Southern Man

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Spanish Inquisition Day 14

Long bus ride from Seville to Madrid - long walk to clear my head and pick up a few caches - not much more to say right now.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Spanish Inquisition Day 13

Today the bus ride was relatively brief - fifteen km or so out of town (but on a city bus that made many stops) to Itálica, a second-century Roman outpost that was left high and dry when the Guadalquivir River shifted its course due to silation after the removal of forest cover. Without a water supply the city was abandoned and no new settlement was constructed, leaving a remarkably well-preserved site.

Danni and Professor Ginnet are dwarfed by the amphitheater.

Travel bug "Little Roswell" surveys the amphitheater from on high.

And why was Little Roswell out and about? Oh, checking on a geocache at the site? Of course he was.

Danni signs the log.

Southern Man and Danni man the chariot.

The trip is winding down and Southern Man still has a big bag of travel bugs because almost all of the caches he's found are small so after we got back to the hostel he hiked a mile across the river to the largest cache he could find on the map and was able to leave four of the small ones there and got back just in time for dinner.

Our last feast together!

Tonight we pack and tomorrow morning we catch an early bus to Madrid for our last full day in Spain!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spanish Inquisition Day 12

Today we (again) took a two-hour bus ride to (again) go to the beach. This time it was the island resort of Cádiz.

Geocaches? In Cádiz? Why, yes. Yes there are.

Old Cádiz (like Old Madrid and Old Córdoba and Old Granada and Old Seville) is a maze of twisty passages, all alike...

Southern Man used the phrase "¿Dónde estamos en este mapa?" a lot today.

Southern Man spent a fair amount of time walking the beaches and admiring what he regards as the most beautiful of God's handiwork. Of course he didn't stare - that would be rude. He did glance a lot, though.

Baby Roswell and Norma at a cache right off the beach.

There were a couple of absolutely fantastic old trees near the spot where we met.

As the appointed time for departure approached we began to gather...

The group (again) plays a little beach volleyball.

Once back home Southern Man was nearing the hostel when he stumbled across a charity festival where delicious freshly-grilled meat and beer could be had!


Working the grill.

A delicious dinner.

Southern Man took his meal to the hostel and ate it and showered and updated the blog and is now plotting a day trip. We went by the bus station after we returned but they were already closed so it'll be a matter of showing up in the morning and hoping for the best...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spanish Inquisition Day 11

Today was, hands down, the most physically demanding of the trip - a waterfall tour that required several miles of walking through sometimes-iffy terrain and taking us from the mountaintop into the valley and back up again, immediately followed by a trip up, up, up to the very top of Grenada to view the cave houses and the sunset.

The tour didn't start until late morning so Southern Man got out early and picked up a couple of geocaches, both in lovely old churches.

At the Basílica de La Virgen de las Angustias. The cache was a magnet hidden in the iron planter.

And now for the waterfall tour. It was absolutely spectacular and there is no way that photos can do it justice.

Not that we didn't try. That's Carrin and Christian; Southern Man took over a hundred pics himself.

Crossing a long suspension bridge.

The tour proper begins here.

Another long suspension bridge with a waterfall underneath.

They warned us that the path was not easy in places...

Walking a high long ridgeline that was straight out of Lord of the Rings. Well, not straight out but that was what we were all thinking.

Several hours after crossing that long suspension bridge with the waterfall beneath, we finally came all the way around to visit that waterfall.

And at the end of that long and winding road and drink!

Refilling our water bottles one last time at la fuente de muerte.

The waterfall tour took far longer than we had anticipated so once the bus got us back into Granada we immediately headed uphill to meet our guide for the Cave Tour.

Some of the "cave homes" high above the city.

The City of Granada and the Cave Homes don't really see eye to eye. These homes were bulldozed a few months ago.

The folks up here have a fairly strong opinion about their relationship to the city below. Photo by Danni.

Waiting for the sunset...

Our vantage point was well above The Alhambra.

Geocaches were found...

And then our exhausted band hit the first open cafe we saw and ate and drank and eventually made it home to our beds after an exhausting but thrilling day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spanish Inquisition Day 10

This morning we bid a fond farewell to Granada and hopped on the bus for a four-hour drive to Seville.

Once there we settled into the hostel (not bad, we four guys have our own room and our own bathroom in the hall but coded to our room key card) and it's right off a nice common area with kitchen so Southern Man is a happy camper.

It's finally Danni's birthday!

We then took off to meet up with our guide but Old Seville (like Old Madrid and Old Córdoba and Old Granada) is a maze of twisty passages, all alike...

So where is it you think we are?

We then met our guides, Mara (short for Mariá) and Dani (short for Daniel). Danni (short for Danielle) was highly amused by this. Mara was the designated Spanish-language tour and she is also cute so Southern Man joined her group.

Mara in front of the stunning Seville Cathedral.

Much to Southern Man's delight there were two geocaches right on the tour route so he and Danni grabbed them both.

The second was right where the group stopped to hear the story of a Jewish girl who fell in love with a Catholic soldier. Her family was killed because of her naïve love (at that time and place Jews and Muslims were required to convert to Christianity, on pain of death) and she is said to have hung herself after the murders. Las Cadenas indicates ‘Chains’ from where she hung herself. A plaque and (supposedly) her skull are present at her home.

The tour ended at the magnificent Plaza de España...

...where Mara revealed that a bit of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was filmed here!

How it looked on film...

...and Southern Man managed to get a pic of the corridor himself.

We ended the day with dinner and a celebration of Danni's 21st birthday!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spanish Inquisition Day 9

We have a lot to do today but we don't meet the guide until eleven so Southern Man slipped out to pick up a couple of nearby geocaches.

The first was near the Basílica de La Virgen de las Angustias...

...and the second, near the Iglesia Imperial de San Matías.

And then began the most strenuous and physically-demanding day of the trip (so far) - beginning with a bus ride to a river valley where we would walk up the mountain and down into the valley and back up the mountain. Christian called it the "Waterfall Tour" but it proved to be much, much more. Pictures don't do it justice but Southern Man shot about eighty anyway...

Looking into the valley. The sound of rushing water was omnipresent.

Walking the path by the canals.

Everyone else took lots of pics too. That's Carrin (Christian's girlfriend) and Christian.

Up, up, up we go!

...and as soon as we got back to town (far behind schedule) there was no time to even drop by the hostel so we walked straight to the plaza to meet with our guide and again walked up the hills to a peak overlooking the city..l.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spanish Inquisition Day 8

Our morning began with an hour-long bus ride to Nerja for a day at the beach. We hopped off the bus and Southern Man was first to the shoreline to wet his sandaled feet in the blue waters of the Mediterranean.

And then everyone went to a nearby cafe to eat.

We split up according to our interests and of course Southern Man went after the only geocache in town.

Travel Bug "Little Roswell" perched on a cannon at the Balcón de Europa (Balcony of Europe).

The cache was near this statue of King Alfonso XII, who may (or may not) have given the Balcón de Europa its name.

Playing on the beach.

And after our mid-afternoon return the others went shopping but Southern Man did a little geocaching and showered and ate and just generally cursed at the crappy wi fi relaxed at the hostel. Tomorrow is our last full day in Granada and it will be a full one indeed!