The lyrics from the singer, sounded more like howls from a perverted cat. The thunderous clatter of Flamenco steps. The robust dancer in a red Spanish dress. We didn't pay to get in, but the price of admission seemed to be the pain in my head. At intermission, we left.
Out into the narrow Seville streets. Past an empty bottle, then a smashed orange. I began to remember the night before.
I’d been hostel hoping across Spain for 19 days. And while I’d gotten of to a strong social start, in the second half, I found myself turning down invitations. “I’m going to a language exchange; would you like to join? “You should come check out this Halloween party at my hostel!” I kept opting to wander the streets alone instead. I was getting burnt out on the monotony of the perpetual open end. But with just two nights left, I found a sense of urgency, if only slight, and a motivation through two new friends.
During the day I’d met up with that girl from Barcelona. The one from Workaway. She’d messaged me. We strolled the gardens of the Alcazar. I tried to imagine it as the set of Dorne.
There was a dullness to that muddy fall sky. The leaves were dying. Winter was indeed coming. The mood wasn’t quite right.
Back at the Hostel, I contemplated calling it an early(er) night. But instead forced myself to give “Free Sangria at 7” a try. The girl at the front desk, and a guy behind a bowl of fruit filled wine, were the only ones on the terrace, when I arrived. I accepted a cup and hurriedly sipped. “You want another my friend?” The Columbian volunteer offered while pouring one for himself. I agreed. Another backpacker arrived.
“I’m from Australia, but I’ve been traveling across Europe for the past ten months.” She said. We talked about where we’d been and what we’d done. I was amazed at how comparatively short my trip had been.
“Hola amigos!” Another guy walked in. “De donde eres?” He asked me. “The United States” I said. I’d become increasingly hesitant to try their language.
He transitioned to British English and laughed. A hobbyist of languages, Ethan had studied Spanish in Columbia, French in Paris, and German in Berlin. He’d come to Sevilla to become fluent, in just two weeks. “That’s it!” “Travel with purpose!”. Listening to his story sparked the thought. I contemplated ideas for future trips, while replenishing the cup.
Upon squeezing to return to my seat, it occurred to me. Through the course of my conversations I’d failed to realize that the table had filled in. To my right, two girls and two guys. Two more in front of me. At the counter to my left, a few backpack clad travelers, checking in.
Talk about Cambodia, Workaway, Hostels, experiences. The 35-year-old Austrian, the 18-year-old high school kid. Two Americans my age. The first I’d met in weeks.
The bowl reached an end, and a group gathered to go out. I was tired from the day. I’d had enough. Bed.
Next to a sharply dressed Spanish man, about 65 if I had to guess, I sat with my journal at the table in the bay. The smell of rain met my coffee, as I recapped another day. Somewhere toward the end, my friends from New Hampshire rolled in.
“What are you guys up to today?” I asked them. "We’re planning to go check out the cathedral once this rain stops.” Mike said. “Is it cool if I join?” I persisted. “Yeah, for sure dude.” He said. Into the freshly bathed streets we went.
I’d seen a lot of places on this trip. Everything was beautiful. I’d always wanted to visit Europe. Yet it somehow managed to exceed my expectations. But, aside from catching the Eiffel tower at sunset, La Catedral de Sevilla was my second monumental source of amazement.
At a corner store, we each bought 40’s. 1 euro 50. Down an empty stone street, we walked toward the canal. There, we sat sipping and discussing our trips as the rowers and tours scrolled past the Venetian scene. They talked about their Croatian road trip. About partying in Split.
A pub crawl was mentioned. We walked along the canal as the sun set. Just barely catching Plaza de Espana as it turned golden. Another breathtaking monument. The city’s filled with them.
Some chicken, a loaf of bread, a bag of salad mix. We split the ticket. 2 euro each. Back in the kitchen, we rushed to finish our beers before progressing toward two more cups of free sangria. We found a pub crawl that began at ten.
On our way out to the uber, I intercepted a girl from check in, convincing her to come with.
Another view of the still city, sparkling yellow from the streets. “All you can drink mojitos” for the first hour. Carefully, I walked the line, as the lights threatened to blur.
At the bar, I ran into a guy I’d chatted with at my first hostel nearly three weeks prior. My third cross country encounter. Small world.
The Aussie girl who’d joined us from our hostel was loud. I switched my interests to the quiet dark-haired German at the bar. “I’ll get you a drink.” I offered, as if I was doing her a favor. Outside, we kept our conversation going toward the second spot on the crawl.
The promoter passed out shots upon entry. I could barely take mine. I lost focus on the girl and joined Mike and Joe in the beer pong line. Watching Spaniards play beer pong was like watching a middle school dunk contest. They reached halfway across the table, but still couldn’t make a shot.
The ball bounced all over the place. My mind did too. Through the window, I saw the “pizza” sign. A slice wasn’t enough. I added a falafel gyro to the mix.
No wi-fi, no friends, no service. I took a peak at the map without success. I headed out into the streets, gyro as defense, and hoped for the best.
With an empty wrapper in the empty streets, I skipped and ran and stumbled toward a direction unknown. A few empty bottles. Not a single person. After what felt like an hour, I spotted the park.
The spot with the Plaza served as an oasis of direction. A familiar place to reference. I snatched an orange from a citrus tree and triumphantly launched it into the streets.
The common area was empty, and the hallway was dark. Against all odds, I found that bottom bunk.
“Tomorrow I leave Seville. The next day, I leave Spain."