Peyto Lake, Alberta.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ruth is in Calgary, and Kevin is in Jasper, Alberta, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Nova Scotia on August 17th.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Everything went according to plan...and then some!

Wow...busy day yesterday. Sorry, this is going to be a long blog post! But, entirely worth it because you get to see what we saw.

We had a lot to accomplish. First, I wanted to go buy a new smart phone. Then, we were going to meet Helen and Tony where we would all tour the fantastic Seville Cathedral, then back to Louis the motorhome in order to head to the outskirts of town to do a big grocery shop, then a two hour drive to a small town in the mountains to an AirBnb accommodation where we will spend the next week.

Let's see how smoothly that all goes...

I wanted to buy my phone at the big El Corte Ingles department store. They have in house facilities to process the tourist refund on the taxes, plus an English speaking customer service girl to make sure there aren't any misunderstandings due to language.

We had made arrangements to meet Helen and Tony at the Cathedral when it opens at 11:00am. We already had our tickets, so we wouldn't have to wait in line. So Ruth and I arrived at the department store at 9:55am, ready for it's 10:00am opening.

The phone purchase went smoothly. I bought a brand new unlocked model Samsung A3, which is a slightly smaller (and 20% cheaper) version of the A5. The A3 is only available in Europe. The only problem this might make for us is the two year warrantly is also only available in Europe. So, if we have a warranty problem with the phone back in Canada, it may not be easy to get serviced. A chance I'm willing to take.

Also, the girl made a strange comment that I have to make a Spanish phone call using a Spanish SIM card for five minutes duration in order to unlock the phone to be used with SIM cards in other countries. Strange!

I paid €329 ($468 CAD, $350 USD) taxes included. But VAT is high in Spain, so I should get about €40 ($57 CAD, $43 USD) back if everything goes according to plan with the tax refund.

Next up, I wanted a new SIM card to use for our last two weeks in Spain. We walked to an Orange cellular store and took a number, but it was pretty busy and things didn't seem to be moving too quickly. We were just getting ready to leave when our number was called. Got a new SIM and so we're all set to remain connected with you over the next two weeks! €20 ($28 CAD, $22 USD) for 2 GB of data, and 30 minutes talk time.

Then, a quick walk over to the Cathedral where we bypassed the huge lineup and were let in right away because we had purchased combo tickets the day before. We had made arrangements with Helen and Tony to head straight up the tower and meet there before the crowds were let in.

That's where we're the top of that tower!

Sure enough, we found the tower entrance quite easily and started the long walk up. There are no stairs...only ramps that go up each side of the interior of the tower. And there are about 35 of them! So we definitely got our morning exercise. Once at the top, we admired the views...but Helen and Tony weren't there.

Seville, Spain.

Looking down on the world's largest Gothic cathedral.

And the plaza located 96 meters below.

Sure enough, Helen and Tony arrived. And so did about 30 school kids! Man, what a zoo. Fortunately, the school group didn't stay at the top of the tower very long, and we did end up with some peace and quiet for a while until we were ready to head back down as the next school group made it to the top.

The bullring.

This is a photo of a photo that was taken in 1874.

This was taken yesterday!

Seville's only skyscraper.

Seville rooftops.

Sometimes you have to look up as well!

Today's header photo.

Exterior roof of the Cathedral.

And then it was time to head down to see the main part of the Cathedral. It's massive. And it's all a bit much, really. We are not religious, and we don't really get the whole expense and "religious bling" as Tony calls it. I'm pretty sure that some religious people don't get it either. 

However, just the fact that some of this stuff has even been built is truly amazing. 

There are about 18 of these massive columns holding the whole thing up.

The bulk of the Seville Cathedral was built between 1434 and 1517, however parts of the structure were built between 1184 and 1198 as part of an Arabic mosque.

The detail is incredible. 
You can click on any photo to make it full screen.

The organ is in two sections. 
Hard to get a decent photo of it, so I've taken a short video for you...

The pictures don't really do it justice.

You spend a lot of time looking up.

Zoomed in on one of the ceilings.

There are also quite a few side altar rooms. Some of them have been turned into display areas for various religious treasures. Again, I've taken a short video for you...

