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Thu Jan 08 2015: Sevillian Casualties

I'm pissed. Angrier than I've ever been in a long time.

The apartment in Granada double-billed us for our stay. They charged our credit card for the full amount and also knowingly asked us for the same in cash when we arrived without giving us a receipt, despite us asking for it. We know all this because they've done it a dozen times to other guests - we checked their booking.com reviews and it's all recorded. We should have read all the reviews before checking in.

It's a lucky thing that I check our credit card statements online regularly and caught it last night.

I called the credit card company to dispute the charges but they told me it would be next to impossible without a receipt. All the comments on booking.com reported the same thing, that they were unsuccessful in getting the charges reversed because they purposely *forget* to give receipts.

We called the apartment and they apologized and told us they would initiate the reversal on their end. Again, booking.com reviews also mentioned this and said it never happened.

We got scammed.

I wanted to ride back to Granada and get our money back, call the cops or something. Iva and Tajana offered to cover their half of what we lost, to just forget about it and continue on with our trip, but I couldn't let it stand like that. I know their vacation time was very precious and they didn't want to waste a day, but I couldn't get over the thought of someone willfully scamming us and getting away with it.

Cordoba was supposed to be an overnight stay, but I begged The Pula Girls to stay just one more day in Cordoba while Neda and I rode back to Granada to confront the thieves. So that's what we did.

Long story short, the next day we rode two hours back to Granada, stood in their office while they pretended that it was an accident. We demanded our receipt as well as made sure the charges were reversed on our credit card. Then two hours back to Cordoba again and a whole day was wasted. I was angry the entire day. In the end, we were only out €16 for the gas in Neda's bike as we two-upped there and back.

Thank you so much, Iva and Tajana. They even offered to pay half of the €16 gas bill! So nice of them, but the fact they gave up a day of their vacation to hang around Cordoba was more than enough.

Got a chance to walk around Cordoba the next morning

More orange trees here!

Trying to find a place for breakfast

I was feeling a bit wiped from riding to Granada and back the previous day so I opted out of today's activities. Neda accompanied the girls to visit the Medina Azahara. These are some of the pictures that she took:

Traveling through Cordoba old school

One of the doorways to the Medina

The Medina Azahara was another remnant of Muslim Spain from the 1st century.

Sunlight streaming in through a window in the ceiling

More pretty stained-glass sun patterns

We left Cordoba for our next stop in The Pula Girls Tour d'España, Seville. It's a fairly quick highway ride and it was quite uneventful, albeit windy ride. Except we did see this in one of the fields off the highway:

We pulled off to the side of the road to check it out more closely with the zoom lens

At first, we thought it was some kind of high-tech lighthouse, but it seemed to be reflecting sunlight down to the fields below. Neda thought it may be beaming extra sunlight to certain crops. Later on, I did some research. It's actually a power generator called a Solar Power Tower. There are hundreds of computer-controlled solar reflectors on the ground called heliostats. They are programmed to aim and reflect sunlight to a certain point at the top of the tower where a molten salt solution is super-heated to over 500°C and then transported back down to boil water to run steam turbines, generating electricity.

Cool, eh?

Found this picture on the Internet: Gemasolar Solar Tower.

Another picture from the Internet: Closeup of the heliostats that reflect sunlight to the tower

It just so happened that the day we rode by, there was dust in the air that showed the sunlight reflecting off the heliostats to the tower. Someone must have heard The Pula Girls were going to vacation in the area and decided to profit off their Sun-Attraction Powers.

12 days and counting. No Rain. Amazing!

Free parking under the oranges in Seville

We are going to be staying in Seville for a couple of days. The Pula Girls and Neda go out and explore the city while I stay in the apartment to relax. The pace is too frenetic for me, plus the apartments we are managing to score in the off-season with the four of us are getting more and more luxurious!

Everywhere the Pula Girls show up, the sun shines and orange trees miraculously sprout from the ground!

Plaza de España

I did manage to get a little sightseeing done in Seville. Neda told me that she went with the Pula Girls to the Plaza de España and was really impressed and that I should see it before we leave.

Beautiful hand-painted ceramic details all over the buildings

The Plaza de España doesn't really have much historical significance. It was built in 1929 for the World Expo in Seville that year and today it houses some government buildings.

Ceramic posts

Ceramic banister

You can pay for a horse and buggy ride around the plaza. Or take a picture for free.

This couple was from Mexico!

We overheard them talking with the rest of their family and their accent was so familiar! You know you've spent a lot of time in Latin America when you can pinpoint people's Spanish accents! :) This couple was getting married in Seville and they were getting their wedding pictures done at the Plaza de España.

Along the bottom of the building are 48 tiled alcoves representing all the provinces of Spain

It's a popular thing for Spanish tourists to take a picture in front of the alcove where they are from.
Since we're not Spanish, Neda just chose the one that she went to camp at once...

You can rent a boat for €5. Or take a picture for free...

Did you know that they filmed a Star Wars movie here? It was the Royal Palace of Naboo in the Phantom Menace! That's cool.

I later found out that I missed seeing the Alcázar de Sevilla, an ancient Moorish palace. It's kind of like Alhambra in Granada. I really wanted to see it not because of its history, but because I just found out that they are filming the fifth season of Game of Thrones at the Alcázar...


Leaving Seville through the cobblestoned streets of the historic centre

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