03.04.2008 - 06.04.2008 26 °C
Seville was superb. We went out Thursday – leaving Cambridge mid afternoon and arriving in Seville early evening. Some of the group headed out for a meal but my room (with 2 lovely ladies from the crew I have been coxing) opted for sleep which was the right idea. Friday we were a bit delayed getting on the water because the hangars of boats weren’t open as expected. We stayed at a facility purely for water sports like kayaking, canoeing and rowing – a hotel with cafeteria and in front of it on the river’s edge these long low buildings racking all sorts of boats. It meant we fell out of the hotel onto the water ready to go every morning.
Friday was spent getting in the first couple of outings, getting used to the river and how far down we could row and enjoying the scenery. There was a bit of upheaval where the person in charge of the outing plans had a diva moment and upset a few people (largely because she hadn’t done her job in time) but it all got sorted and we ended up with a situation where we could work hard and play hard – outings were well coached and everyone gave it their best but when we were off the water we were on holiday!
Friday between the morning and evening outings we got the chance to spend a bit of time sunbathing/sightseeing. I opted for sunbathing given the 28+ degree heat and beaming sunshine (and the fact I knew we had more time Saturday to go see stuff so could top up the tan a bit without fear). All the women on the trip felt the ‘view’ was particularly good. Given that there was a kayaking championships on the Saturday there were absolutely loads of toned and gorgeous foreign men everywhere. The boys weren’t so pleased as the women there were all a little ‘hench’!
So, we did a lot of rowing. The view of the city from the river is spectacular and we had really good weather until Sunday afternoon where the wind got up and the river became extremely rough. We were able to row up to 7km before turning around and returning to the facility and we just baked in the sun. We went into Seville centre on Saturday after our morning outing and wandered around the cathedral and did a little bit of souvenir shopping and took photos of the buildings and all those things you do in Europe when you don’t have enough time to go in to most places but can peek through the doors. I did go for the half hour bull ring tour which was interesting. They had a big bull fight that night so there were people setting up cameras and all sorts which gave the place a bit of a vibe. I’m not enormously interested in the modern sport but the idea of it as an historical activity is interesting.
We also had the outing dinner on Saturday night which was great. We all mixed up who we sat with at dinner and got to know other people on the trip better and enjoyed a lot of sangria and so on. It was a spectacular evening that culminated in half a dozen of us sobering up in the hotel reception at 4am. I even got to practice a bit of massage with willing victims on the coffee table which was suitably random for this sort of trip!
As you can probably imagine the next morning was a bit of a struggle but well worth the effort. The younger lads hadn’t come into until after 6am so were all a state. Because so many people were still asleep only 5 of us got out on the water first thing. I went out with a Canadian woman who is new to the club. We went out in a double and had a fabulous paddle and are looking at doing outings regularly here in Cambridge! (So you can believe I didn’t have a hangover and the massage practice probably helped me as well!).
Then we had the competitive part of the weekend – the doubles and 8s racing each other. I coxed the development squad boys – effectively a new novice crew) and we were fighting to prove how much work we’d done over the weekend. They did it in fine form and won 2 of 4 races and really made the other 8 work for their final win. Given the conditions and the fact we were racing through 2 foot + waves (when the side of your boat is only 1 foot high you worry ok!) into a head wind I think my guys did terrifically!
Then we headed back to mooch about and recover a little from the night before while we waited for the coach to the airport, watch the training videos and so on. We had a good trip back once we had gotten through the Spanish side of things! I will have to say that Stansted was actually quite organized – I was through and had my bag in my hand in 15 minutes – totally unbelievable!