Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Still enjoying Sevilla!

Walking about town, as we do, and we go through Plaza del Salvador (Square of the Saviour). It is a popular plaza for students, tourists and I saw a couple of sketch artists with books and paints.

Hospital of Our Lady of Peace
Under the bell towers
You can read more about it here.


Textures are various and numerous in Sevilla, sometimes run down, but there are friezes on the buildings, tiles as roofs, tiles on the sides of buildings and under balconies. It does pay the eye to look up! 

Or look down, this is a convent across the street from Pepe's apartment

Especially here in Sevilla but in other European cities as well. Here, of course, is the Moorish influence with spires and domes. 

The move into Pepe’s apartment went quite smoothly, two trips, Rocio came at 4 pm and started to take down pictures etc. Ivan came about 5:30 to help her wrap the furniture, read on. 

First day in the apartment and no hot water, heard that before? We try to light the gas heater and fail so had to call Pepe. Pepe comes by, fixes the water heater and it wasn’t due to our lack of knowledge thank goodness and brings by a kettle. 

Bruce’s rail project, customs in Madrid, the only customs offices in Spain, are holding the boxes Sylvia took so much time and effort to package. Their threat is to send them back to Canada - please NO! We paid a substantial amount of Canadian dollars to get them shipped, do not have the information required so between “a rock and a hard place”. This information requested is all in Spanish, natch, so Angela spends an hour(s) on the post/customs website filling in all the information we could, saga continues, not done yet, but getting tedious...

It gets to Spanish lunch time and we decide to go to La Chala for lunch. It’s cold for Sevilla but they have outdoor heaters and the sun comes out for a bit, close the place and make plans to go to Jerez the sherry capital of Andalusia even though the four of us aren’t big sherry drinkers. Ryan found a palace to stay in, walking distance to the centre, more on that when we go. Now I’ve seen the pictures, read the reviews, I really want to go and, yes, I’ll try some sherry. Angela explained that it used to be “grandma’s drink” but now is more like wine, well it is wine, but so many different varieties available now. This will be fun I think and a small break from Sevilla to a new and interesting city.

We stopped by our flat to see 1. if the fellows were working, Jan 19 is start day at 08:00 and yes, 2. it is clear they have been working with the amount of broken concrete, dust generated and hole in the ceiling of the kitchen. What a mess! Thanks go to Ivan and Rocio for covering everything in plastic the day before! Thank goodness we didn’t stay there, dangerous for Lexi and us as well. 

Was a red couch and dining chairs, well still is

Blurry, sorry, but shows many of the tools and buckets of concrete

I sometimes wonder if my blogging about everyday life gets boring to you the reader, because that is typically what we are doing now. Not as much touring around to different locales. If it is boring to you, feel free to send me a note to drop off, I will not be offended in the slightest. This blog’s goal has always been to keep family and friends in touch with how and what we are doing in Europe. I don’t know many people having an elevator installed in their home, travel of a limited sort.

Door to the Vet's

We made an appointment for getting Lexi’s claws clipped. We’d been there two years ago and the woman recognized us! Wow! She was apologetic she couldn’t remember Lexi’s name, come on, she did well remembering us in the first place. So next week Lexi my dear cat, you are getting your manicure! You won’t like it, but you are getting it. The woman came in and I told her it would take two people. They wrapped Lexi in a blanket and were quick about it, took all of about five minutes. She cried and spat at them. Cost is three Euros, what! I gave them five.

I woke up Sunday morning thinking of churros (Spanish style donuts) and hot chocolate, huh? I’ve never had that and why would I think of it now? Don’t know. Had remembered a place past the Setas (Metropol Parasol) that has a machine you can see them being made. Walked up there but being Sunday it was closed. No churros for me that day anyway and now I think I’ve lost the craving. Question, can you crave something you’ve never had? 


There seems to be construction happening everywhere! Major renovation happening next door where they are using a huge concrete mixer read noisy and now, today, a Wednesday they are using saws, hammers and other tools next door at the convent. Fine, but we moved here to escape the noise and dust and are now right back in it, admittedly behind closed doors and windows. Spaniards have short work time available. Nothing happens over the three week long Christmas season, summer is too hot, so almost half the year it isn’t possible to really get anything done, no wonder they are all “going at it” now. No blame here, just an observation and another part of living here.

We had a lovely “good bye, but stay in touch” lunch with Paula and Paul, Ryan and Angela, P & P are off to Morocco early next week for three months. They are lovely people and so very glad we met them! We went to one of our favourites Al Aljiba and enjoyed the good food and service. On Sundays it gets really, really busy but the wait staff and food never seems to suffer, all very professional. 

This carousel was set up on the Alameda for the children at Christmas time.

All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi the manicured Cat

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lunches in and out!

No chances of not getting toys at this home, both Santa and Three kings!

Friday night before New Year’s Eve and we have tons of food in the house but not much for dinner unless we use what is intended for tomorrow, hmm, what a nice problem to have. I noticed that Peggy Sue’s is open so we go there for a burger and listen to some oldies music off the jukebox at our table. 

The coffee roasting place next door is open, have never figured out what hours they do open, mostly early evening I think so we stop in and smell about eight coffees from different countries. Ethiopian turns out is my favourite, perhaps because it was roasted fresh today, so get some of that. We have no grinder here so get him to grind it, smells delightful, can’t wait to taste it tomorrow morning. If good I’ll invest in a grinder for here, like the one we have one in Freiburg.

Lexi and I are fighting over my chair! It’s a comfy one with five pillows that help prop me up to table level. Well the little girl snuggles right in, you saw the picture two posts ago and earlier today we shared but both weren’t as comfy as needed. She tries to hit me with a paw when I try to pick her up to place her on the couch so I dump her out, rude I know, but I have enough scratches thanks.

Our power went out in the entire building Friday before New Years Eve for about a half hour, thinking someone in this building has connections with the power company to get it fixed quickly, thank you! We were also thankful it did not go out tomorrow or lunch would be a cold one.
The old and new downtown.

New Year’s Eve day and we get back to the flat to find the elevator broken. We’d left just to have a tostada at a family run restaurant we frequent often called Granado and because Rocio was cleaning the flat. We leave the chair downstairs and trudge up the stairs. I do vegetable preparation for the late lunch we are hosting and our guests arrive around 2 pm. Ryan and Angela bring two bottles of champagne, Veuve Clicquot and Spanish Gran Reserva Juve y Camps 2013, chicken fingers and yummy bread. 
Our Amigos, Ryan, Paul, Angela, Paula and us

We don’t have champers flutes but did have plastic ones left over from last year’s housewarming party so used those. Paula and Paul bring bananas? read on, potatoes and mushrooms to roast in the oven and a lovely chocolate cake. The cheese fondue kept separating but was really tasty anyway, Paula had read about fondues and one site said to try bananas?! She liked them, Paul was sceptical but liked them too. With that cheese mixture I think we could have put socks in it and would have tasted good! Everyone helped with preparations and clean up which I appreciate very much!

New Year’s Day and the elevator is fixed, we think it might have been a blockage in the door tract but didn’t think of that at the time of course. We clear out Christmas decorations and finish cleaning the kitchen and rest.

Made a short list of things to accomplish, done! Easy list though. Our freezer was getting pretty icy, not in cubes, on the sides, cleaned. We had quit a lot of vegetable left from New Year’s so I made soup with it, yummy! Sorted Bruce’s meds so we don’t have to take the lot with us when we move out. Listed the extras we want done to the flat, fixing things, the only skill we don’t seem to need is a candlestick maker.
Waiting on a delivery for Bruce’s project so one of us has to be home. I went out and did a mini-shop for ingredients for a beef stew. Butcher pantomimed that his grinding machine was kaput so he cut up, into very small pieces a piece of beef. Grocers fellow, took my money after I told him I wanted oranges, a red pepper (they are huge here) and some tomatoes, he always pats my shoulder. The fellow in the Chinese points to “con gas” because he knows that’s my preference and he gets the milk Bruce likes for him. So nice to “talk” to those merchants that recognize you.
Beef stew turned out great, really yummy, if I do say so. 
Cooking at home, every pot used.

