Vamos a Sevilla

And then, with a bang – almost as if the Weather Gods were paying attention to our puny human calendars – it is May and suddenly there as proper warmth in the air. The hare has gone from sitting looking hunched and miserable in the wind to stretching out sparked out in the sunshine (at least until its pesky human hosts attempt to go out and photograph it.) And I, who have been thinking every day as I get dressed how sick I am of my winter clothes, had to shed not just my gloves and hat but actual jacket on the cycle into Bigtown this afternoon.

I had better get used to it, because on Thursday, as soon as the election is safely over (at least the local one – when it comes to the general election, I’m just putting my fingers in my ears until its over, although I will vote, don’t worry), I am off with my wheely suitcase but not my bike to Edinburgh and thence to Seville where the same gang of four who took a highly serious study tour to Amsterdam back in September will be conducting a thorough investigation into the cycling infrastructure of ‘build it and they will come’ poster child, Seville.

And by thorough we mean really thorough because it’s well known that I can get lost getting out of a wardrobe, so we’re likely to end up giving any wayfinding in the city a brutal workout (obviously my companions are all skilled navigators AND know how to use the GPS on their phones, but I’ve a tendency to be impatient and lead from the front whether I know where I’m going or not. POP organisers, you can stop sniggering at the back now). We’ll also be ensuring that the infrastructure can be as easily used when you’re coming back from the bar as when you’re going to it, and that the bike hire system can be worked out by someone whose Spanish has been learned from a phone app that is heavy on phrases like ‘where is the train station?’ and ‘would you like more beer?’ but rather lighter on phrases like ‘give it some welly‘ which is, as I recall, the key to getting a Boris Bike out of the docking station. If our trip to Amsterdam is anything to go by, there will undoubtedly also be testing of the ease of using bikes for spontaneous shopping trips, finding a decent cup of tea, riding a bike having been lured into drinking mojitos and discovering how many kms of Seville’s segregated bike network need to be ridden to work off excessive consumption of tapas and other Spanish goodies.

I think even the most earnest of kerb nerds would agree, that’s a pretty good assessment of a city’s bike infrastructure. Although we’re open to inspecting any interesting floating bus stops, innovative junctions or nicely angled kerbs should anyone want us to have a look. And if you’ve any other suggestions, bike-related or not, for what to see, do, eat, drink or experience in Seville, bring them on.

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5 Responses to Vamos a Sevilla

  1. Stephen mcAteer says:

    Flamenco is my lasting memory of Seville. Hypnotic.

  2. Paul M says:

    Hardly original, but:
    – the Triana district, across the river, and its Ceramics museum.
    – the University, where you can ponder the fact that such a magnificent building used to be a factory (tobacco, scene of “Carmen”)
    – the Flamenco museum, where you can see interactive displays of the 11 (?) different Flamenco themes

    And in the bars around the old quarter in the evenings, see how popular Bromptons are with young professionals. I didn’t see them during the day, their owners probably too busy at their desks.

  3. ballsofwool says:

    Just wandering is great esp late evening. Watch out it gets very hot, even in May. Mad dogs and Englishmen…Have fun!

  4. Jenny P says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year or so now, and I’m totally in agreement with what you say about cycling and with what you do towards those ends.

    But how do you explain to people that on the one hand they need to get out of their cars to make our towns and cities more pleasant to live and work in, but on the other, it’s OK to keep using aeroplanes? I mean, you’re flying to Spain for a weekend, but you also went to America for a holiday around Christmas, and you went to the Canary Islands last autumn (that’s from memory – forgive me if I’ve got the dates a bit wrong). That’s three maybe warranted but hardly essential flights in less than three quarters of a year.

    I’m not criticising any individual for wanting to do those things, but surely you leave yourself open to accusations of hypocrisy? “Do as I say, not as I do”? Or how do you answer such questions?

  5. disgruntled says:

    Thanks for the suggestions – Seville was marvellous, and yes, quite hot (but pedalling around was actually cooler than walking). Stand by for more pictures!

    @Jenny – thanks for the question and yes, you do have a point about the hypocrisy, at least about climate change (I don’t see how me flying makes a difference to the livability of individual cities especially as we got around by public transport, on foot and by bike to and from the airport and while we were there). I could make the excuse that this year has been untypical (normally we only ever fly to the US and that is to see the other half’s parents, who are getting on in years – even George Monbiot allows us ‘love miles’ to see family if that’s the only way to get there), or that I offset the carbon emissions in other ways (as it happens we also planted six trees this year to mark our 25th wedding anniversary, which was also the reason we went to La Gomera) but like most people I can always find reasons for why it’s okay for ME to do something even if generally I’m saying others shouldn’t.

    So I’m not going to try and justify taking an unnecessary short-haul flight, but if we only ever allow people whose lives are perfectly pure throughout to advocate for change then we will never change anything. On balance I believe that if I can be a small part of a change that leads to people walking and cycling more in Scotland, then in the long run I will have done more good than harm.

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