As we sit in the sun in Salamanca, our Spanish story steers toward a sojourn in Sevilla. (Thanks to some subtle alliteration, you barely even noticed the gap since the last blog post).
Worth knowing if you're relying on campsites for accommodation: there aren't any in Sevilla. So where else does one go in these desperate times? Not AirBnB, not Booking.com, hell not even a random car park (more on that in the next post!). No - you go to the hometown of Los Del Rio, the geniuses behind the Macarena. Welcome, to Dos Hermanas. It means 'Two Sisters'. It's like they knew we were coming.
The lady at the reception desk wasn't under any disillusion that we were in Dos Hermanas for some sort of Macarena history tour. She thrust the bus timetable and map into our hands and sent us on our merry way to Sevilla. And for €1.65 each, we realised that perhaps this was the way to conquer cities on our travels without forcing Karen to navigate ancient street designs.
The bus was 15 minutes late. Not off to a good start, but we just put it down to 'siesta'. And then the locals kicked off, including a teenager who took to admonishing the bus driver, demanded a late slip and corralled the other passengers as witnesses to his inculpable tardiness.
From the moment we stepped off the bus, we were transported from the cement-inspired bus depot of Dos Hermanas into a land of history, gardens, beauty and imposing architecture. Only in Sevilla can you feel such a chilled out vibe amongst a people fuelled by the fires of flamenco.
If we had visited Sevilla when we were contributing members of society, we would have gone on a pub crawl, ate anywhere we pleased and stayed in a fancy hotel. We've already covered the reality of our accommodation. When it came to eating and drinking, never have we been so pleased to stumble upon a school fundraiser.
The concept was simple. Free entry and a cheeky raffle where everyone wins a prize. For €2 a ticket, you could win a beer, a burger or even some chips. Then once you've claimed your prize, sit back and enjoy listening to the Grade 4 teacher belt out one Andalusian hit after the other, while observing the sexual tension between the parents play out as they dance the Sevillanas (think flamenco-charged line dancing).
All this flamenco fire got us right in the mood for the real thing. The Casa de la Guitarra gave us the intimate setting we needed to be up close and personal with syncopated heel stamping, impossible guitar playing, and haunting gypsy cantatas. To top it all off, I swear our flamenco dancer was actually a moody Kathy Griffin with black hair.