phoning a carpenter for us for that and because the sun has caused the wood to warp upstairs to the patio, rain comes in, for that too.

So while I expected to move in with no issues, we certainly have had them. But as of today they are on the way to being fixed so that's good.

Next day and the gas expert comes, puts in a new heater membrane, apparently needed every seven years. It hadn’t been serviced for a long time, now done!
Heating fellow came next. It’s either a 300 Euro part he’s not sure he can find, or a new furnace, went with the new furnace, to be installed next week.

Now the toilet tank leaks… Will this ever end? I have a theory that they must have used a jack hammer to take up the floor and it shook up all the appliances.

Ryan, Angela and Pepe have been a big help to us to settle in with some of these issues so we’ve seen a lot of them over the last ten days which is lovely! They are family to us.
Having said all that, it is lovely to be back in this city. Yes, the kitchen floor is torn up, boards cover it; fridge is in the office. But we get to look at our art choices on the walls with pleasure and enjoy them. Lexi is back in love with the staircase.

My Lexi how you have changed! This is Cora, Pepe's dog, tired after waiting for Pepe while he helped us!
Our favourite "old man bar" a local's place, where we met Alonso has changed hands and gone upmarket. We have yet to try it but will. Did and it’s okay, nothing we had was special. Had Ryan and Angela call Alonso since he must have had an inclination prior to our leaving and gave us his phone number. Haven't actually found him yet but will.
People here think it's cold, since last week it was very much warmer, but for us, it's still shirt sleeves weather. Rained a couple of times the first days we were here but sunny now. 

Shaun from Ghent came to visit us for a day! He didn’t expect Sevilla to be so big and busy. Took him and Angela and Ryan to lunch at all our favourite Al Aljibe. Lively group of us and we closed it down late afternoon. 

I look so short, because I am!
Back to our place for more chatting and then Angela and Ryan took Shaun out for dinner. We all really enjoyed his company, he is a lively, intelligent person with a good sense of humour.
Sunday and we browse the art market at the Museo as usual, say hi to one and all there and then went to El Corte Ingles for lunch with a view. Called “The Gourmet Experience”, it is quite touristy, has several small restaurant bars to choose from and a gourmet food section on the fifth and top floor of the building. 

What a view! Even on a cloudy day.
We had Mexican food with a Corona beer. Can’t remember the last time I had a Corona so it tasted great! This place is expensive without super quality but a nice change once in a while.  


All for now! Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat