After a not terribly exciting included hotel breakfast in Almagro (where I chose to go the bad decision route and just have a few bites of a number of different pastries), we left the tampon room and the city, to drive through La Mancha. We tried to visit Ciudad Real and the Don Quixote museum, but it was closed, so after a few snapshots with some statues we drove onward to the windmills.
The drive was beautiful. Although we’d been warned by Rick Steves that it was flat. He apparently has never lived in Oklahoma and has no idea what flat is. It was beautiful hills and lovely colors. We bumped along down a very rural road towards Consuegra. They had an open windmill with a video explaining old windmill technology and the guts of the windmill. We hiked a bit and walked by and said hello to each of the windmills, named after Don Quixote characters. After climbing on as many things as I could, we went down to the town and had lunch.
Lunch was spectacular. Another highlight from my Spain trip. We started with cheeses, from fresh to semi-cured to cured to cured with oil. The fresh was my favorite, and the cured with oil I could barely stand. Not to my taste. I had a chickpea soup with fish, spinach, and a deliciously garlic matzo ball type thing. Aneel had pork with a creamy cheesy sauce and potatoes. The water brought pickled peppers for us to enjoy with the meal. The waiter was delightful. Very sweet, handsome, helpful. He tried very much to be helpful to my pescetarianism, wouldn’t let us leave without free dessert and an after dinner drink for Aneel, tried to answer questions about the liquor as best he could (it reminded me of a drink from Crete), and told us to tour the pottery room. I love sweet little interactions in Spain like this.
For breakfast on our last day in Sevilla, we had breakfast at a pastry store next to hotel. I had a chocolate orange cake and an apple thingy; Aneel had chocolate pretzel. We then went to the palace (Alcazar) in Sevilla that had been closed by the time we were done with the cathedral the night before. It was designed and decorated in the Mujédar style, which is a mixture of Moorish and Christian design (basically Christians appropriating what they want but throwing in the Christian things they liked (or to emphasize Christianity). This was interesting for me. On one hand, it was a little disappointing because it was really not anything ANYTHING as spectacular as the Alhambra. On the other hand, it was fascinating having seen the Alhambra to be able to pinpoint differences and developments.
Even if the palace itself was a little meh, the gardens were fantastic. Just… wow. If I did Sevilla again, I would spend less time in the palace and way more time in gardens. I would spend hours wandering, sitting and reading, getting lost. I did get lost in the giant maze hedges that Aneel could annoyingly see over but I couldn’t. We needed to get on our way so we left and stopped by the nun cookie store. These were apparently common with cloistered nuns. They sit at an El Torno and you order in front, they sit behind where you can’t see them, and spin the torno around to get your money and deliver your food. This was an El Torno in name only. The cookies were made by nuns but the store now just had a normal desk with non-nuns. We got wedding cookies and buttery cookies. I passed on going back to the Fascinator store (because I’m a good person that sacrifices for the good of the money), and we got the car from the car elevator and escaped Sevilla with very little road hassle.