We are in Seville, Spain! We arrived here yesterday and will leave tomorrow, going back to our Portugal apartment. Douglas is like a kid in a candy store, with his tourist maps and phone apps, finding all the places he wants to see. Today, we walked for nearly seven hours (I earned nearly 16,000 steps!), attempting to see everything we could in one day. As I walked beside him, I could feel his joy, for my husband is the most authentic tourist I have ever met.
As we visited the different places, he had to read every word for every item seen. No shortcuts for this guy! It took hours to get through any one place, and it looks like we have to continue tomorrow with the places we missed today, as we cannot leave here with the visit half complete. At the Cathedral of Seville, which was super huge, I tried to take control of the speed of the visit, just glancing at items and sepulchres, but Douglas was not having any of that. Each item got its fair share of his attention, and there seemed to be at least a million items.
Just when I thought that we were ready to leave the Cathedral, for we had already been there nearly two hours, he saw a group of people entering a space, and when he went to see where they were going, he discovered that it was the entrance to the bell tower. While I sat and waited, this man walked up 37 ramps to the top and took pictures! He returned with a big smile and could not wait to show me his pictures. I try to remind him that he is 68 years old, but he does not see his age as important, although he found out that no one over 70 is allowed up to the bell tower.
As we had waited in line to enter the Cathedral, he had talked with people from so many countries. Douglas never meets a stranger. While I was trying to tell him not to monopolize people’s time, he just kept asking where people were from and sharing stories or information with them. I left him alone, for that is who he is, real and authentic with other people. There is nothing fake about my guy.
But, because he wants to see everything on his list, he can forget about important things like eating and taking bathroom breaks, but I reminded him. I need the rest! After eating at Starbucks (yes, all the way to Spain to eat at a familiar place!), we were off again. We trekked through so many narrow streets trying to find an ancient Roman bath that he saw on the tourist map. It was like being in a maze, and when we arrived, we got a surprise that made us both laugh.
We found the baths, and outside were brochures in many languages, including English. The brochure was very fancy, which set off my radar, but Douglas was sure we were in the right place. But, when I heard the clerk ask the women ahead of us, who were dressed very expensively, what treatments they wanted, I knew that we were in a really fancy spa, and not any Roman ruins, and I got us out of there before we embarrassed ourselves all the way.
With my back feeling like someone was placing fire on it, I could have used a good massage, but this place was well beyond anything we could afford. When the prices are not listed, we cannot afford it, let me tell you. So, we walked back through the warren of streets, trying to find one of the main streets. Thankfully, Douglas is the best person at using maps, a by-product of hiking mountain trails with his family. He got us back to the Main Street and the route to where our car was parked.
Just when I thought we were going back to the hotel, I spotted a castle-like structure with people at the very top looking down on the city and river! Oh, why did I tell him to look? He just had to walk to the top of it, and again I found a place to wait for him to visit to his heart’s content.
As we left the castle ruin, he said, ‘I think my legs are quivering!” Well no wonder! After nearly an hour’s walk, we found the supposedly free parking structure where we had left the car. Yes, Douglas found his way from the hotel to downtown Seville, and back! I think there is a map imprinted on his brain!
But, we discovered that libre means open and available, not free. As we tried to leave the parking structure, Douglas placed the ticket in and nothing happened. I finally looked across to the ticket screen and saw that we had to pay to get out. It costs 14 euros, and we only had eleven euros in change. It would take no larger bill than a 20 euro, and we only had 50 euro bills.
I asked Douglas if the thing took Visa, and he said that it did not take credit cards. But, praise be to God to whom I was praying very intensely, he was wrong! I was so happy to see the place for a card, and when Douglas placed his Visa card in there, it asked for his pin, which I had memorized from the time we held up the queue at a grocery store in Portugal. He put in his pin and we got out of the parking structure! Yahoo!!!!
We are back in our hotel room, and when Douglas told me the prompt for today, authentic, I knew immediately what I was going to write on: my authentic husband. Douglas is real in everything he does. Probably where he is the most authentic is in his walk with God. Douglas is sincere in his faith, and when he speaks to people about Jesus, they listen. I believe that people can see that he walks the walk and talks the talk, meaning that they can see his integrity and his love for his Savior in how he lives his life.
In John 1:47, when Jesus saw Nathanael approach, Jesus said (NLT), “Now here is a genuine son of Israel, a man of complete integrity.” That is my Douglas, a man with no deceit or guile, with real integrity, in every area of his life, including in his love for God, for me, for his family and children, and for the people he meets everywhere we go.
That he is real and authentic as a tourist, determined on capturing every ounce of fun and information possible, is no surprise. I love him just the way he is, and although my back would have liked nothing better than an old-fashioned lay-about today, I am glad that my husband had his fill of joy today, and tomorrow should be just as wonderful with him leading the charge.