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

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