Posted on September 17th, 2016
Trying to put our experience in Sevilla into words is definitely going to be a challenge as an experience as special as that can’t ever really be fully retold or understood in full. But I will try my best. We arrived after our train in from Madrid, walking out into a brick wall of heat. Walking through the streets following our GPS directions we kept second guessing whether we were on the right track as the roads were so narrow and didn’t seem fit to have a name. It was incredible to see the difference in style to that of the rest of Spain. The Moors’ influence was so apparent in the style of the houses (all in beautiful sunny shades of yellow) and little courtyards covered in intricately painted tiles with swirly designs of blue and white. We passed by the grand cathedral and the Real Alcazar before arriving at our amazingly beautiful and perfect hostel slap-bang in the heart of Sevilla. Only a few minutes in to our arrival in Sevilla, it had already begun to work its magic on our hearts.
That evening we went for a walk around the cathedral all lit up and bright, the air filled with the clippity-clop of horse drawn carriages with massive yellow wheels. We went to a restaurant recommended by our hostel and delighted in the reasonably priced and hearty portions of the south trying delicacies such as friend fish and Solomillo al Whiskey which is steak served with a caramlised onion and garlic whiskey sauce. Absoloutely delicious! Sevilla is in the Andalucia region and the birth place of Flamenco. We were certain we wanted to see a show while here but had heard about a bar where spontaneous shows take place. We thought we’d check it out and save the proper show for the following night. We enjoyed our tinto verranas (a summer red wine with soda) while trying to get a glimpse of her stomping feet, but from where we were only saw her feisty face and swishing skirt.
The next day we set off toward the Plaza de España passing the Torre de Or, the Maria Luiz park and walking along the river on the way. The Plaza de España was like nothing I’d ever seen before. It was a large building with Moroccan style towers in a semi circle shape, cradling a body of water.
Bridges covered in swishes of paint strokes in the most delicate designs, under which romantic couples passed in their little rowing boats. The wrap-around of the plaza was decorated in artwork boasting the crests of each city in Spain.
It was just so incredibly beautiful and I was lost for words. And then the heaven’s opened and the rain came bucketing down. The signs of autumn have been there in the falling leaves and cooler evenings but this was like a sharp message of mother nature just telling us, “Hey! Summer is OVER.” Which is rather sad but I am also so enjoying the beauty of European autumn.
We thought we could wait it out but soon realised that that might take all day and so decided to go for it. It wasn’t too bad at first but then suddenly it began to pour. We were sloshing around in our saturated sandals, looking like drowned rats in dripping summer dresses- it was quite the spectacle. We changed outfits and then took refuge in a restaurant for a few hours enjoying the best patatas bravas I’ve had in Spain, a gourmet fancied up Spanish omelette and tinto verrana. The food in Sevilla was definitely the best in Spain!
We walked around the town to the Plaza de Neuva, the bullring and the gorgeous Santa Cruz neighborhood.
I then went to the Real Alcazar which is a palace with a very Moorish influence. It was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Rooms, courtyards and gardens all filled with arches, walls and staircases decorated in painted tiles with bright and bold colours. I felt like I’d stepped back in time or into another world. Just exquisite.
That evening we had our final meal in Spain, celebrating the past incredible 10 days in this country with traditional gazpachio and flamenquin (a sevillan delicacy of meat rolled over cheese and then deep fried). it was all so yummy and we sat the, content, as we drank our last sangria.
We had booked tickets to see a flamenco show and I, being a dancer myself, was beyond excited! We got there early and sat down front and center. My knees were literally touching the stage. The guy who introduced the show spoke first in Spanish and the in English. jodi and I looked at each other and said straight away, “He’s from South Africa!” We vowed we would go chat to him afterwards. And then the show commenced. Three musicians took to the stage, a male singer, female singer and male guitarist. They began playing and then from the corner emerged a fiery yellow and black polka dot dress. The dancer was so passionate and had such attitude, stomping her feet, flinging her body around and twirling her skirt, the cool air whooshing in our faces. She was incredible! Then the guitarist played his solo, plucking the guitar strings, coaxing the sound into something so inherently Spanish and beautiful. And then the male dancer started. I have never seen someone’s feet move at such a speed. His hands became clastinets and he pirouetted around that stage leaving us all breathless and filled with awe. Together as a group they worked so well and it was honestly one of the most incredible pieces of theatre I’ve seen- and I’ve seen a lot of theatre.
We went to go speak to the host and it turned out he was from joburg but had been living in Sevilla since he was 19. He was so thrilled that we’d loved the show so much and said that if we wanted to do a semester abroad in Sevilla then we just needed to get it sorted with our university and then he would open all the doors for us, give us a job as an intern at the flamenco company and teach us flamenco. We both said how we had fallen in love with Spain and desperately wanted to come back and live here and learn Spanish. Walking away we both tried to digest what had just happened and then a motor bike stopped next to us. It was an old man who had seen us at the show and saw how much we’d fallen in love with the art form. He taught us how to clap the 3/4 rhythm and said, “When you fall in love with a boy, what do you do? You follow him. You have fallen in love with flamenco, now follow it.” He said how we needed to come back live here and in that mioment we both got so excited for we knew that we would be coming back to Sevilla.
I absolutely adored my short but wonderful ten days in Spain, falling completely in love with the culture, lamguage, style of living and atmosphere. I know beyond a flicker if a doubt that I am going to be returning to Sevilla- hopefully to do some sort of semester abroad program. But we”ll see what the future brings. until then- good bye Spain and hello Portugal!