Lots of gold and silver.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus.

The remains of Christopher Columbus have been in the Seville Cathedral since 1898. Isn't that something? We were stood only a few feet away from the bones of the old explorer. His expeditions were financed by the Catholic Monarchs.

I think that's the first time we've ever paid to go inside a church. I still have mixed feelings about that, but it is what it is. If you want to see it, you have to pay. We admit that if you're in Seville, you have to see it. Totally amazing structure.

Busker on the streets of Seville.

It was almost 1:00pm when we made it out of the Cathedral. Tony and I walked back to their hotel to pick up their bags, while Ruth and Helen went straight back to Louis the motorhome. From there, we drove to the outskirts of town to a big Carrefour store to do a big grocery shop.

Then, it was a two hour drive south east to the town of Villanueva de San Juan (pop 1,400).

Scenery along the way.


Beautiful area.

It was a nice enough day, but the sun was always in some kind of haze all day, almost like it was forest fire smoke. There was never a really blue sky, but not clouds either. We're not sure what that was, but it was there all day, even in the cathedral views above.

We had booked an AirBnb in this little town. We weren't quite sure what to expect because it was only priced at €25 ($35 CAD, $27 USD) per night, plus the small AirBnb fee. And the photos weren't very good. And that price was for all four of us! The contact girl online through the listing spoke only Spanish, and she said she wouldn't be here when we arrived, but that her mother would meet us.

We arrived a few minutes before 5:00pm, and sure enough a guy came and tapped on Louis' window as we were waiting. He turned out to be Jose, the father of the girl I had been communicating with. He showed us to the apartment, and it's perfect. And, it's brand new, and it's huge! Three bedrooms (two double beds and a single) and one and a half bathrooms. And a fully equipped kitchen and laundry! Wow!

It's a brand new listing, and there were no previous reviews. We get the impression that they've priced it really low to get some reviews on, and then the price will rise during busy season. Not that this is a tourist's most definitely working class with very few tourist facilities.

What a deal! Did I mention that it's brand new??

Watched a movie (Brigitte Jones Baby, not bad) and got my phone working and set up. It's going to take some getting used to! Sure enough, there was a thing in the instructions about the five minute phone call in Spain to get it set up for use outside the region. Still can't figure why they would do that, but okay!

We had originally booked for three nights, but now we're going to stay for a full week and simply park Louis right out front. We'll do a few day trips from here, but today we're just going to enjoy the town and take a relax day.

Three different deals on "Deal of the Day" today...

And in Canada....


  1. Magnificent Cathedral- how did they ever create something so breathtaking that long ago? The Airbnb will make a nice home base. Have fun, Daytrippers!!!! BnC

    1. We are always asking ourselves this same question when we see buildings and pyramids built so long ago and without all the modern tools and technology that we have today.

      This AirBnB is going to work out amazingly well for us, so much so that we have told the owners that we will stay until we have to take Helen and Tony back to the airport next Tuesday. :-)

  2. Christopher Columbus's remains might lie in Seville, Santo Domingo also claims to have them. Neither will allow disturbance of the remains for neither will lose their tourist attraction for now. My bet is on Seville though. I learned that on an episode of Destination Unknown - they have a youtube version of it you might find interesting

    1. We have seen things like this before in our travels, like where Billy the Kid was buried! Funny when two different places argue that they are the "real" place.

      We are going to go along with believing that Christopher Columbus' remains are in the cathedral in Seville. :-)

  3. very interesting wish I was younger and have someone to travel with.

    1. Not sure of your circumstances but we see and know of many "older" travelers as well as ones that are solo travelers. We have to admit though, that it would be nice to have company rather than traveling alone. I am glad that we can at least bring some of these places to you virtually. :-)

  4. Hope your necks didn't get too sore from all that looking up! ;c)

    1. Actually they did get sore, and I am totally serious!

  5. Would love to go to the tower but know my knees would never make it, cant you just get tickets for Catheral? Where can you buy to avoid the queue?
    As usual lovely photos.

    1. The ticket for the cathedral includes the tower and to be honest there were people of all ages going up to the top of the tower. You have all day and it isn't a race so you can just take your time. Also because there aren't steps until the very last level it is much easier on the knees, I really suggest that you take your time and go to the top of the tower, it is definitely worth the work.

