churches, customs

A visit to St. Elizabeth’s Church, the Russian Orthodox Church in Wiesbaden…

Although we will have lived in Wiesbaden for four years at the end of November, there are still a lot of places in Hesse we haven’t yet seen. A big reason for that is COVID-19. Things have really only been somewhat normal since April of this year. There are a few other reasons, too… one of them being sheer laziness and feeling slack because not that many people read my travel blog anymore. Nevertheless, I still enjoy writing it and taking photos, and I know there will come a day when I’ll look back on these memories with fondness. So, with that in mind, I let Bill talk me into another excursion today.

St. Elizabeth’s Church is also known as the Greek Chapel. It was built between 1847 and 1855 by Duke Adolf of Nassau, to pay respects to the death of his 19 year old wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia. The couple had only been married a year when the duchess died in childbirth, as did their baby daughter. The duke was so bereaved that he decided to build the church around the duchess’s grave in her honor, using money from the duchess’s dowry. It is now the site of the largest Russian Orthodox cemetery in Europe, outside of Russia itself.

I had long been wanting to visit St. Elizabeth’s Church, a beautiful golden domed Russian Orthodox church on Neroberg, a hill overlooking one of Wiesbaden’s most tony neighborhoods with very grand homes owned by wealthy people. This church is the only Russian Orthodox church in our fair city, and besides being lovely, it offers some beautiful views of the city. There are also other things on Neroberg, to include a vineyard, a couple of restaurants, a pool, a climbing forest, and lots of walking paths. To get up to the church, one can either drive and hope to find a parking spot, or hope to find a spot at the bottom of the hill and take the Nerobergbahn, which is a funicular that goes up and down the hill. It’s also possible to walk or bike up there, but that’s definitely not for people like me. ūüėČ Especially in August!

Bill had warned me that today there would also be a large climate change protest in Wiesbaden, with many people riding bikes to rally for Earth friendly policies. Remembering last week’s Stau on A3, I was hoping we wouldn’t be hindered by the crowd. Fortunately, as you will see in the photos at the end of this post, we were leaving Wiesbaden, as they were coming in. Based on what we saw in Wiesbaden itself, there’s going to be quite a party going on. I know there was a food truck festival going on, too, but after last week’s shenanigans at the wine fest, we decided the church was a better bet today.

It took us a few passes to score a parking spot near the Nerobergbahn, and when we did find one, Bill had to parallel park. That shouldn’t have been hard in a 2020 Volvo with parking assist, but I don’t think Bill trusts it. Fortunately, he was able to park the SUV, and we made our way to the funicular, where we purchased tickets going up and down the hill. It’s important to note that the current 9 euro train passes don’t work on this funicular. You have to buy tickets, which at this writing, cost 5 euros per adult. If you just want a one way ticket, it’s 4 euros. They also have special rates for groups, families, and kindergarten groups with children. The ticket can also be combined with tickets for the climbing forest, which appears to be an adventure/tree climbing/zip line park for people more fit than I am. ūüėČ

The funicular runs until 7:00pm at this writing, and there are two wagons that continually go up and down. The car is enclosed, so face masks have to be worn. As much as I hate masks, it makes sense, since it gets kind of chummy in there. If you score a standing place on the caboose, you don’t have to wear a mask. The ride is about three minutes or so, and you don’t see much as you go up and come down. Still, it beats walking.

When we got to the top of the hill, we went to a nearby Biergarten and had a snack, since I was a bit hangry and needed a bathroom. There were lots of people there, and I heard several different languages. I felt a lot less grouchy after Bill and I shared a Flammkuechen (Alsatian pizza) and washed it down with beer. I don’t even like Flammkuechen much, but I didn’t want a Schnitzel or a piece of cake. It was just enough, and after we ate, we walked around and got photos. I really just wanted some pictures of the view of downtown Wiesbaden, and the beautiful Russian church.

