Andalucia Diary – Seasonal Travel Notes

Shop till you drop

Having just moved into a new apartment, Rafa and I decided to go to Ikea to pick up a few new-home essentials.  Despite the plethora of furniture stores on the coast, there’s little choice in the “inexpensive-but-not-ugly” category. Habitat won’t open till November, and Ikea isn’t promised to be in Malaga for another year or so.
So, the nearest Ikea is in Seville!
Last week, taking advantage of a day off work thanks to a local fiesta/holiday, we made the 2 plus hour trip! First came the debate over the route. Is it quicker to take the new motorway up past Jerez de la Frontera or it is shorter to go to via Ronda?
We opted for the route past Jerez.  At first the driving seemed fun and relaxing as we pasted the storks nesting on telegraph poles and glanced the eagles circling over the mountains. 
By the time we got past Jerez, I was getting impatient, but soon my concentration was focusing on the urban traffic and the narrow motorway lanes of the Seville area.
By this time, poor Rafa had now been a passenger in my car for over 200 kilometres, and even his relaxed, laid-back Spanish approach to life was being challenged by my erratic change of lanes, and the speed at which I like to approach road junctions! I fought for space between huge trucks and Spanish drivers that use their mirrors and indicators even less than me. Eventually we saw the sign for Ikea!

A little later we drove into the huge commercial centre – making the London Brent Cross Ikea look tiny. After finding parking, we took the huge 2000 kilo capacity mega-lifts up to the store level.
As an Ikea veteran, I grabbed a large yellow Ikea plastic carry bag and threw it casually over my shoulder – around me I see a number of Ikea virgins, unfamiliar with the plastic bag etiquette who instead look at me thinking Rafa’s exact thoughts… “I’m not I am going to wear a yellow bag – that looks WAY TOO GAY!”
BY this time, I’m already browsing the second room set, inspired by the cheap and cheerful shelving, funky tidy-up solutions and the bargain desk lights.

I start to scribble down bay numbers and shelf references of products I just can’t live without – quickly showing my expert Ikea shopping skills with pride.  Rafa is slowly absorbing the options, but quickly has to enter the spirit of the day, if only to say “do we really need two of these, isn’t one enough?” every few moments as I grab a hand full of the “too-cheap-to-ignore” offers on tea light candles, weird-but-useful storage boxes with aggressive sounding Nordic names and bright scatter cushions.

After my inspirational whiz around the room-sets I led the charge down to the market place.  I continued to dominate proceedings, issuing instructions about the best shopping itinerary in the market place. Armed with a trolley each, we explored the kitchen stuff where we meet some friends who also thought a day out to Ikea would be a fun way to spend a day off work.
Lots of clean white plates and simple, elegant glasses were piled around us – but Rafa ‘s energy-levels start to deteriorate.  By the time we get to saucepans and frying pans, the atmosphere is getting strained between us, as I want to power-shop and he wants to evaluate and scrutinise!

A little under 3 hours later we make it to the tills!  At this point the excitement of Ikea has well and truly worn off.  Rafa and I are just focused on getting through to the other end, where the promise of a 50 cent hot dog awaits us.
Then came the car-loading experience – well, I only have a small 4 x 4, so it took another 30 mins to plan a strategic approach to getting everything in, whilst still maintaining some degree of visibility (Rafa thinks I use my rear view mirror!)

Then, we realise we’ve forgotten a few of the real essentials that we came all the way to Seville for!  We had mountains of fragranced tea lights we didn’t need; we had cactus in cute galvanised steal pots we didn’t need, and lots and lots of self-assembly storage boxes – but the basics for the kitchen seemed to have got forgotten during the “discussion” incident in the saucepan area.
We decide that we need to eat and then will venture back into the shop – a second time!  After some dodgy salmon fillet and a side order of even more dodgy meat balls, we went back.  We bumped into our friends who are still wondering around in the rugs and carpet section!  This place is like a Las Vegas casino, where once inside, customers loose all track of time!  I just think it could do with the Las Vegas show-girl waitresses walking around the place offering free cocktails – now that really would make a difference.

With the car loaded to the max. after our second excursion, we left the store and made our way home. Needless to say, tired and dehydrated, leaving the Seville area and finding the right road home was almost the straw that broke the camels back, but the evening was beautiful, and we took the quiet, picturesque road through the countryside to Ronda.
As the sun set, we passed unspoilt villages, whilst munching on chocolate and crisps – the perfect anecdote to a stressful day.

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Andrew ForbesTravel & Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor Web: Twitter : @andrewaforbes Instagram @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »