(SEVILLA –> Marrakech –> Sahara Desert –> Sevilla –> Malaga)
Sunday – Day 123 – Off to Sevilla – The Twins Actual Birthday
We landed in Sevilla around 1:30pm and we were excited to see our long-time friends the Raivetz’s. They have twin girls, Lila & Sydney, who are the same age as our twins. Ari was my roommate in college, literally we shared a room in a house for two years. The four of us are from a batch of at least 25 couples that we know of who met in GWU and got married.
We met them at the hotel and had an amazing reunion. Lauren and Kelli happened to live in Sevilla one year apart when in college and they both stayed with the same Señora. For years, we would talk about how we think she is doing and if she is even still alive. It was 20 years later and she was pretty old when they lived with her, so they did not expect her to still be there. However, we just wanted to see the apartment and ring the bell. Maybe her daughter would be living there and we could say hello.
We found the building, and debated whether to ring the bell. Finally one of the boys did it. Without a word, we get buzzed in. We walked into the building with 9 people deep. Certainly, the last thing that anyone living here would be expecting.
Kelli knocks on the door, “Hola, Fina esta aqui?” A young woman looks at her, squints her eyes, and smiles, “Si.” Kelli responds, “Si?????????” Lauren, looks at her and says, “Fina esta aqui ahora?” Once again, she says “Si.” And in that moment, Fina walks to the front door and Kelli and Lauren are hugging her and crying as if they saw a ghost.
Before you know it, all 9 of us scurry into the apartment and are looking around. Lauren found a photo of herself and her roommates on the shelf. Kelli saw her old bedroom. Fina, of course was in the middle of making paella for her children, who had their own apartments and families upstairs. We were ecstatic on so many levels. Even the kids were loving it.
From there we went to a food market on the river, got some food, a bottle of wine and just caught up. The kids were catching up in their own way. Running around, having fun and turning what was once a tranquil scene of adults sitting by the river enjoying lunch and having a drink, into a children’s playground.
Back at the hotel, the kids were lucky that there was a rooftop pool that was heated and they had some fun there. The temperature dropped pretty quickly once the sun went down, so Lauren and I had to improvise to keep ourselves warm while we watched them.
To celebrate Leila and Joshua’s birthday, we found an authentic restaurant that had delicious Paella. While it was a little chilly, we opted to sit outside so the kids could be…well kids… On the way home, we took a detour to walk through the main square area and it was such a treat, with Xmas lights everywhere. We ran around the square for a long-time and just as we were about to leave, all the lights shut off….. Feliz Navidad began to play and before you knew it, we were all spinning and dancing. The perfect way to end the night of our first day in Sevilla.
Monday – Day 124 – Enjoying Sevilla
One of my favorite parts of traveling to a new city is the morning run to explore and Sevilla was no different. I ran through the old city to the river and over two bridges. I got back just in time to meet everyone for the end of breakfast.
We started the day by climbing to the top of the Torre del Oro. From there we headed over to Plaza Espana, which is just magnificent in every way. By then everyone was hungry and so we found a café by the park and sat outside for 25 minutes waiting to be served, only to be told by the waitress when she finally came over that no more food being served. It was 3:30pm by that point and the kids were hangry. We made an audible and Kelli remembered that the beautiful hotel her mom stayed at 20 years ago, Alfonso XIII, was close by so we hustled over there. We sat on the terrace overlooking the city and were able to get the order in one minute before the kitchen closed. It was perfect.
From there we walked across the bridge to Triana where there are a lot of bars and restaurants. Back when Kelli and Lauren lived there in college this is where they went out most nights. After walking along the river for a while, we bumped into the cutest area and just sat down and took it all in with the kids and yes had ice cream.
From there we had a 10 minute walk home where the kids once again went to the pool. That night was the first night of Hanukkah and both families lit the menorah together in our room and Lauren brought all the kids little presents. We then had a double date in the restaurant in the hotel while all the kids had room service in our room. At dinner, I just had to reflect on how grateful I was to be there at the moment.
In Part 2 of 5 of our trip we head to Morocco to explore Marrakech.