I already had Russia kind of on my mind, thanks to an advice column I read yesterday in the Washington Post. A woman wrote about how she’d married someone from Eastern Europe, and his family shows love by pushing food on guests. She explained that she has a lot of food issues, and isn’t comfortable eating a lot. I noticed a lot of the comments from Americans, most of whom either have no experience with Eastern European cultures, or no appreciation for other cultures. I commented that I empathize with the letter writer, since I had been a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Armenia, which is a formerly Soviet country. Food is a big part of their culture, which is all about hospitality. One of the first phrases we learned as Peace Corps Trainees was how to say “I’m full.” in Armenian. We were also taught how to signify that we were appeased, so the host(s) didn’t feel the need to keep bringing out food. Leave a little food on the plate.

Someone else commented that they had also been an Peace Corps Armenia Volunteer, years after I was there, and was going to write the very same thing! And I had also mentioned that Armenians would always comment when I lost or gained weight, too. That was another aspect of that culture I remember with somewhat less fondness. Sigh…

Anyway, I thought of that exchange as we decided to visit the inside of the Russian Orthodox Church. It’s two euros per adult to go inside. One thing I had forgotten was that Orthodox churches don’t allow people to go inside with bare legs. Bill and I were both wearing shorts, so the lady behind the counter apologized and asked us both to put on wrap around skirts. It was a little embarrassing, but then I remembered the Armenians (and Greeks, now that I think about it) were the same. We had to cover our legs to enter the churches and not wear revealing clothes. I also told Bill to be careful not to cross his legs. That was another caveat we got in Armenia, lest some little old lady chastise us for being disrespectful. I smiled at Bill and said, “It’s taboo.” And now that I have looked it up, I see that my memory serves me correctly. Of course, it didn’t come up anyway, since the church doesn’t really have anywhere to sit. I mean, there aren’t any pews or anything. Maybe a couple of chairs.

Photography isn’t really allowed inside, but I snuck a few photos anyway, since I had to wear a skirt. No one noticed. I did appreciate the smell of incense and the beautiful Russian choral music. St. Elizabeth’s Church really is a very lovely church and well worth a visit. I’m glad we finally made the trip to see it.

After our visit to the church, we walked back up the hill to the overlook, where we saw a World War I memorial and gazes at Wiesbaden from the vantage point of the hill, in view of the vineyards. It was very beautiful. I might have liked a few fewer clouds, but given how dry it’s been here this summer, I’d say the clouds were probably Heaven sent.

Here are today’s photos…

Well, that about does it for today’s post. I’m glad we went out today and got to know our city better. It sure is POSH.

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Chasing lakes and waterfalls in Aus-cro-slo-aus… part six

Saturday, October 30, was the big day. It was also really cold and foggy that morning. Bill had purchased our tickets for the Plitvice Lakes National Park for 10:00am. We were allowed to enter the park only from 10:00 am until 11:00am. I think this system is to prevent huge crowds of people showing up at the same time. It’s probably better for the natural environment and everyone’s enjoyment if the crowds are staggered. Of course, COVID-19 also makes the crowd staggering important, as it prevents too many people mingling and creating a superspreader event.

The park’s Web site recommended dressing in layers. I was cold enough that I took that advice. I wore heavy wool socks, a hoodie jacket, and my big Irish wool coatigan (basically, a long cardigan that zips and stretches enough to cover my beer gut). After breakfast, we made our way to the park. I was a bit afraid that it would be foggy there, as it was at the house. But as we entered town, the fog lifted, and we had glorious sunshine. It was going to be a great day for a walk through the sixteen named lakes, several unnamed lakes, and waterfalls that make up Plitvice Lakes.

I took so many pictures over the six hours we were at the park. Bill and I ended up walking almost the entire park. We did Route C, which is the third longest. If we had done Route K, we would have been there until nightfall and I would have probably needed an intravenous line. As it was, I was exhausted by the end of our day, but I will never forget the incredible beauty of the lakes and falls, even if the crowds got a little bit annoying. Brace yourself for lots of photos!

