Waterpark Adventures, and a Return to Spain!

Jul 15th (Sunday)

As I alluded to in my previous post, we were leaving Lisbon early today, as our plan was to hit a waterpark in Faro before continuing on back into Spain.  We got up before 8:00, packed up our stuff, made up a lunch, and hit the road as soon as we finished checking out.  We got to the AquaShow waterpark in Quarteira around half ten, and proceeded to have a blast!  Bought our tickets, changed into our swimsuits, then sorted our lockers and sunscreen — always use protection, kids! — then hit the rides!  There was so much to do, and so many different water slides, pools, and even animal attractions.  Some easy slides and some truly terrifying ones!  We spent the rest of the morning and a good chunk of the afternoon in the water or heading down rides, before stopping for a bite to eat.  We didn’t forget our lunch, but we were so hungry that the park food seemed more substantial, so we ate there instead (plus, we couldn’t be arsed going out to the car at this point, haha).

Photo of the AquaShow park sign
Happy little water droplet mascots!

They did have a few bird and reptile shows on during the day, and even brought some of the animals into the general park area at points, but to be honest … I’m not sure the animals were handled in the most appropriate way.  It seemed the handlers were more interested in getting the greatest number of visitors posed with the animals, and it felt very assembly line.  Visitor would come up, handler would indicate how to hold their arms or shoulder, place the bird or reptile (and in some cases, guide the bird’s beak into the most photogenic pose), photographer would snap with the camera, then on to the next visitor.  I’m no animal expert, but it seemed a lot of these poor critters were stressed and not in their most ideal surroundings.  It should come as no surprise that you weren’t allowed to take your own photos, and that the park-provided photos were €5 a pop.  Kitty and I had our photos taken with the parrots, but only because we wanted to get close to the birds, and they seemed chill/comfortable enough.  Otherwise, it all just felt too exploitative.

Photo of some of the slides available in the park, with green areas visible in the foreground on the left
Numerous rides and slides, interspersed with grassy areas to dry off and relax in.

After we ate, we chilled out on the grass for a while to let lunch settle before hitting a few of our favourite rides again.  We were pretty tired by this point, and having experienced most of the park by now, we decided to get changed and grab some ice cream on the way back to the car.  All in all, a very enjoyable day at the park!  We got into Sevilla (Seville) around 20:30 Spanish time, and checked into our hostel.  One of the other guests back in Lisbon had suggested Lemon Garden hostel, and I’m so incredibly glad we followed up on it — although we were too late to avail of the free sangria the hostel offered every evening, we dropped our stuff and tucked into the pool on site (as if we hadn’t had enough water by then!).  We made friends with a few of the other guests at the hostel, and got recommendations on what to check out when we got the chance.  We were only getting to know them at this point, but a few of the people we met that evening would stick with us for a good portion of our travels over the next week (and friendships that would last much longer than that, I hope)!

Jul 16th (Monday)

Another work day for Kitty, another day for me to catch up with writing and YouTube!  We each did our thing for the day, then took some time in the evening to explore Sevilla for a bit.  The city actually surprised us, to be honest — when we drove in the day before, it really had a “big city” feel to it, with lots of billboards and skyscrapers around.  We were therefore pleasantly surprised with the amount of parks and historic buildings that were just around the corner from our hostel.

Photo of the plaza, looking down over the moat and central area
The Plaza de España, as seen from one of the balconies.

Exploring the main Plaza de España was a real treat, even with the heavy heat of the day trailing into the evening.  The plaza itself was breathtakingly beautiful, with a charming moat surrounding it, with boats available to rent if you wanted to take a loop around via the water.  Along the outer ring of the plaza, just inside of the government buildings, were frescos of the various cities and regions in Spain.

Photo showing some of the many cities represented in the plaza by artwork and tiles
Numerous frescos lined the outer wall of the plaza, giving a view of different cities in Spain

We eventually made our way to La Carbonería, a small tapas bar hidden away in the backstreets of Sevilla.  A couple of our friends from the previous night had recommended it, saying that they did free flamenco shows every night.  We were a little early, so we sampled some of the local brews, and got dinner as we waited for the show to start.  The friend we were with, Ricki, explained that this area of Spain was heavily influenced by the Muslim empire when it stretched this far into Europe.  Once the flamenco started, it was easy to see!  Well, more “hear”, actually — the style of singing really brought to mind the modern Islamic/Arabic music.

Photo of an apartment residence, with a small but beautiful garden in the centre
Even the residents have lovely gardens!

Of course, they didn’t allow any photos or videos of the show, so I’ve got nothing to show here on the blog, but I can highly recommend visiting the bar and enjoying an evening show there!  Maybe grab dinner beforehand though, as we found the tapas a little lacking for what you pay for them :/

Jul 17th (Tuesday)

Another work day, only we knocked off early to enjoy the hostel pool.  We enjoyed great company, amazing conversation, and then free sangria for an hour.  Kitty and I took advantage of the hostel dinner for €5, and we continued chatting and drinking until well into the night.  The Lemon Garden was really well set up for socialising and the people that were staying at the same time as us were great fun!

That’s where I’ll leave off for today!  There’s a few bonus photos of Sevilla below for you to enjoy, but as always — hit that subscribe button in the sidebar to receive notifications of new posts here, or follow my Twitter for those and other shenanigans from yours truly.  See you again soon!

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