Sunday, March 18, 2012

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

In doing our research before we moved here, one of the things we read was that driving in Sevilla was very unpleasant. I thought it was because the city drivers were wild or aggressive. Or that the rules of the road were not followed. What I found upon arrival was, surprisingly, that most drivers are actually fairly civilized and considerate. Even taxi drivers stop and let me cross the street — usually.

AUGUST (LEFT) AND AGAIN THIS PAST FRIDAY. I THINK I'LL WALK.

The real reasons driving is not recommended here: Within the old city (where we live), the streets are narrow and mostly one-way. Even drivers of small cars find it a challenge to turn into some streets, tucking their side-view mirrors in to reduce their spread. The other day, Linda and Tom counted 28 cars in a row that had ugly scrapes along their sides.

Most of the old city is off-limits to cars. Many streets only allow access to public transportation, taxis, and residents. There are large boulevards that circle the old city and then just a few narrow streets that allow access to the center. One of those ancient narrow streets leads to our plaza and then around to a public parking garage. Friday nights and Saturdays (and sometimes during the week) can be a nightmare for drivers. Our little street is sometimes backed up for hours the mere quarter-mile it travels from the river. Avoiding that street can be just as bad, since you have to circle the city to gain access.

RENTING A PINTO FROM HERTZ RENT-A-HORSE?

We're planning to rent a car for a couple of days this week for a drive down to Cádiz and interesting places along the way. We'll rent a car near the river and if we need to park it in town overnight, we'll park near the river and we'll walk. Maybe we should just get a horse.


36 comments:

  1. Mitch, I really enjoy reading your blog :) I'm a friend of Walt (he wrote about traffic today, too--you've probably seen :)) I popped over to your blog a while ago, and I always enjoy your topics and your stories and your writing (I can't believe those ceilings in the museum!). This morning, I read your posts about the knight in shining armour, and then about your wedding with Jerry -- it really made me smile, because (besides being very happy for you!), I had similar feelings and made similar comments about my recent wedding (in Novermber). We've been living together for over 20 years, and I was a bit embarrassed at first about the whole thing, too... same thoughts about it just being a piece of paper, and, OH NO! we have to think about a cake? and what to wear? and rings?? But, for me, too, it ended up being a beautiful, important, lovely day :)

    Thanks for your excellent posts :)

    Judy

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  2. Judy:
    I can't thank you enough for your very kind and wonderful comment. Congratulations on your wedding! I will definitely start paying you visits and hope you'll be a regular visitor here!

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  3. I now live in the suburbs of Detroit, but used to live in Manhattan. This whole idea of driving to everything is so strange to me. People complain about the price of gas to take their kids to school.... I say...Let them walk!
    I love it when pedestrians are going faster than cars.

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    1. Stew: I agree. I love walking. Hated feeling like I lived in my car when we lived in Vegas and Irvine. So really love Sevilla.

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  4. Hello Mitch:
    No longer owning motor cars, we rather long for the time when they are, in the main, banished from all city centres. Here the traffic is also a problem, but not on the scale which you show, and generally the streets are much wider.

    We shall look forward to hearing about your forthcoming trip.

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    1. J&L:
      I'm pleased to know we're in such good "car-less" company. This little street feeds with two other little streets into one entrance ramp into a parking garage, so easily backs up. Traffic in the rest of the city usually remains much lighter (because most people are smart enough to do without the car).

      I can't wait to explore some more of Andalucía this week and to share the experience. Thanks!

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  5. I would be a'scurred'a driving on those narrow streets.
    Plus, there's so much more to see when you walk.

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    1. Bob:
      It is funny to see the terrified expressions on the faces of some of the drivers as they try to squeeze through the tight spots. Others barrel down the streets at full-speed while we dodge their side-view mirrors.

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  6. One thing that we Americans can boast about is our wonderful broad streets and roads, often lined with sidewalks separated from traffic by a grassy boulevard. Of course, we had the advantage of building roads where no ancient structures previously existed--not that we have any aversion to bulldozing anything in the way!
    Don't get me started...

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      I'll take these ancient little streets any day!

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  7. In addition, the signage is almost illegible or absent. You are driving and expect to come to an intersection and read the name of the street so you know where you are and it just isn't there.
    I rented a car in Granada with my ninety something La Gran Dama Eloi in tow and after trying to get out of the city for over an hour I began to have an anxiety attack. It didn't help that the car had a manual transmission so I turned around and gave it back.
    After that, I refuse to drive in Spain or Portugal.
    So, if you are considering driving, kudos to you.
    I know I can't
    saludos,
    raulito

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    1. Raulito:
      The signage here for major roads is actually very good. The problem within the city, however, is that one street can change its name four times in the same number of blocks! Jerry is an amazingly competent and confident driver. We did one driving trip (from Málaga to Torrox) and he made it very relaxing. I don't know when I'll get behind the wheel!