After about a half hour of walking, I knew that I was going to get too hot before long. I had been cold at the beginning of the day… but walking makes body heat. Plus, the sun was out in full force. We were very lucky, weather wise. I also got some videos of the waterfalls, which I will eventually turn into a YouTube video. Maybe I’ll get to it today. Maybe not.

Edited to add… here’s the video!

Phew… this was a trial to make on many levels!

As we were walking, jaws dropping at each new sight and the huge panorama of so many brilliant colors, I couldn’t help but realize that summer and late spring are probably madness at this park! But I’ll bet it’s so beautiful, too, since everything’s blooming and green. I’m sure this park is beautiful no matter what time of year it is. I think they do close part of it in the winter, though, which is smart, since there are a lot of slippery areas and the paths don’t usually have guardrails. I wonder how many people have fallen into the lakes, even though swimming there has been forbidden since 2006.

It was at about this time that we found ourselves at one of the several rest stations. This was where toilets, souvenirs, and food were, as well as the boats to the other side of the park. I was ready for a rest, so we went into the restaurant, where sandwiches and french fries were available, as well as a dizzying and surprising array of drinks, many of which contained alcohol. We stuck with good old Croatian beer. It’s important to know that cash is not accepted at the park, so bring your credit card if you visit. Also, don’t buy anything at the souvenir shop if you’re just getting started, because you’ll have to cart it with you… I didn’t learn this the hard way, thank God.

I was already getting tired after the boat ride, which was one way and committed us to walk the rest of the park. Luckily, the sheer beauty of the park and the prospect of being stuck there if I collapsed kept me going. And they were some beautiful sights, even though I don’t walk as fast as I used to. Below is the last batch of photos from Saturday’s walk, which took about six hours and was over seven miles… Not bad for a fatass housewife, huh?

We caught the shuttle at the end. I was grateful I didn’t take the mysterious staircase that would have taken us on another two hour segment. Maybe I could have done it, but I was really exhausted at the end of the day. We got on the shuttle with other masked people… again, probably the only place I saw people in Croatia properly masking. I was pretty irritable, because I was hungry and very tired. But there were many people on the shuttle who had lots of energy… and they were speaking in so many different languages. We heard English, Spanish, Italian, Croatian, and God knows what else… and Bill and I were both reminded of a particularly obnoxious bus ride in Puerto Rico we experienced when we took our first SeaDream cruise and there was a crew of obnoxious Brazilians aboard who were driving the bartenders crazy by staying up all night and getting wasted. We were going to the Bioluminescent Lake in Vieques, which was really beautiful, but I was tired and hungry, and the seat we were sitting on was busted.

Well… the ride in Croatia wasn’t that bad. At least the seat on the bus wasn’t broken, like it was on the bus ride in Vieques, Puerto Rico. But I was definitely running out of juice, and patience, and my muscles were stiffening by the second… By the time we got off at the last bus stop, we had to walk another mile or so out of the park and to the parking lot. I had, by that time, shed my layers and was carrying my sweater and my hoodie.

Despite being exhausted and crabby at the end of our day, I am really glad we visited and walked so much. I’m glad I can still do it. And I’m glad I don’t have to do it again.

Stay tuned for part seven.

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Sundays

Feeding frenzy at Wildpark Pforzheim…

Today, Bill and I discovered yet another kid friendly local attraction that we should have discovered years ago.  I am not sure how we missed it after being in this area for a total of five years.  Nevertheless, this afternoon we visited Wildpark Pforzheim for the very first time and we both had a blast.

The Wildpark Pforzheim is a really cool park full of wild animals, many of whom are no longer all that wild.  Quite a few animals at the park can be fed zoo feed, which you can purchase at the park.  A few animals can also be petted in the petting zoo.

