On the 5th of September the pocket monster and I set off to Stanstead Airport to fly to Seville airport. For this holiday we took a backpack each, the rough guide to Spain, some internet research, a Spanish phrase book and decided to play the holiday pretty much by ear. We had a plan to what we wanted to do but we could change it at anytime which we did along the way.

We had booked 2 nights accommodation in Seville, the only accommodation we pre-booked, so that we did not have to walk around Seville at 10pm at night when we arrived trying to find somewhere to stay for the night. So we arrived at Hostel Paco’s, dumped our bags, quickly changed as it was extremely hot and the travelling clothes were not light enough, and headed out for the night.

We wandered towards the river and found a restaurant. Once we looked at the menu we realised that we had no idea what any of it was. Despite consulting the phrase book neither of us could fathom the menu and in the end settled for McDonalds next door as the menu is thankfully universal!

From there we headed to the river to find some bars. We found 2 good ones. One Turkish feeling one and the other played great dance music which fitted the scene well. In the second bar we also discovered tinto de verano, red wine with fanta lemon. Very drinkable and a great refreshing drink in the heat.

Thursday was a day of sight seeing and checking out all the architecture and landmarks Seville had to offer. The Alcazar was an amazing place. The gardens seemed endless. The other notable place we visited was the Plaza Espana. Sadly there was an absence of water which normally flows around the plaza and makes for an impressive fountain in the centre.

In the evening we went in search of some nightlife. The square that was the night life capital according to the Rough Guide appeared to be consumed by road works and everything looked closed. So we wandered around and found another square that was pretty lively. There only appeared to be two very small bars but the square was teeming with people. So a few more tinto de veranos and we were sat people watching for the rest of the night.

On Friday we headed down to Cadiz. After getting on the smallest bus ever, we got to the train station and with very poor Spanish I managed to get us 2 tickets to Cadiz, one way. After wandering around for a while on arrival we managed to find a hostel with a room for the night, so dumped our bags and headed for the amazing looking beaches we had passed on the way in on the train. The beaches were amazing and stretched for miles. We didn’t stray too far from the town centre and set up camp next to a bar. After a while two lads with Spanish guitars sat down next to us and we were treated to acoustic versions of some classic songs.

Once the tide had disappeared and the sun began to set, we went to the supermarket to grab some bits to keep us going over the weekend and reduce the food bill, and headed into the town for the night for some food and to find the night life.

We wondered down to the beach in the town but unfortunately we had missed the sunset by the time we got there. After eating in a wonderful fish restaurant, we wandered around in search of some lively bars. After a while we gave up and settled for the bottle of wine we had bought earlier at the supermarket and a few games of cards (Sh*thead to be precise).

Saturday we decided to head across on the ferry to El Puerto Santa Maria to see what was over there not before we checked out the Roman ruins of an amphitheatre and fish salting factory. Once in El Puerto we decided to head to the beach as the tourist office was shut so we couldn’t get a map to see what else was about. The beach was a fair walk from the dock and by the time we had eaten and got onto the beach, the clouds had rolled in and wind had picked up so we ended up heading back to the dock to catch the ferry back to Cadiz.

On the way back we met Olaf, a guy from Norway who lives in Spain. We got chatting and parted ways once in Cadiz. We caught up with him again on the beach in the town to watch the sunset before he had to catch a train back to Jerez. We headed into town and grabbed a pizza before embarking on finding the night life. Next to us in the restaurant were a group of Americans so I asked them were the bars were. On their directions we took off in search of the bars. When we got to the area, it was deserted. Everywhere looked closed. We walked around for ages but we only found one bar that was open. After spending time in there we went off in search of a rock bar we had seen earlier in the day. We wandered round for a while and eventually found it – only problem was it wasn’t open for another hour. So we went back to the other bar until it opened.

We headed back to the Rock bar once it opened. When we asked for tinto de verano the barmaid asked if we wanted English glasses. Looking puzzled we said yes and were worried when she put to pint tankers on the bar. A few hours later, some great tunes from the likes of Led Zepplin, Iron Maiden, and metallica, and more drinks than I can remember, we were well on our way to drunkenness. We emerged from the bar into what appeared to be a parallel universe. The street was buzzing with life and bars had appeared from no where. Signs adorned the walls and music filled the air. Only trouble was we had drunk too much and wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed so instead of sampling Cadiz’s fantastic night life, we ended up going back to the hostel to bed.

Our Sunday in Cadiz involved doing walking around the Castle historic route in the town. Half way round we got fed up and decided to take the bus down to Victoria Beach and chill out for the rest of the day. We attempted to find a Frisbee but eventually gave up and headed for the beach bar instead. It was a pretty uneventful day on the beach. In the evening we had considered going to the football until we noticed it was 45 euros each (£30)! We figured it was a bit expensive for a football team that was as far as we knew a local team in one of the lower leagues. We later found out that they are in the league below La Liga and had an attendance at the match of just shy of 20,000 despite only having three stands completed!

