It’s astounding how quickly time has flown by. A few days from now will mark our one year anniversary living in Seville. To me, it seems like we have only been here for a few weeks. Our lease is coming up for renewal and we had to decide whether to hang around for another year or search for our next destination. After going back and forth on the matter, we have finally made a decision. Here are some reasons why we are staying in Seville, our adopted and much-loved city.
Why we are staying in Seville:
Seville is Awesome:
How can you not love Seville? The city is so chock full of history. It is the capital of Andalusia. It has a rich cultural heritage, dating back to Moorish rule and the Almohad dynasty. All one has to do is look at places like the Alcazar and the awe-inspiring Sevilla Cathedral and the Giralda. Seville is also home to Flamenco. We have barely scratched the surface of the city. We still have to attend a proper flamenco show for instance (street performers aside :-) ), not to mention the various museums that are plentiful. It would suck to leave before we have fully discovered neighborhoods like Triana, Macarena, and Barrio Santa Cruz (love this area) with the tiny, narrow streets.
Day trips from Seville:
There are lots of wonderful cities that are close by to Seville still to be explored. So far, we have only been to Santiponce and Carmona. Other places we would like to visit include Cordoba, Granada, Jerez, Cadiz. The list goes on and on. All these places are beautiful and unique and will add to our Spanish experience. We want to stop taking them for granted :-) . We have traveled to so many countries outside of Spain in our one year here, and have been neglecting our own backyard so to speak. We want to rectify that ;-) .
The bigger backyard:
In addition to the above day trips, we would also like to visit other Spanish cities like Valencia, Bilbao, Barcelona (again! :-) ), Madrid (again!), Palma de Mallorca and etc..etc. Thanks to a pretty good train system (Renfe), it is possible to do these trips as an alternative to flying. We didn’t want to leave, then have to fly back down to visit if that makes sense. Spain is such a huge country, l am beginning to doubt if one more year will be enough :-) .
The biggest backyard:
I am referring to Portugal specifically. At one point, we had considered making that our next country to settle in for a bit and had planned on an exploration trip. Seville is about a two-hour drive from Faro, in the Algarve region of Portugal. Our plan was to drive down and do an epic road trip down the coast and up to Lisbon to get a feel. It was supposed to happen this past summer, but then we ended up having guests and it got pushed back. We hope to finally do it this year.
We like our little town:
This l think was the most important reason why we have decided to stay one more year. We have settled into a comfortable routine. Our suburb is about fifteen miles from the center of Seville. There are some days admittedly that l wish it was closer to the city center or more convenient to the Metro. As it is, we have to drive about 10 minutes to the Metro stop where the city provides free parking, then we take the one and only metro line available in Seville to the center. The trains run every 6 minutes like clockwork. The center is structured to discourage driving and so many of the metro stops have parking lots to leave your car, which works out great. Sometimes, l think it would be exciting to live right in the middle of the action, but that is usually a fleeting feeling as l only have to think of the noise pollution (constant tourists.. haha! ironic ;-) ), the tightness, small apartments, the not so pleasant smell of dog pee, and poop! You still see it here, but definitely not as much. People just do not pick up after their dogs! Urgh!!! We are basically home bodies too. Federico loves to cook. I have mentioned before how his cooking is way better than most restaurants (lucky me!). We don’t feel the need to go out constantly, thereby saving money accidentally ;-) . Money that we in turn put towards our travel expenses.
We like our rental house:
We have neighborhood places to eat at, close by supermarkets too. We walk in the mornings and say hello to the neighbors we see. I obviously stand out as the only black person in town, but l have never encountered any problems. They just assume l speak Spanish till l start speaking gibberish and motioning..haha.. I’ll get there someday! I practice at the grocery store and restaurants but it is slow progress. I listen to the sermon in church and then have Federico fill in the blanks for me afterwards. In the end, we are renewing our lease instead of moving like l had wanted. There were little things that annoyed me about this house, and my answer was to move. Federico, usually a hot head, actually has the ability to see things clearly. He asked what they were. I see now that they were really little things.
- No shower curtain. I’ve hated that from day one, we even bought one of those suction rod things that fell off after a few days.
- The gas heater ignition wasn’t working right. We had to turn on the canister manually, wait 30 seconds then ignite. You had to also remember to turn it off as it leaked a little gas and smelled.
- The mosquito nets were not fixed to the windows. They just rested on the frames with gaps. True, flies don’t get in, but those freaking wall geckos did. I am terrified of nasty little things and have woken him from deep sleep at like 3AM to kill them, not to mention what l have broken trying to run away from them :-)
He called the landlord, explained that we would like to renew, but these were what l didn’t like. Fast forward 2 days later, we have a new heater, and a shower curtain installed. The guy ordered new nets and will fix them properly to the windows, definitely before the weather warms up and the salamanders return. A fix of roughly $250 at the most. We even offered to split the cost and he declined. Moving out would have cost us 1 month fee to the agent (here, the renter pays), plus 2 months deposit and moving costs. Easily $2500 minimum out the window right off the bat. We like the landlord, and really like the house. It costs us $665 per month currently. It has a pool for those hot summer days, plenty of space for the dogs. Added bonus of a well :-), which brings our water bill down to roughly $25 per month. We love spending time in it. I think the fact that we are homeowners who have renters (sometimes big PITA) prevented me from bringing these minor fixes up. The landlord is thrilled that we will be staying since we are awesome ;-) and was happy to fix the things. Free standing chalets around here like this one rent for between $820-$1700 monthly, without pools too for the most part. We lucked out!. It didn’t make sense to pay more money to be in the same area. It is not a sexy neighborhood, just a typical pueblo with a mix of locals, both poor working class (in flats) and rich people with humongous houses behind walled gates). If we were moving, it would be to someplace new entirely. Glad l listened to him. In the past, l have listed our cost of living here in a previous post. It is quite affordable for us, so there is no rush to give it up. Our cable bill is now half as we no longer have the soccer package (they stopped showing his Italian League broadcasting).
These are just some of the reasons why we are staying in Seville for one more year. We will re-evaluate this decision in a year and make a decision as to where our next destination will be. We like to call ourselves sssllloooww travelers :-). In the meantime, we will keep taking our other little trips. We are not backpackers with a constant need to move. We like having a base from which to explore. With ten suitcases and two dogs, we are not gallivanting all over the place :-) . In the end, our decision to stay wasn’t that hard.
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How about you? Have you ever had to make a decision like this? Did your wanderlust win out or did you do the sensible thing? Feel free to share.