Amazingly enough, there is no entrance fee for this park. ¬†You just pay for parking– five euros for three hours (ETA: I’m told it’s only two euros on weekdays). ¬†And, if you want to feed the animals, that’s another two euros. ¬†Naturally, there’s also a biergarten. ¬†I think we spent a grand total of 21 euros for parking, one little bucket of food, and a snack of wurst, fries, and beer. ¬†We did pay six euros total as a pfand for the beer glasses, but that was refunded after we returned them.

Anyway… here are some photos I took today, along with some lightweight commentary. ¬†I think this will go down as another great weekend activity, especially if you have kids who love animals. ¬†Dogs are also allowed at the park, as long as they are on a leash (though I did see a couple who weren’t).

This is the entrance to the park. ¬†It’s a surprisingly big place. ¬†Several parking areas are available, but it was still a bit crowded today.

The first thing Bill did was buy some food.  You can buy it at a stand near the biergarten, or at one of the many machines scattered around the park.  The animals that get this food are quite ready for you to offer it to them.

 

The animals that can be fed will have green signs on their enclosures.

The ones that aren’t allowed to be fed will have red signs. ¬†Be careful with this. ¬†If you get caught feeding animals that aren’t supposed to be fed, you will be stuck with the vet bill and kicked out the park.

 

Bill being the good provider…

There are cool carvings all over the park.

These two alpacas were very keen to be fed.  They stuck their heads out in an attempt to vacuum some food from my outstretched palm.  

A honey exhibit.  We stopped in on the way out of the park.  They show you how they collect it and sell some products there.

A very friendly creature… followed me eagerly down the fence line begging for food.

This one was not quite as eager.

I love donkeys and they had several lovable ones at the park.

The Highland cow was a little bit tricky.  Basically, the mouth opens, the tongue sticks out, and you dump some food on it.  

In the honey bee exhibit…

There were also a couple of aquariums.

 

A fish otter… sleek and shiny slips out of the water.

This deer got the last of my food.  She was working it.

So was he!  

A cooperative owl.

Wild cats…

The Wildpark Pforzheim also has a small ropes course, complete with ziplining, rope bridges, and climbing walls.  

I wish I were more athletic.  Parts of this really looked like fun!  

Smaller kids also have lots of activities to occupy them.  I took notice of several play areas for kids under age twelve.  The equipment was very sturdy looking and was well attended by happy children.

Kissing geese.  The animals in this area had signs on their enclosures showing the people sponsoring their care.

Donkeys grooming each other.

These two started butting antlers after I gave them a snack.

I’m not certain, but I think these pacifiers are left by people looking to have kids. ¬†Someone can correct me if I got the wrong idea. ¬†They were over by the chickens. ¬†ETA: ¬†My German friend Susanne has corrected me about the pacifiers. ¬†Here’s her explanation…

 

LOL – I have to correct you, because you got the wrong idea about the pacifiers.¬†¬†You even have the answer written on one of your photos. It’s a so called Schnullerbaum. An idea born in Denmark (1920’s). It’s for the children to help them to say goodbye to their pacifier often combined with a nice ceremony. ‘Ich bin jetzt ja schon gro√ü und lasse meinen Schnuller los. Dem Taubenhaus geb ich ihn her, jetzt hab ich keinen Schnuller mehr! Die Tauben haben ihren Spa√ü: und ich geb jetzt ohne Schnuller Gas! – oder so √§hnlich, couldn’t read the whole text because of the pacifiers.¬†https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnullerbaum

Ein Schnullerbaum dient der einfacheren Schnuller-Entwöhnung eines Kleinkinds. Es kann sich sowohl um…
DE.WIKIPEDIA.ORG

I loved the owls.  They were so majestic!

There was one mini horse…

A good snack for after our walk.  They also had ice cream, soft drinks, and wine.  The nearby bathrooms were clean and ample and there was no Klofrau looking for 50 cents.

