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Bill’s Poker Blog: The insane ramblings of a semi-professional poker player and world traveler.

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What I Did On My Christmas Vacation

Afterbeing in Gib for three months I was becoming a little stir crazy. Gibis nice and all but other than a few trips over the boarder to La Lineaand some business travel I hadnt been taken advantage of the localsurroundings. I rented a car from a Spanish rental company and pickedit up on the Spanish side of the border on Saturday. I hopped into therandom European economy car and quickly hooked up my newest toy, the Tom Tom One Europe GPS navigation system. With my fearless navigator on board, I was free to go anywhere.

I punched in S-E-V-I-L-L-A and Tom Tom asked me if I wanted to taketoll roads or not. Figuring that I was in no particular hurry andregular roads tend to be the most scenic I instructed Tom Tom to avoidtoll roads. For the next 2.5 hours I drove along the Spanishcountryside sometimes going miles without seeing cities or even houses.Along one particular stretch it seemed to be mostly farming country.There was a vineyard that stretched for what seemed like miles alongflat terrain and then suddenly a large estate with palm trees markingthe driveway from the road to the house. It was a surreal site. Nothingfor miles and then this massive and beautiful home in the middle ofnowhere.

I arrived in Sevilla in the late afternoon and took Tom Tom with meas I walked around the city. It knew where I was at all times and all Ihad to do was ask where things were around me. I didnt really go tosee anything in particular so I just went wherever Tom Tom said therewas something interesting. I grabbed a quick bite and couldnt help butnotice that Sevilla has some of the most beautiful women in the world.Not Los Angeles or Vegas kind of beautiful where everything iscosmetically enhanced but a real natural beauty. And a friendlinessthat seemed a little odd for a city that large.

I finished up with my snack and it was beginning to get dark so I retrieved my car let Tom Tom guide me back to Gibraltar.

Sunday morning I received an email from a former Full Tilt colleaguewho said she was in Southern Spain and wanted to know what there was todo in Gib. We shot a few emails back and forth and she eventually endedup missing the bus to Gibraltar so we never met up.

Instead I hopped into the car and headed to Marbella. While Sevillais to the north west of Gibraltar, Marbella is along the coast east ofGib. Its an amazing drive as the road takes you along the coastoverlooking the Mediterranean. It reminded me of driving down the coastfrom Malibu or Santa Barbara California. Steep cliffs overlookingbeautiful ocean views.

It was Christmas Eve so I didnt expect anything to be open or muchgoing on in Marbella but I had a car and a free day on my hands. As youapproach Marbella you cant help but notice that Marbella is theplayground of wealthy Europeans. The homes overlooking the beach areenormous and the price tags of the cars you pass start to increasecorrespondingly. There are some smaller communities around Marbellawhere, Im told, $100,000 cars are pretty much bottom of the line. Itsnot uncommon to pass restaurants where the only thing parked outside isFerraris, Bentleys, and Rolls Royces.

I drove around a bit and took in the views from high points inMarbella before heading back to Gib. I arrived back my local pub justafter last call had been announced. It was Christmas Eve so they wereclosing early. One of my friends, Roger, invited me and several othersback to his flat for some tapas and drinks. In his kitchen Roger had arear-hind of a pig and several other meats and cheeses that he cut intoslices and brought out. The hind was cut into razor thin strips thatalmost melted in your mouth without chewing. It was truly fantastic.

Monday I had been invited for dinner at the home of the owner of mylocal pub. It was myself, Alex who owns the pub, his wife, his daughterand her boyfriend, his youngest child, his niece, and Felicity one ofthe waitresses from the pub. Alex lives in Gib up on the side of therock. After some twisting roads to get up to his place there are about100 yards of steps going up the hillside to his front door. I gotpegged with carrying a case of beer up to the house.

As we were being shown around, it was obvious that the mainattraction was the living room which had huge arched doors that openedup onto a balcony where you could see all the way to the Spanish porttown Algeciras on one side and Morocco and the northern tip of Africato the South. It was absolutely a stunning, stunning view. All theships that passed through the Straight of Gibraltar either heading intothe Mediterranean or out to the Atlantic could be seen and later afterthe sun had set and all the ships were lit up it was like you had yourown little light parade going on.

Dinner was absolutely brilliant. The first course was a prawns andsmoked salmon with avocado seafood salad. By the time the turkey cameout I was stuffed but continued to gorge myself anyway. We ate so muchthat I thought I was going injure myself. After dinner we had severalbottles of Spanish wine and played some trivia games while Alex triedto talk us into a little ice cream and apple pie. The spirit waswilling but the body was weak.

So that was my Xmas break.

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2 Commentsbobby Said,

December 30, 2006 @ 8:37 am

BillI am semi-agoraphobic, and you made me want to travel. I just finished breakafst, and you made me hungry.

You write GOOT!B

David Said,

January 3, 2007
@ 10:59 am

Forthe most part, I grew up in Rota. Ive been to all the places that youmention and it makes me pine to go back for a little while. Not thatthe pizza was great, but there are a couple of pizza restaurant/barsthat I would love to see again.

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The common link seems to be an ambitious vision let down by practicalities.

Posted from UK:

Comments for billrini:you have 2 comments

well
well

21 Jan 2007
me
hi

21 Jan 2007
18 Oct 2011 – start of travelblog

posted Monday April 2007

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