Spain: The Fine Art of Getting Lost


On every street corner approaching a Spanish tourist zone their is a couple who has no idea where they are. One has their cell phone out. It’s opened to Google Maps. The other one is holding a tourist map. That couple isn’t always Mark and Donna!

Tourist maps are terrible instruments. They aren’t drawn to scale. The top of the map isn’t always North. These maps are handed out by tour companies. If the maps got you comfortably from point A to point B, you wouldn’t take their tours.

It is possible to drag out an actual city map. By the time you lay it out you might as well be playing Twister. I don’t know about anyone else’s relationship, but playing a variation of Twister anywhere in the vicinity of “Where the Hell are we now???” never sounds like a viable option.

So, Donna and I opt for the crappy map and Google system. We get to feel smug when we encounter lost couples. The person with the phone says, “I think I’ve got it!” The person with the map runs up. Notes are compared. Then they set off following Ms. Google’s guidance. We give each other a knowing smile.


Narrow streets lined with buildings are not conducive to cell phone connections. They aren’t any good for helping you find landmarks either. We were two blocks from the Cathedral in Seville. It wasn’t looming on any horizon. We saw buildings and blue sky.

One night after seeing Fado singer, Gisela Joao, we had an amazing conversation with Ms. Google. I left our part of the conversation out. I’m quite sure you can fill in the blanks!

“Turn left on Calle Palos de la Frontera in 680 feet!”

“Turn left on Calle Palos de la Frontera in 750 feet!”

“Turn left on Calle Palos de la Frontera in 10 feet…250 feet…300 feet!”

“Turn left on Calle Palos de la Frontera! Turn left on Calle Palos de la Frontera in 75 feet!”


All of this while we were making sure the little blue dot was on the blue line and we were walking in the right direction.

We wound up at La Mar Canalla, in Seville’s El Porvenir neighborhood. It was nowhere near where we thought we were headed. A long walk in the wrong direction at 11:00 at night would be the accurate description!

La Mar Canalla is one of those perfect Seville fish bars. We were treated to an impromptu flamenco show. A neighborhood girl having dinner with her family got up and performed with a grizzled street musician. The service was delightful. The wine was excellent. The fish was perfectly prepared!


The restaurant is also next to a taxi circuit. Less than a minute after paying “la cuenta” we were in the back of a cab and heading home. It would have been a very long walk!


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