Another play area for small kids.  

I do love animals very much, but even I was surprised by how much fun I had interacting with all of them at the Wildpark today.  Most of them were really tame and happy to take food gently.  A few were bonafide hams in front of my camera.

Bill and I were marveling at how many awesome things there are to do in Germany… and how little they cost to do. ¬†I was telling him that in America, it would probably cost $40 a person to attend a place like this, plus parking, overpriced food, and constant encouragement to buy souvenirs. ¬†Also, there would be a lot less animal feeding going on and constant supervision by bored minders. ¬†I love that here in Germany, there are places like the Wildpark where people are trusted not to be stupid… and you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to have a good time.

So… I highly recommend the Wildpark Pforzheim, especially if you have youngsters who love animals. ¬†It’s a really good time! ¬†I think I liked it even more than Monkey Hill.

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Sundays

Six miles at the B√§renschl√∂ssle im Rotwildpark and Schloss Solitude…

Although Bill and I have now lived in the Stuttgart area for almost five years, we never managed to visit the¬†B√§renschl√∂ssle im Rotwildpark or Schloss Solitude¬†until today. ¬†I wasn’t actually planning to visit there this morning, but someone in a local Facebook group mentioned it and made it sound like a great place to see. ¬†And I have heard so much about Schloss Solitude from all of the photographers who do shoots there; they always made it sound like such a beautiful place. ¬†I didn’t even know that one could walk to Schloss Solitude from the Rotwildpark until we saw a sign for it near the¬†B√§renschl√∂ssle. ¬†I did not plan to walk almost six miles this afternoon, but I sure managed to do it and had a great time in the process.

My first clear shot of the water.  It was full of huge carp, turtles, and ducks.

The Rotwildpark is a large park very near Vaihingen. ¬†There’s a beautiful lake there and many walking and biking trails. ¬†I saw plenty of people with their dogs, although we left Zane and Arran at home. ¬†I even saw a couple of dogs taking a dip in the lake, although I’m not sure if that’s verboten or not. ¬†Once we parked at one of the many parking lots– free of charge, I might add– we set off for the¬†B√§renschl√∂ssle, where we planned to have lunch.

This is where we parked… ¬†These map signs are all over the area so you’ll know where you are.¬†

 

Lots of kids were playing on these wood sculptures, which were all over the park, especially near the Bear Castle.

The¬†B√§renschl√∂ssle has a self-service restaurant where once can get sausages, pretzels, or a linsenteller. ¬†There was also a teenager selling ice cream from a small stand. ¬†I didn’t actually go into the restaurant because it was full of people. ¬†Instead, I got us a table on the balcony overlooking the water and offering a great vantage point for people watching. ¬†A lot of people were at the park today, taking advantage of the relatively sunny and warm weather we had for most of the day.

This was lunch.  It cost 18 euros for four very fresh wurst, two pretzels, sweet mustard, and two beers.  It hit the spot for our big walk.

 

A bird bravely stopped by to say hello.  This one was almost tame.  It actually took me some time to get my camera and the bird hung around long enough for me to capture an image.

After lunch, I went to the ladies room and happened to arrive there at the same time as a bunch of local women. ¬†One of them said something to me in rapid fire German. ¬†I responded in embarrassed English “I’m American.” ¬†She responded in perfect English that she thought I should go first! ¬†I was happy to oblige. ¬†And with that bit of business taken care of, we started walking along the main drag toward the castle.

As we walked along the paved main drag, I took note of the cookout and play facilities for kids.  It looked like a number of people were taking advantage of the opportunity to picnic.

 

We stuck to the main road from the Bear Castle, but I noticed there were many more rustic looking trails.  You could probably visit there several times and never do the same walk twice.  To get to the castle, you have to cross a somewhat busy intersection after you go over a bridge.  Then, you share a dirt path with many bikers and whatever animals have traipsed through and left pungent smelling calling cards.  If you decide to walk to the castle from the Rotwildpark, I recommend watching where you step.

