This is the story of a man who knew how much his wife loved city breaks, so he arranged a few days in Seville as a birthday treat.
The man and his wife packed what they needed into 2 rucksacks and flew off to enjoy some winter sun.
They enjoyed lots of Spanish food:
Trying stuffed peppers and yucca - like fibrous potato, since you ask!
They had the best sangria:
They saw Seville's amazing Gothic Cathedral:
Admired the weather vane depicting Faith:
Paid their respects at the tomb of Christopher Columbus:
....and climbed La Giralda - to see the bells and admire the best view of the city:
This was as close as they wanted to get to the bull ring:
On their first evening, they watched a Flamenco show and were astounded by the guitarists and the dancers in all their foot stamping, finger clicking, syncopated hand clapping, castanet playing glory:
They wished they too lived in a climate where you could grow lemons, oranges and grapefruit outside:
On their second day, the man and his wife visited the Royal Alcazar, a Moorish Palace built for King Peter with fountain-filled gardens, ornate arches and 16th century tiles.
They admired the peacocks in the English garden:
.......and enjoyed watching the fish:
After lunch, they walked to the Parque de Maria Luisa and took a ride in a carriage:
They enjoyed the street entertainer who did incredible things with a silver orb:
...... and they admired the architecture of the Plaza de Espana:
They reminisced about seeing Carmen as they walked by the Tobacco Factory, now part of Seville's University:
Ate more incredible food at a surprisingly cheap, Michelin starred restaurant with a huge vegan selection. Sadly, the wife had left her camera back at their hotel!
They crossed the river once more and walked along the bank to the Torre del Oro, a once defensive tower built around 1220:
They were serenaded by a guitarist:
As it was their last day, they had already checked out of their hotel. The man's bag, which had disappeared, contained his laptop and phone (for he had been doing some work at the hotel in the evenings), their house and car keys, and (more importantly) their passports.
The man and his wife went to the police station to report the theft and were given an official form with reference number which would supposedly allow them to travel home. They found this to be false when, after waiting for two and a half hours at the airport, they were not allowed to board. The form would have allowed them to travel anywhere else in Europe, but as the UK is outside the Schengen Area, they couldn't go home.
An airport official explained that they would have to obtain emergency passports from the Consulate. Sadly, there was no Consulate in Seville, the nearest one was in Malaga a 2 hour train journey away. The unhappy, shocked, shaking pair made their way to the train station, only to be told that the last train to Malaga that day had already left. So, they checked into the nearest hotel and set about applying for emergency passports online. They blessed the male receptionist who kindly took their photos and a photo of the police report, and emailed it to the man who used the hotel computer to attach them to the relevant forms.
The next day, they caught the 8am train to Malaga and located the Consulate. After passing through security,they were shown into a small room. On the wall was a large portrait of the Queen. On seeing this, the wife nearly wept through sheer relief as it was so reassuring. Their emergency passports were ready and waiting, so they thanked everyone profusely, blew a kiss to her Majesty, and took a taxi to Malaga airport where they were able to purchase 2 tickets for a flight home.
On arrival, the wife was so grateful to be home that she nearly emulated the Pope by kissing the tarmac.
The sting in the tail, was that because their car keys had been stolen, they had to leave their car at the airport and drive home (1 1/2 hours away) in a hire car to retrieve a spare key. The AA would only have been able to help 2 days later and it would have cost nearly £300. The following day, they made the return journey to rescue it.