April 29, 2018
I prefer to provide particulars of the places that I visit – Plus cultural, historical, trivial and even boring details. It seems however, that I have made myself so busy trying to see and do as much as I can in my limited (though actually quite generous) timeframe that I can hardly remember where I’ve been myself!
In truth, I recollect just fine (and I have the numerous pictures as proof!) it’s just that in addition to location and attraction names being mostly Spanish, they are often long and even when they are not, don’t lend themselves to ready retention…
The long and the short of it (mostly short) is that this and recent posts fall short of what I had hoped to deliver. Oh well…
I can tell you that based on the “health” application within my IPhone, I have walked many miles!! The four days that I visited Lisbon I logged 2.8, 10.6, 7.8 and 10.6 miles walking. While in Seville 7.7, 9.5 and 14.1. I don’t know how accurate it is, but if anything it may undercalculate based on some outings back home where my mileage and pace are known. I am loving my feet but they do throb at the end of the day and sometimes into the night. Most importantly, they are holding up, still no blisters and all walking since I finished The Camino has been accomplished in my Keen flip flops!!
Today I walked along the Guadalquivir River and there were so many people (and dogs) out jogging, cycling, walking, fishing, crew rowing, boating – and Even Triathalon-ing!!!
It was another gorgeous day – yet a bit nippy near the water and I was very happy to have on my hooded sweatshirt. I walked over one of the many bridges to Triana. “The first settlements in the Triana area are dated from the Roman period. During Muslim rule the neighborhood developed around a castle built in the 10th century. Triana was the last defence of Seville from the west before the city-walls.” In times past this was the “home” of gypsies and more recently the working class of tile makers as well as bull fighters and Flamenco dancers. “The best way to get to Triana is across the Puente Isabel II, known locally as the Puente de Triana.” It has been gentrified and is being revitalized and I found many folks out enjoying their Sunday morning!
I ducked into the big mercado and though most places were closed or just opening up, I found a spot to savor a delicious cafe’ con leche – surrounded by the memorialized heads (mounted on plaques) of championship bulll fighting bulls. Many posters, past and present, announced the arena events. “It’s built on the site of the prison, Castillo San Jorge, which was the headquarters of the Inquisition, now converted into a museum. During this period many ‘heretics’ – non-Catholics, notably Jews – were burned at the stake. Before 1481, when the Inquisition was instigated, Jews, Muslims and Christians had lived together in relative harmony in Seville.” (Some of the above is from Andalucia.com)
I continued to wander around and enjoyed the Sunday vibe. At one point I came along a guy playing guitar on a bench and seated next to him was a gentleman, perhaps in his 80’s, in a suit, hat and tie – belting out Flamenco song. Wow!!!
I do like a good adventure, but when it comes to spending precious dollars that I wish to maximize, I have a hard time spending them on food that I may not like or that I don’t think will nourish me. So much of the Spanish food that I’ve been exposed to is heavy on the carbs, devoid of vegetables (or really over cooked) and often fried. So I frequent the markets and just prepare a lot of my own fare.
Today though I decided to choose a street side table, people watch and roll the dice on some tapas! I chose the bacalao con tomate (cod baked in tomato sauce), espinacas con garbanzos which I must say was muy bueno (sautéed spinach and garbanzo beans) and azulejo Fueya! (blue cheese from cow). Delicious!!
I walked back over the river and once again to the Cathedral area. From almost any perspective the church spires and and bell towers and temples and city towers and fortress walls and lookout towers can be seen dotting the horizon – along with many modern buildings. One of the latter is the Metrosol Parasol that looks like a crazy misshapen waffle cone in the sky!!! “Six years in the making, the construction covers a former dead zone in Seville’s central district once filled with an ugly car park. Roman ruins discovered during the building’s conception have been cleverly incorporated into the foundations at the Museo Antiquarium, while upstairs on level two you can stroll along as a surreal panoramic walkway with amazing city views. The Metrosol also houses the plaza’s former market, a restaurant and a concert space” (from my hotel handout). I went up the stairs my first day here. Then I found out that for a 3 Euro charge you can ascend to the top, wander around on its edges and see astounding and spectacular 360• views!!! So I did that yesterday and it was truly an excellent choice!!
Another thing I don’t care to do is wait in long lines. Unfortunately the most renowned inner building viewings require this – and usually at a pretty penny, too. I know that I miss out on some spectacular, once in a lifetime opportunities – yet I feel like I do much more with the time I save Not standing in line. I know it’s not the same, but I figure that I can often find photos online or in books of these major attractions.
And boy – lines were around the block for the Catedral and inside the Royal Palace, Alcázar!! “Originally founded as a fort for the Córdoba governors of Seville in 913, Alcázar has been expanded or reconstructed many times in it’s 11 centuries in existence. The 12th-century Almohad rulers added another palace east of this, around what is now the Patio del Crucero. Christian Fernando III moved into the Alcázar when he captured Seville 1248, and several later Christian monarchs used it as their main residence. Fernando’s son Alfonso X replaced much of the Almohad palace with a Gothic one. Between 1364 and 1366 Pedro I created the Alcázar’s crown jewel, the sumptuous Mudéjar Palicio de Don Pedro.” (From my hotel handout)
I continued past all of the tired looking line waiters to the old Jewish quarter, the Santa Cruz district, where I stayed last year. The narrow, winding, whitewashed walls are so charming and seem to speak – along with the splash of bright colors here and there of a painted or tiled wall, fabric and flowers in windows and on balconies and worship filled frescos appearing on walls. And the tiny, lively, busy cafes – so much vibrancy!!
My feet were tired by this time. Truthfully- I was pooped! I had one more mission though – find the location of tonight’s Flamenco performance and retrace a route to my hotel so that I could make my way back later. If I didn’t get too lost I would have time for a shower and a rest!! Mission Accomplished!!
I have seen six Flamenco performances prior to tonight and Loved them all! I can’t conceive how it is possible, but tonight’s entertainment surpassed well above the others- and I was in the front row, my eyes level with the dancers’ feet!!!! The three singers and two guitar players at Tablao Flamenco El Arsenal were outstanding and fun to watch with their exchanges. The dancers were flat out talented, incredible and amazing!! I especially liked a dance by a mature, full figured woman which seemed to declare confidence, sensuality and flirtatiousness and the fellow’s dance evoking the exuberance, cockiness and capriciousness of a young man! Oh Happy Me!!
It’s off to the train station in the morning for my 6:30 ride to Granada!