The walk to Schloss Solitude was about four kilometers. ¬†Here’s Bill checking out the map before the driveway to Schloss Solitude.

 

This was my first time visiting Schloss Solitude, so I don’t know if today was a typical weekend. ¬†We saw several wedding parties, including one that appeared to be from India. ¬†We also saw a cute little girl having her first communion pictures taken. ¬†There’s a museum at the castle, though we didn’t check it out. ¬†I was in too much of a hurry to process the beer I had at lunchtime. ¬†We stopped in the Der Kleine Cafe for cake and a weizen.

We were in luck!

 

Many people sat outside and caught some rays. ¬†Bill and I sat inside and I got a good look at the display case full of pastries. ¬†Bill and I both had Black Forest Cake. ¬†I think it may have been the best I’ve ever had.

 

This was delicious!

 

After our cake and beer break, we walked around the grounds and I took some photos. ¬†Like I said… lots to see today. ¬†Plenty of people were there enjoying the views, green grass, flowers, and majestic architecture. ¬†For some reason, I was reminded a little of Colonial Williamsburg, even though the castle looks nothing like what you’d see in Williamsburg. ¬†I grew up near there, though, and I definitely had a sense of deja vu at Schloss Solitude. ¬†Below are some shots I got this afternoon.

I seem to have caught one couple kissing.

One of many happy dogs we saw today.

Having grown up around horses and missing them terribly now, I had to take several shots of the horses at the castle.

A duck hauls ass in the water.

Lots of people were taking pictures of their kids on the bear sculptures.

It’s not an outing if I don’t take at least picture of graffiti or stickers.

I have to confess that my feet were hurting after that walk, mainly because I need new hiking shoes. ¬†But I do feel pretty good after walking almost six miles. ¬†Bill just told me he’s feeling very relaxed after our energetic stroll in the woods. ¬†I would definitely recommend visiting this beautiful park in Stuttgart if the weather is good. ¬†We had a nice visit today. ¬†And you can’t beat the price, either! ¬†Next time we visit, we’ll have to actually tour the Schloss instead of just walking around it.

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Hammam, carriage ride, funny bum, and way too much wine…

I booked our appointment at Aire for 12:00pm. ¬†That left us with our morning to wander around Seville. ¬†It was Monday and Bill was starting to fret about how we were going to get out of Spain and make it back to Texas in time for his leave to end at 11:59pm Texas time on Thursday, the 23rd. ¬†I, of course, was annoyed with Bill for not arranging for leave through the weekend. ¬†He later explained that he wanted to get to the office to take care of some stuff for a briefing with his boss. ¬†But as we watched the flights leaving Rota Naval Base in Rota, Spain, it wasn’t looking like we’d be able to get out of Spain in time for Bill to get home before his leave ended.

Breakfast!

Because Bill is hyper-responsible, he was super stressed out. ¬†So we went for a walk and ended up passing a bunch of guys with horses and carriages. ¬†One of them approached us and asked if we wanted to take a carriage ride. ¬†They started at 11:00, when the cathedral opened. ¬†I asked how long the ride would take, since we had the hammam appointment at noon. ¬†The guy said it took an hour. ¬†I said we’d have to do it in the afternoon because we didn’t have time at that point.

Alphonso XIII‚Ķ ¬†A very expensive hotel…

As we headed toward the Guadalquivir River, we were accosted by a pushy woman wanting us to sign up for a Hop On, Hop Off tour. ¬†I was immediately turned off by her approach and also realized that for us, the bus tour would not be a particularly good buy, since we like to walk a lot. ¬†I listened to her spiel and finally said, “I don’t think we’re interested.” ¬†That seemed to piss her off, but at least we were able to cross the street.

