You can now search and book tens of thousands of bus tickets in Spain directly on Busbud.com. To celebrate, we’ve made Spain our Country of the Month! We’re also giving one lucky winner and a friend unlimited bus tickets to the Iberian Peninsula for one month via our giveaway with Backpacker Travel. Click here to enter!
As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who have had firsthand experiences wandering the world. Last time, we featured Abigail King from Inside the Travel Lab. Today, we’re happy to feature Fiona Flores Watson from Scribbler in Seville.
Fiona Flores Watson hit the road to Spain 11 years ago and has since been discovering the country, all while documenting her adventures in her blog, Scribbler in Seville. Now, this expat has settled in Spain and works on balancing the task raising her two bilingual children along with her successful freelance career. Lucky for us, Fiona takes some time from her Spain musings to answer our burning questions about the Iberian Peninsula and romantic Seville, the city she now calls home.
1. Where are you now and where in Spain are you headed next?
I’ve lived in or near Seville for 11 years, and have no plans to move anywhere else. I’m looking forward to a weekend in Granada, one of my favorite cities, in November – part work, part pleasure. I’m hoping to go on a night visit to the Alhambra, which should be spectacular.
2. You’re a wife, mother, teacher, translator, and journalist who has been published in The Guardian and Condé Nast Traveller. What tips do you have for striking a balance between work and personal life?
Haha, good question! I’m not exactly a poster girl for work-life balance, as my kids are used to me growling at them from my computer when I’m on a deadline. But I try to get as much as possible done (writing, phone calls, meetings) while they’re at school, and then we go to football, dance classes, etc afterwards, while I sneak in time on my iPhone. I also work as a Social Media consultant so Twitter is perfect for when you have a few free minutes. We always go out somewhere at weekends, as if we stay home I’m inevitably glued to my computer or iPhone, and they’re glued to the TV – not a recipe for a fun, healthy childhood!
3. Why do you think Seville is Spain’s most romantic city?
Because of its magical architecture – Moorish palaces and towers, Gothic churches, sweeping contemporary bridges, and its secret corners – squares hidden down narrow windy streets, lined with pretty tiled benches, sweet jasmine and orange trees. As well as my above-mentioned work, I take people on tours of the city. Watching their jaws drop as they’re blown away by its beauty is a reward in itself.
4. What’s your favorite destination in Spain and why? Do you have a must-see attraction?That’s a difficult one as it changes after each trip when I fall in love with a new place, but currently it’s Vejer de la Frontera, a pueblo blanco (white hill town) in Cadiz province. It is stunningly picturesque, has fabulous restaurants and excellent small hotels, and is minutes from great beaches. Plus, a good friend of mine does cooking courses there, which are centered around seafood and Sherry – two of my favorite things. Don’t miss the food market, Mercado San Francisco: It’s small but very well-designed and has exquisite tapas (small food dishes) and fresh fish, especially the local atun de almadraba (bluefin tuna).
5. What advice do you have for travelers visiting Spain for the first time?
Try and learn a few words to use, even if it’s only “hola” (hi), “gracias” (thank you), and “buenos dias/tardes” (good morning/afternoon). You should say this when you walk into any bar, shop, or office, or you’ll be seen as rude. And don’t be afraid to sample odd-looking foods you’ve never seen (or even heard of) before – especially fruits, shellfish, and cuts of meat. The variety of produce here is quite incredible, and the quality is usually excellent!
6. Your blog also focuses on Spain’s celebrated culinary culture. Name the ultimate dish you need to try when visiting Spain.
For me it would have to be coquinas – small clams cooked in garlic, parsley, and wine (or, even better, Fino, which is very dry Sherry). Para chuparse los dedos (finger-licking good)!
7. At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. What do you think about this mission and do you think this type of service would benefit the travel community?
I think it’s a fantastic idea – bus is a great way to get around Spain as it’s cheap, there’s an extensive network, and it’s relatively reliable. Since I have small children, we usually drive (much easier with all the clobber), but if I’m on my own I love taking the bus. I can stare out of the window and dream, or catch up on some work.
8. Finally, do you have a memorable bus story to share with our readers?
Years ago when I was travelling in India, I took a bus trip with friends to a mountain pass in Himachal Pradesh, and the bus got snowed in! We had to hike several miles down the road, then the Army met us to give us blankets and hot food, and took us back home. The worst part was we were all wearing shorts as it was summer – the weather was freakish and totally unexpected. That was quite an adventure.