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  8. Go Nancy go!! A whole lot of squirmin' goin' on there!! lol

    Yes, it would only make sense to walk in the old town....driving would be so frustrating and a waste of time.

    Yes sir Mitch, invest in a snappy pair of boots and away you and Jerry go!! lol

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  9. Jim:
    I enjoyed that Nancy Sinatra video more than I expected! I've already got a snappy pair of boots.

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  10. I was transfixed by the video, especially. Look at all those lovely legs! They would be seen as "chubby" nowadays. And when they turned around to shake their tushes...I saw some cellulite. And I thought...YES, GOOD.

    Mostly, though, I watched the woman in the yellowish greenish top on the far right. She was out of step! How mean of me to notice!

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    1. Maria:
      I thought the entire thing was much less "packaged" than it would be now. And, although after watching it, I think Nancy Sinatra was a better singer than I used to give her credit for, she was definitely not much of a dancer.

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  11. Tried to reply to this earlier - obviously, I cannot do it from the iPad.

    I remember you speaking of the narrow streets when you first moved to Sevilla. I'm positive that I would be unable to drive there! And once again, thanks for the memory trip with These Boots Are Made for Walking - now I have that song stuck in my head!

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    1. Carole:
      We did a little bit of a driving trip these last two days. Traveled many miles. The hardest part: the 1 mile across town!

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  12. Weren't Pinto horses the ones with the fuel tank just behind the rear number-plate, the ones that exploded if you kicked them? Ralph Nader used to drive one I think...

    Driving can be too much like a Roman chariot race sometimes - in England a lunatic chariot race with police and cameras watching for every tiny slip! I'm with you guys; traffic should be excluded from city centres (and a lot of towns too).

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    1. The Owl Wood:
      I think you're right about those Pintos... I just remember an old friend having a red one that was constantly dropping parts.

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  13. Loved the video - that takes me back a bit !!

    We have occasionally found oursleves stranded in streets like that, with no way out - usually because we got lost - and it's frightening and frustrating. It can be even worse on a motorcycle if the sun is beating down and there's no shade. I have been known to blast the wrong way up a one-way street just to get out of a traffic jam before I expired in the heat.

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    1. Jean:
      Oh, we see people all the time heading the wrong way up a one-way street (and quite often knowing exactly what they're doing). At least motorcycles can dodge the traffic; the cars in the wrong direction really muck things up. But if they followed the rules, that one-minute drive would take them a half hour around part of the city.

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  14. I am terrified of the thout of driving there...i really don't like driving even on large streets. Lol

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    1. kisatrtle:
      I don't know many people who would enjoy driving here.

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  15. It's perhaps a nice problem to have when it comes along with the beauty of the old city of Seville. You see so much more when you walk!

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    1. Kristi:
      Growing up in NY, I walked just about everywhere with my sister. When we were going to 59th Street, we would always get off at 34th Street and walk. Thanks to her love of walking, I didn't even know the subway went above 34th Street!

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  16. Cornwall is known for its narrow lanes out in the country, with high hedges and walls which terrify the visitors but not the locals! Truro narrowest streets are pedestrianised which solves the city problems. As always Seville just looks so lovely.

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    1. the cuby poet:
      So many other places for me to walk and explore!

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  17. To be hoenest I think Spanish drivers are more patient than Brits, they will give you a moment to look where you are going, or stop and check something unlike Brits who are on the horn in a nanosecond. And we still have pedestrian crossings here (Costa Blanca south) without lights and cars do stop.

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    1. Rob:
      I have been pleasantly surprised by the drivers here in Sevilla. Generally much more patient (and considerate) than American drivers in the places we've lived.

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  18. I have this ditty in my ipod. I have learned not to dance along with it ( although I know the words and the moves down pat), for it gets me queer looks.

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    1. Ur-spo:
      I think queer looks are very nice things to get. Besides, watching Nancy & Co. gets some queer looks, too. Would love to see a video of your performing it. I'll bet it would go viral on YouTube.

      Delete
  19. Hi Mitchell. Great blog! I spent a lot of time reading it over the weekend.

    My wife and I are considering staying in Seville next Dec-Jan. Would I be able to email you for advice? Send me an email at adam@littleearthquake.com if you can. Many thanks.

    Adam - Brooklyn, NY

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    1. Adam:
      Thanks so much for visiting. I will definitely write.

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  20. It's about all dem dames squirming all over the floor....horny or whaT!? Enjoy Cadiz...looking frwd to your trip!

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    1. Sophie/Ron: Great trip. Just posted the first half. Thanks!!!

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