Travel to Sevilla

Wednesday, May 1st: I left early for the airport and ended up at the gate about 2 hours before the flight was scheduled to leave. According to the sign, it was expected to be delayed by 5 minutes. I hope that is correct, but it seems odd that they would indicate a 5 minute delay with 2 hours lead time. In fact, the plane ended up leaving about 1 hour late due to a thunderstorm that appeared right about the time we were supposed to start boarding.

Although the leg room was ok, I found the seat quite uncomfortable and was unable to get any real sleep on the way to Madrid.

Above the Atlantic

Arrival in Sevilla

Thursday, May 2nd: It was Thursday morning by the time the plane arrived in Madrid. Since I had a 4 hour connection, the delay didn't cause me any problems. Immigration was quite quick and customs almost non-existent. It's not like coming in to the US. But I had a problem. Where was my flight?

The boarding pass just said HJK rather than giving a gate. I followed the signs to the underground train for HJK and baggage claim. The fact that different times were given to get to the H, J, and K gates was kind of worisome. I found out that the H, J, and K gates are in a line and it reflects walking distance from the arrival points.

I found my flight on the monitor, and it said “HJK”. It turned out that the gate was not assigned yet. Unfortunately, I didn't find any monitors with public seating nearby (one was near a restaurant). In the end, I returned to a centrally located monitor and stood there until a gate was assiged (K-87, down a the far end). It's a poor design for passengers (reminds me of Heathrow). It could be intentional as a method to force you to visit the many stores.

The flight to Sevilla was short, only about a hour. We left a few minutes late due to congestion, and arrived a few minutes late. I soon had my other bag, which arrived in another almost non-existant customs area. Then it was a short walk to the taxis and a ride to the hotel. The hotel seems nice, and has a great location on the Plaza de la Santa Cruz.

El Rocio
Plaza de la Santa Cruz

I saw two bird species on the way to the hotel: Eurasian Collared-Dove and Rock Pigeon (mostly looking very domesticated). I also saw some birds that may have been Spotless Starlings, but I can't tell for sure.

I checked in around 2 or so, an excellent time for a siesta! But not before noticing House Sparrows outside the hotel and even on the balcony railing. A few hours later, I was rested enough to go for a walk. The hotel is located in the old city, a short distance from the Alcazar and the Cathedral. I walked by both.

Cathedral La Giralda
Cathedral La Giralda

Since it was around 5 when I started, it was too late to be visiting many of the sites. The Alcázar was open, and had a long line. I'll go there tomorrow. Since, it was interesting walking around the old town. Somehow, I kept enough of a sense of direction in the maze of narrow old streets to find my way back to the hotel without using the iPhone.

I found Eurasian Wren and Eurasian Blackbird in the gardens by the Alcazar. I walked some more, then ended up stopping at an outdoor cafe outside the hotel to get something to eat. Common Swifts whirled overhead as a ate. By the time I was done, it was after 8 and I returned to my room. I'll have the whole day tomorrow for sight-seeing.

So far, I've seen six species of bird on this trip.

Hotel Rey Alfonso X, Sevilla