I’ve been in Spain for less than one week and (shockingly enough) there are plenty of things that I already miss from Canada. When I first considered coming back “home” to visit my family and friends and introduce them to my little one I thought this was going to be the perfect vacation. I would stay at my mom’s with my young sister, enjoy the nice weather and delicious food, family and friends would spoil my baby and I would finally get some sleep. Just perfect! However, I have been living in Canada for almost 5 years now and, to my surprise, Spain doesn’t feel like home anymore! Don’t get me wrong, I love that we are enjoying some quality time with my family and friends but there are several things that I’ve seen in Seville in the past few days that didn’t bother me at all when I was living here but now are just driving me nuts!
Since I got here I’ve been in three different cafes and two different restaurants and I haven’t found a single changing station in the bathrooms. Actually, in a couple of places the bathrooms were so dirty that even if I would have found a changing station I would have seriously considered not using it. I’ve had to change the little munchkin’s diapers on my lap or in the stroller in the middle of the street… Not very comfy to be honest although I’m developing some juggling skills that I never thought I had in me!
One of the things that made my jaw drop when I first got to Calgary is how respectful the drivers are with pedestrians. As soon as you stop close to the curb and indicate with your body language that you want to cross the street, the cars will stop and let you go (no matter if there’s a crosswalk or not). In Seville… that’s a whole different story! Most of the times you have to stop in a crosswalk, wait for all the cars to drive by and once there’s no more cars left to go, then it is your turn to cross.
Maybe a stroller would be “enough” to make the cars slow down and let me go first but oh boy was I wrong! It doesn’t matter if you are walking with a stroller, a baby in your arms or a walking toddler, you just wait because, unfortunately, the cars won’t stop for you. And I’m talking about using in a crosswalk…Forget about crossing the street anywhere else, because you will be seriously risking your life!
It is mid-October and all the leaves have fallen from the trees so there’s a beautiful brown and yellow layer covering the ground. In normal circumstances this would be just a beautiful landscape to enjoy while walking with the stroller and your baby outside, however, there’s another variable in the equation that makes things a bit trickier… There’s dog poop everywhere!! Yes, absolutely everywhere! Going for a walk with the stroller is like playing the minesweeper!
I’m sorry for the responsible dog owners that clean after themselves but, unfortunately, you are just a minority in Seville so the city in certain areas is just plain filthy! You have to be guessing… is this a brown leave or poop? Believe me, you don’t want to get it wrong!
One of the nice things about Seville is the weather… Mid-October and the temperature is around 15-20 degrees. The weather is so nice that some people even wear shorts! Obviously, I want to go outside and enjoy the sunlight as much as I can because it will be snowing and freezing cold when I go back to Calgary. The awesome weather in the fall is something I just can’t ignore.
However, enjoying the warm weather outside has a downside: You have to deal with smokers!
Some people here don’t care if you have a stroller with a baby. If they are sitting outside they will smoke in their table, right beside you and they won’t consider that the smoke is getting to your baby’s face.
I had a friend that politely asked a couple sitting right next to us to watch out for their cigarette’s smoke because the baby was breathing it. Their response was: “We are sitting outside so if you have a problem you can leave”.
Plain simple… and rude! So basically, if you don’t like confrontation and you don’t want your baby to breath second hand smoke you’d better be ready to move tables or just stay inside the cafes or restaurants where smoking is not allowed…
I know that I’m making this sound like a living hell but nothing further from reality! I’m actually enjoying my time in Spain with my family and friends and I would never change a minute of my time with them!
They say “Spain is Different” for a reason, right? It is unique in every single sense of the word, but never a place you will regret visiting! There’s always the good food, the nice people, the history, architecture and vast culture to help us take these little things with a grain of salt… and a glass of wine!