"Holiday weight, Schmoliday weight."
Love Chunks managed to wangle the Thursday before and Tuesday after the Easter long weekend to give us six days in Spain.
Spain's a rather large patch of ground, so we decided to hit a smallish area and keep reminding ourselves that living in Europe for the next (at least) couple of years means that we can calm down and revisit or see more of the place later on. Madrid and Barcelona were idly bandied about over a dinner party table a couple of months ago, but friends urged us to consider Seville.
Gianna and Simon, let this be a public declaration of sincere thanks for your advice.
Easter is the Holiest of Holy weeks in an extremely Catholic country and we were surrounded by hours and hours and days and days of parades that seemed to feature gorgeous young women wearing black lace mantillas as a sign of mourning for Christ's death and a heap of differently-coloured Ku Klux Klan members who were supposedly covering their faces to hide their sorrow. No photos to show you as it didn't seem right to jump out and snap away at them during a time they took particularly seriously.
Honey toasts, deep fried and anointed in delicious syrups were an Easter treat that I inhaled eagerly, telling myself that having a freshly-squeezed Seville orange juice would sort of counteract the fat. (In Kath Land, an apple following a Kit Kat chunky means nothing was imbibed at all). Not so easy to do the same for the aubergine 'fries' that were coated in a fine crumb and then drizzled - again - in honey. We were skeptical at first, but all raving and rolling our eyes in ecstasy several seconds later.
Balconies were draped in red brocade, velvet and gold trimmings and the city was packed with people of all ages. No dinner to be had at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 or even 9:30pm..... try 10:30pm with a few tapas to tide us over before then. Toddlers were at outdoor tables eating with gusto near midnight as we walked home, bellies full and wondering just how we'd be able to lie down and sleep comfortably.
Respecting their Christian celebrations aside, I'll admit to deliberately lining up my shot of this guy so that it looked as though he was praying for good BBC World News reception....
....and, yet again, an art work has to feature the single crusading female with a boob hanging out. As they inevitably do.....
Reluctantly driving out of Seville (thanks to Love Chunks and Ken, the tom-tom we brought over with us), we stopped at an intriguing lookout named Saucejo so that I could grab a photo of my best boy and best girl.
Ronda (the town, not the girl that the Beach Boys were keen to use as a rebound for heartbreak) took our breath away. LC is a bit of a mountain goat and loves to clamber on things, so while he busied himself being King of the Valley, Sapphire and I took a selfie that you can clearly see reflected in my sunnies:
The bridge spans the deep rocky valley from the old town to a still very-old part of town that also has the largest bullfighting ring in Spain. We all preferred not to see any bull being stabbed by a bejewelled ponce wearing ballet slippers for sport and instead decided to take the walk down to the base of the bridge.
This was where the difference between Occupational Health and Safety Australian-style compared to OHS Who Cares Spanish-style was glaringly obvious.
"Oh look, LC," I said, voice quavering along with my knees, "Under this temporary IKEA step ladder stapled to the moss on the rocks is the original cement staircase, cracked in half and collapsed. How comforting..."
"Hey Dad," a much-braver Sapphire called out. "The railings have rusted and you have to wedge yourself up against the side of the cliff so that you don't smash yourself on the rocks below. This is incredible!"
She was right. The cement had long since crumbled down into the river, leaving a single iron bar jutting out like a hangman's frame, a visual reminder that the path was once a metre wide instead of several centimetres. Around the corner, a stone hut was teetering dangerously into the drink and as my two beloveds dashed eagerly ahead, my feet refused to move and I found myself staring straight ahead in a self-imposed trance. I was convinced that if I stayed motionless, the return trip around the cliff and back up the rocks would be achievable if only my ragged breathing-with-a-squeak-at-the-end would cease...
"Ma'am? Hey, Ma'am? Can you take a photo of us please?" Four young US college students were on top of the death trap cottage and one was dangling his canon down to me via the strap. "Er sure," I rasped, my shaking hands making several misses before finally catching the strap. Later, there was a tiny sense of satisfaction in passing them all on the climb back up to town, but fitness wasn't really the factor; fear was.
In Granada, Sapphire's tiny balcony provided a rather lovely view.
Beauty aside, it wouldn't be a Kath-splattered holiday if some signs and mistranslations didn't tickle my giblets. Colon Street, Tourism Colon and even a sign pointing to the turn off to Morón de la Frontera. There were times when I thought that I should have headed in that direction and many more when I'd gladly have shown other people the way.
In France, the 'Do Not Disturb' sign hung on hotel doors usually translates to 'Do not DERANGE me,' but in Spain it's 'Do not MOLEST me.'
Then again, as an Aussie sheila used to the Sharons and Narelles of the world and their 1970s/1980s-style insults, it could also be interpreted as being a Mole Star. Personally, the first interpretation is my preferred one.