      There are two ways that you can avoid the queue to the cathedral, the first is to buy a combination ticket at the El Salvador Church which will have a small queue if that and you can enjoy that church then go to the cathedral where you bypass the queue and show the security guard you combination ticket and he let you through. The second way is to buy you ticket to the cathedral online beforehand and again just go to the front of the line and show the security guard and then he will let you go straight in.

  6. Update: Can you just get tickets for Catheral?

    1. Yes, you can buy your tickets to just the cathedral but in order to avoid the queue you need to buy them online beforehand and once you have then you go to the front of the line and show the security guard and then he will let you go straight in.

  7. We love exploring Cathedrals. Amazing place and great views from the top:)

    1. We do too but we are starting to get churched out! This one is definitely worth the visit even though we had to pay.

  8. Beautiful cathedral and wonderful pictures and videos. Looks like you got a great deal on the apartment looks huge! Enjoy your stay and looking forward to more pictures of your adventures. Glad you were able to get your cell phone and everything worked out!

    1. Thank you Brigitte, it was a lovely cathedral and we enjoyed our time exploring it.

      We got a fantastic deal on our apartment and yes, it is HUGE!

  9. Your new digs for the next week look great. Looking forward to more great photos and tours.

    1. We love our apartment and still can't believe the amazing deal we got on it! This definitely is a steal of a deal. The area around here is beautiful and there are lots of day trips that aren't that far away so we are looking forward to sharing them with everyone.

  10. There really are not words to describe the cathedral! It is magnificent and I'm guessing that's what people's taxes back in the day went to pay for. These amazing cathedrals were a visible statement of the wealth and power of the Church. What a great deal on the apartment. Enjoy your week!

    1. I am sure that part of their taxes way back then did go to pay for it and slave labour probably went into the building of it. It truly is beautiful and for the life of us we can't figure out how they built something this magnificent way back then.

      The apartment was a steal of a deal!

  11. I stood in Christopher Columbus' bedroom in the Dominican Republic. Talk about bringing history to life.

    Your new apartment looks kind of weird or is it just me? Very nice though.

    1. It's a pretty neat feeling isn't when you are so close to something or someone that is so historical.

      I think the only thing that might be a bit weird is that the furniture isn't so modern but other than that the apartment is great and the appliances and bathroom fixtures are all modern and the apartment is very clean. We are totally happy with things here and can't believe the great deal that we got.

  12. I wouldn't mind spending a few bucks to gawk like a tourist inside the cathedral and stand next to ol' Cristóbal Colón's bones. My gosh, could the cathedral be any grander or more magnificent?

    Hope you enjoy Villanueva de San Juan ... any particular reason you picked this town? Nice price on the AirBnB, and the apartment looks okay, nothing too fancy. Guess you'll be able to review and rate at the end of your week, huh?

    1. It is very seldom that we will pay to see the inside of a church and if we do, it has to be a reasonable price which we think the combination ticket was for both the cathedral and the El Salvador Church.

      We are loving Villanueva de San Juan and really the only reason be came here was because of the price of the AirBnB, which was the best price around the area. Some of the other places were very expensive because the area is quite popular but Villanueva de San Juan is sort of in the middle of nowhere. We are really happy with our choice though because the little town is very pretty and the people are super friendly, also we are close enough to do some day trips from here and to just do some hiking in the area itself. The apartment is better than just okay, it is great! Very new and modern other than some of the furnishings which we don't care about, we totally love it here and think we got a fantastic deal on the apartment.

  13. Looking at your comparison photo from 1874, that is what I loved about Seville - the fact that in the centre of the city, very little has changed with the buildings. They have managed to integrate new modern retail while keeping all the original facades whilst other cities have sent in bulldozers to erect huge steel and glass structures. I would rather preserve the old buildings any time.

    1. We have to totally agree with you on the fact that they have preserved the old facades and then just built new behind them. It sure keeps the city in more of it's original state and that is what lures people there. We really enjoyed visiting Seville, it is such a nice walkable city, at least the old city centre is.


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