Day two started with bath two and then we checked out and left our bag as before, before heading off to the café on the corner, this time for breakfast proper. John had Barcelona toast with air dried ham with a coffee and I had a Danish pastry with another cup of the hot chocolate. Probably not the breakfast of supermodels. We reapplied ourselves to the task of sorting out our internet connection, this time in the opposite direction. It is a truth universally acknowledged that mobile phone shops are like busses, none for ages and then several come by at once. What is little realised is that here in Spain they are always busy and it takes people a long time to sort out what they want. We queued in one, to be sent to another, to be told there was not the capacity and finally we found ourselves in Orange, where there was a queue system involving taking a ticket, like in shoe shop or deli. However, this was not an ordinary ticket dispenser, but a smart one. Our ticket number was F001, fool I thought, lookingup to the illuminated display to see A002. This was no guarantee of place, the next one to come up was C003. It was like an answer phone system that asks you to press one to buy something, two to book a service and three to be placed in an everlasting limbo of music. Except in this case the staff had to watch the victims mounting up. Already waiting was an agitated gentleman who had obviously already been there some time; he was shrugging and shaking his head talking to others ahead of us in Spanish. After a while even the members of staff came from behind their desks to check his ticket had not been missed. Eventually we had all been waiting so long he shrugged at me and showed me his ticket, A005. I showed him ours and cheered him up, even I could work out he said we would be there till tomorrow. Then a girl rattled through the numbers of people who had obviously given up and came to ours. Guiltily we shuffled past him to be served. After all that we could do no better than the limited data contract that had been so frustrating before, so pictures will arrive when we can get other wifi. Fortunately by the time we had finished the gentleman ahead of us was being served.
Back out on the streets we headed back to the quiet squares and alleyways for a coffee. As we sat we realised these were not so deserted as we had thought, tour groups and school parties trouped through, stood in a corner listening to their guides, some who shouted, some with mikes and one with a complete network of earpieces for the group, so she could speak very quietly. None of it was in English, so we were none the wiser as to what they were looking at. After coffee we went to look round a palace, the Real Alcazare and it is not to be missed. It covers a huge area in the centre of Seville, but does it so stealthily we did not realise until we went inside, like a tardis. The high walls enclose pleasure gardens, orchards; fountains play in sunny courtyards and from the depth of shady buildings, large formal ponds full of green water house lazy goldfish or carp designed for the table. The walls surrounding these gardens feature Moorish arches, tiled mosaics and intricate fretwork. Inside the palace the Muslim inspired features abound in splendour, rubbing shoulders with renaissance art and architecture. We saw a painting of Our Lady of the Navigators and she had an unsettlingly scornful expression. My favourite was the Palacio del Ray Don Pedro, with its many beautiful arches, particularly the Courtyard of the Maidens, a courtyard framed by the lovely palace, so separate from the other gardens. It features a long rectangular pool flanked by sunken gardens with small orange trees, so the oranges can be picked easily.
Nothing could compare with the wonders of the palace, so after our visit there we had a late lunch and caught our train home. We arrived at Lyra feeling we had been gone ages. Then the band started to tune up.