We walked past the naval museum and along the river, then crossed into the beautiful park near the palace.  Bill and I were engaged in conversation when I got bombed by a pigeon of some sort.  Then I spotted some swans and ducks, so we turned toward there, just in time to see some guy hastily zip up his pants.  Apparently, we had interrupted him as he took a piss.

Rental bikes in Seville…

Naval museum

We walked along the street in front of the palace, then headed back toward the hotel, so I could pick up my bathing suit. ¬†We went looking for Aire and, of course, got a bit lost in Seville’s narrow streets. ¬†I think we might have been a little late when we finally found the place.

Aire offers two hour sessions in which you can get massages or other treatments and soak in one of five pools or sit in a eucalyptus scented steam room. ¬†You’re supposed to speak in a low voice, drink lots of water and tea, and relax. ¬†It was just what Bill needed. ¬†Of course, it turned out that many staff members at Aire didn’t speak much English, so we had to rely on our crappy Spanish skills to figure out what to do. ¬†I actually could understand a lot of the Spanish, but my ability to speak it is almost nil now.

The outside of Aire…

I wasn’t completely understanding what we were supposed to do, but managed to get into my swimsuit and found my way around the peaceful facility. ¬†The lights were dim; there was relaxing music; and had it not been for a couple of chattering Spanish ladies, it would have been a very calming experience. ¬†Bill and I only got fifteen minute massages. ¬†I kind of wish I’d gotten a longer one, but I’d read on TripAdvisor that the massages weren’t all that great. ¬†I ended up with a pretty good masseuse, though. ¬†We rotated around the salt pool, jetted pool, and warm, hot, and cold pools until we heard the chime letting us know our time was up.

After we went to the hammam, we visited what turned out to be a chain restaurant called Robles.  Once again, we ordered too much food.  The restaurant was pretty quiet and I noticed a manager type walking around, looking like he was proctoring an exam or something.

Where we had lunch…

Bill’s avocado and goat cheese starter. ¬†I skipped this because I don’t like strong cheese.

My starter… fried prawns!

Bill’s beef and potatoes.

Chicken and garlic.

Dessert!  Everybody loves a parfait, right?

After lunch, we took our carriage ride, though not from the guy who had asked us if we wanted one. ¬†Our driver did not speak any English, but we were able to understand much of what he said. ¬†He had a grey mare who seemed a little nervous in the heavy traffic we drove through. ¬†As he was pointing out places of interest along our route, the driver got a call on his cell phone. ¬†Bill and I chuckled, since the guy’s ringtone was a horse neighing. ¬†The driver insisted on taking pictures of me and Bill in his carriage. ¬†I’m grateful they mostly turned out okay. ¬†I hate the way I photograph. ¬†When we got back to the starting point, I managed to tell the guy that I used to have a horse. ¬†We bonded and he told me his mare’s name is Rosilla. ¬†I petted the horse and we went on our way.

That evening, we ended up at this great bar near our hotel. ¬†Bill and I wanted some wine, though we were still pretty full from lunch. ¬†Our server was a fatherly man who was intent on teaching me how to order shrimp fritters. ¬†I was enjoying the music in the bar, which was all from the 80s, so we sat there and drank a shitload of wine. ¬†The second bottle was from Jerez de la Frontera, which is where Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry is made. ¬†The quality was excellent and the bottle wasn’t too expensive, but it packed quite a wallop at 15% alcohol.

I ended up getting pretty hammered‚Ķ and when a bum came in looking for handouts, I ended up in a funny exchange with him. ¬†He flirted with me as a means of mock begging. ¬†I laughed in response and Bill gave him a couple of euros.¬† Later, when he continued to engage, I laughed again and told him to “beat it”.¬† He took his leave with a courtly bow.¬† Sadly, I don’t quite remember the end of the evening‚Ķ at least until we got to the hotel and my body kicked out some of the booze.

Information center…

There are buildings related to Spanish speaking countries in Seville…

Beautiful park

Swans!

Palace views!

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