Bruce and I, joined by Angela and Ryan, were breakfasting at Granolo one morning as we do sometimes, all of us, usually at different times, but sometimes inadvertently meet up.

Bruce needed another something from the toy store he is now a regular at so he beetled off but left his smokes on the table. I yelled but he didn’t hear so Angela chased after him. Now he wheels really fast when he’s not waiting for me and Angela ran about three blocks trying to catch up to him, valiant woman she is. She reaches him and all he can say is “I carry spares you know” well that’s ungrateful and I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way because he wouldn’t but… So Angela returns to the restaurant, still breathing hard, and she is in good shape, anyway, I’m grateful and she’s just well, great and kind!
Left half of a block long mural outside a Farmacia
Right half

It is Three Kings Day, national holiday, stores closed read a first timer’s version on www.travelingpps.blogspot.com (click on January 8th) from Paula and Paul. I decide that while we’d spent Christmas, New Years and since this is the next week’s holiday it would be nice to spend another day with our Amigos, but hadn’t planned ahead to have them at the flat. Remember I wrote about the restaurant at the Corner House hostel, they mostly serve full rations and my thought on first visit we’ll need at least one, maybe two or more people to go there with to share. Late in the morning I invited P & P and R & A and we met there. On the Alameda where many children were trying out their new toys they’d just received that morning. Kids on roller blades, remote battery operated cars, you get the picture. We get to try out the larger plates of food and I think we were all pleased. I even tried Bruce’s cheesecake and it was great. Warm day in the sun until it went over the buildings when it cooled off, and we stayed late as we do, late here is 5 pm for lunch. 

At breakfast again, Granado, Pepe comes by with two ladies originally from Brazil, one living in Lisbon now and the other in Granada, just hanging out together in Sevilla for a few days. Vibrant, interesting people in the beginning of career choices, Lisbon one is doing an “arts in residence” program, not sure what that means exactly. Granada one is a copywriter and exploring further education anywhere she finds it, no home base so at ease with moving around. It was a short but delightful meeting.

Paula and I have the same birthday day! She is the same age as Prince Charles, look it up. They have chose to travel for a year and then re-evaluate their priorities and needs. So they are doing what one blogger calls the “Schengen dance” moving in and out of the area on a three month basis, previously in Croatia, after Sevilla on to Morocco. We are very happy to have met them and hope to tay in touch, maybe they’ll come back next year!

Heck we haven’t even decided where to stay the summer this year, will let you know soon, and it will have to be soon since summer books up pretty fast. Thinking larger cities where locals vacate actually.

Bruce made beef soup after our beef dips, then it gormed into adding a bit of left over pork chop with sage, and fried mushrooms, with tarragon and of course more onion, never enough onion. So tomorrow we’ll have to see what we have, it’s beginning to be a stone soup. What you have goes in. Recall the legend behind the words, a fellow comes into a poor village and says I’ll make a stone soup, huh? Well I have the stone do any of you have a little bit extra something to put with it? Well, I have a bit of vegetable and it goes, or grows, from there.

We turned the stew into shepherd’s pie the next day and also made potato leek soup. I did three lots of dishes because dried potato on a dish/pot is almost like cement to remove.

Ivan asked for our advice again on postcards he’s sending for Instahome. The company’s marketing person had one idea and Bruce and I agreed differently, not that we are expert marketers or anything. However we do probably know more about the target market, English speaking people, so sent our ideas along. Quite a difference in opinion and again, he can use or reject as he sees fit.

We have a fellow jack hammering up the tile outside our apartment which is, of course, extremely noisy but I think he’ll be done soon. He’s carting off the bits in large rubber totes or barrels.

Went to La Chala for lunch on a Friday, my roll filled with curry chicken was the best that day. Lunchtime summertime is here, cool in the morning, warming up around 1pm. Great really considering the cold fronts on the Canadian coast and even in Freiburg.

New NEWS! We have a date for the elevator installation, this week the 19th of January. We'll move into Pepe's apartment on Wednesday the 18th and we'll likely be there for a month!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and chair stealing Lexi Cat
Look closely, this fellow was making bubbles for the children in the park. Again, I wasn't quite quick enough.