Instead in the evening we opted for the local bars again. As it was Sunday though, not much was open so we found a nice bar and had a few drinks in there before heading back to the hotel for more cards.

It was an early start on Monday to catch the bus to Conil. However when we got to the bus station we realised that the timetable we had been looking at was for the weekend rather than in the week so we had an hour and a half wait for the bus.

Upon arrival in Conil we were accosted in the street by a Spanish lady who didn’t speak a word of English. From the vague Spanish I had picked up I figured out that she had a room to let, would we like to look at it. So we followed her round some back streets and she showed us a small home. It had a bedroom, living room, bathroom and small kitchen. The one thing that was appealing to me was the fridge as I saw it as another way to save some money. With the aid of the phrase book, we managed to negotiate the price down to 35 euros a night (what we had paid in Cadiz for a room and shared bathroom). Bargain!

Bags dumped, Frisbee finally found in small shop, we headed to the expansive beach. The beach was huge and provided a great view of the town. We stayed for hours playing Frisbee and generally chilling out watching some of the body boarders and various other games taking place on the beach.

The evening kicked off with a torrential downpour and the much talked about night life in the rough guide appeared to have finished the weekend before we arrived. Undeterred we headed to the main square and found a lively bar with the most random music selection (Lighthouse family followed by 99 Red Balloons followed by Blue) but eventually settled into dance/r’n’b music for the remainder of our time there. We were completely confused when the DJ played Let’s get it started in here by the Black Eyed Peas only the lyrics were ‘Let’s get retarded in here’ (apparently this is the album version). A few drinks here and then we headed back to our apartment for cards and rest.

The weather took a turn for the worse on Tuesday. We woke to an overcast sky so opted to head to Vejer, a town with spectacular views. There wasn’t much there apart from the views so we eventually headed back to Conil. Luke had a siesta while I sat and read in the living room. Once awake again, we headed down to the beach but the weather was even worse than it had been in the morning so we took an extended walk in the hope it might clear a bit before we arrived down on the beach. On our travels we found where all the bars in the town were located so we knew were to head in the evening.

Eventually we arrived on the beach but a storm was brewing and the sky had become pretty dark. We decided to watch the storm out on the beach until it started to spit with rain. We wandered back to a bar on the beach but before going in tried to capture the lightning storm going on around us. We had been discussing earlier in the day how close you can get to lightning without dying. Whilst taking picture a bolt of lighting went across the sky directly above my head and I felt it go over my head in the same way if something flies past you at close range you feel it. In my mind I had got as close to lightning as I ever want to so we took refuge in the bar and watched the remainder of the storm.

Later in the evening once the rain had stopped and we had managed to head back to the apartment, we walked around the town to see what else was about. Turned out, not much. Whilst walking near the beach again, it started raining again. This time was impressive. Water was gushing round everywhere and the roads were turning into mini rivers. There is a video on my facebook page for those of you who are signed up to facebook. Once the rain had stopped and we had eaten we went in search of the nightlife. None of the bars were open in the road we had walked down early in the day but we did find a little cocktail bar. In there we met Louis and Chev, two lads from Malaga. Chev was originally from Holland and spoken almost fluent English whereas Louis spoke very little English. Yet between the four of us we had a good conversation. After a while we headed up to the road with all the bars as some had started to open. Eventually we ended up back in the same bar from the previous night before hitting the sack.

Despite our original plan to stay 3 nights in Conil, because of the weather we decided to make an additional stop in Jerez. We caught the bus to Cadiz and then another back out to Jerez. We found a room straight away and wandered round the town taking in the sights. In the evening we headed for a Tapas restaurant with an excellent reputation. We ordered from the Spanish menu after cross checking it with the English section in order to continue practicing our Spanish but the fish section wasn’t in the right order so we ended up with Cuttlefish instead of Dogfish. To my surprise it was actually quite nice but it will always be budgie food to me!

Later that night we wandered to a local bar where we got talking to a guy called Pablo. He had lived just outside of London for 6 months so also spoke very good English. When the bar shut he took us to another bar hidden in Jerez’s backstreets. It was a great place with a live jazz band. The only downfall was the smoke. It made me realise why I really appreciate the smoking ban over here now. We left after a while as I couldn’t hack the smoke which was a shame as it was a great little place.

On Thursday morning we took the bus back to Seville. We grabbed the cheapest room of the holiday so far at 30 euros for the night. For the rest of the day we went souvenir shopping. It is here we found Toro el Toro. Toro is now our new holiday mascot. The evening was relatively chilled as we wandered round the town. There are hundreds of wedding shops in Seville. Out of all of the dresses in the window, this was the best one. We ended up in an arcade for some of the evening playing on one of the shooting games. That was great fun! After buying some sweets for the office, we headed back to the square we had been in the last time we were in Seville for a few drinks. We were not there for long due to the fact we had an early-ish flight in the morning.

And there you have it. My first travelling holiday. I have to admit that I will never do a holiday any other way now. All I need when I go abroad now is my backpack, a phrase book, and a rough guide. Oh and a certain pocket monster!


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