Renee and I celebrated our final “puente” or long weekend of the school year by venturing down south to Cadiz and Sevilla. What made this trip extra special was that we were in Sevilla during the Feria de Abril festival. I’ll get to that later…first Cadiz.
This trip started off with an adrenaline rush because I almost missed our train down to Cadiz. People who know me know that I am never late. I’m the person who gets places 20-30 minutes early and is normally waiting for the other person to arrive. So the bus driver in Móstoles wouldn’t let me on with my carry on suitcase, which was the 1st time that ever happened, so I had to wait another twenty minutes for the next bus. Thank goodness the next driver let me on, otherwise I was two seconds away from calling an Uber. At this point I had about 50 minutes until our train left and it normally takes 35-40 minutes to get to the station. Somehow I made it to the station with ten minutes to spare and I made it to security and was about to show my ticket on my phone, but I was grabbing my phone so tightly that it shut off and I had to enter my SIM pin #. I never shut my phone off, usually I just switch it on/off airplane mode to avoid this very situation. Due to the heat of the moment, I could not for the life of me remember the 4 digit # because it had been at least six months since I’d used it. I guessed once and no-go. I was explaining myself to the security guy and he said sorry you need to go downstairs to print your ticket. I had 8 minutes left and there was no way I was making it if I went downstairs. So, cursing to myself, I move aside and take a breath and try the pin 1 more time. Unlocked. Ufffffffhhhhhh. Sweet relief. I got on the train and found my seat next to Renee and I’m sure my face was flushed and I probably sounded like I had just finished running a marathon, but I was just glad that I made it.
The train ride to Cadiz was about 4 hours long, but I love train rides because I find it so peaceful to just stare out at the landscape. When we got there, I immediately felt relaxed. There’s something different about being by the ocean. I always feel the shift in myself when I can smell that beautiful ocean breeze. Pure bliss.
There was really good vibes in Cadiz…it got quite windy at some points, but the pace of life is very relaxed, slower, celebratory, and community-minded. A few of my favorite things were laying out on the beach, hanging out at our hostel’s rooftop patio, and going on a 3-hour bike tour of the city. The sand was incredibly soft and warm and squeezing your toes in the sand was a damn good foot massage. It felt AMAZING to be on a bike again…I forgot how freeing it feels to wander around on a bike. If you visit Cadiz, I highly recommend Las Bicis Naranjas for bike rentals and tours. Our tour guide was very sweet and it was very informative to be shown around the city by a local. I’m not going to lie, our hostel was pretty shitty in Cadiz but the best part was getting to veg on the rooftop couches at the end of the day and just chill.
Now Sevilla. What a beautiful city! It felt like we stepped into another world, another time. This place is probably one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited in Spain; in terms of architecture, cleanliness, quality of life, etc. It is a very posh and opulent looking place. Our time in Sevilla was a bit of a whirlwind. We walked 11 miles one day. We could have used one more night to explore the city more but considering we were only there for 2 nights, we did a lot. Our 1st night, we went to the Feria festival grounds to see the casetas and other traditional Sevilla things. Casetas are fancy tents/restaurants, with a dance floor, where people eat, drink, dance, chat, and be merry. One of my favorite parts of Feria de Abril was seeing the women and young girls dress up in exquisite gowns and accessories popular for this particular celebration. Absolutely stunning. I also found the Feria grounds interesting because it reminded me of the O.C. Fair back home, but with Spaniards. Half of the grounds consisted of the casetas, but the other half had game booths, roller-coasters, and food trucks. Seeing it made me miss home very much.
Somehow Renee and I managed to slip into the Plaza de Toros for a bit and watch the horse carriages circling the stadium. I have no idea who the people in the carriages were, but they were very beautiful and well-dressed. This was my 1st time in a Toros stadium and it felt like we were in a movie. It was very traditional and very Spanish. That day we also visited the Real Alcázar and Catedral de Sevilla. Both places held so much beauty and eloquent architecture and design. The last place we visited that day was Plaza de España. Uffff. Another spot with indescribable beauty and magnificence. I had seen pictures beforehand and I was blown away by how breath-taking it is in person. Hands down the most beautiful plaza I have ever seen in my life.
This trip really reminded me a lot about life… About being flexible, resilient, open, and choosing to make the best of a situation when things are deviating from our expectations. Learning to travel well correspondingly teaches you how to live well. We experienced some beautiful highs and also some lows too; así es la vida. No, things will not always go how you planned, there are many surprises to be encountered around every corner, but the beauty lies in our ability to wholeheartedly show up for life—to love the highs and also the lows, to laugh when we fall, to savor the present moment, embrace all people, and enjoy the journey.