Sunday, April 17, 2011

Passion and Pretty Windows

You can imagine the disorientation we felt after taking a cab to a plane to a subway to a bus to arrive in Seville, Spain at 6:00am bleary-eyed and hung over from travel.  We’d slipped back into our comfort with travel in developing countries while in Morocco, so with the clean early morning streets and set prices (and churros for breakfast!), there was the additional shock of readjusting to the western world. 

Seville, Spain is a town of passion.  From gorgeously-dressed Spanish couples cuddling on the streets to the sensual smell of jasmine and orange trees – one is surrounded by sense-tweaking images, feelings, and tastes that it’s hard not to be swept up by it all.  For instance:

1.  The preserved architecture: Seville has preserved and commemorated its rocky history (ahem…the Inquisition, Muslim and Christian battles over the ruling of the city, etc.) in ways that many cities are not able to.  Seville has maintained its beautiful white-washed rambling streets, 11th century palaces, and gardens to the point that one is amazed by the age of some of the buildings - often 1000 years old and not the assumed 100.  The Jewish Quarter (or juderia) and Alcazar grounds are just some of the older areas we wandered through with our mouths open wondering how it was possible to soak it all up in only a few days.  Sadly, only recently have monuments and plagues started to go up in honour of the cultures that have disappeared, but at least they are going up – and being honoured with Unesco World Heritage labels to boot.

2.  The smells: As Steve said, “This is the best smelling city I’ve ever visited.”  Seville is known for its 1500 orange trees, and in early April, we were fortunate to experience orange blossom time.  I’d be lying if we didn’t have a conversation or two about capturing the smell a la Willy Wonka’s factory somehow, but we had no luck.  The least we can do is show some photos and if you’re inclined to scratch your monitor and take a whiff, I won’t be the one to stop you.

3.  The tastes: I admit, I was tiring of one too many veggie couscous dishes in Morocco and was ready for something new.  We couldn’t have picked a better spot than the land of tapas.  Mmmmm, tapas.  Why decide on one dish when you can have 5 little ones?  And even better – they’re sharable, which are the best kind of meals!  Every day (when not eating our home-made organic meals – another bonus of entering back into the western world - boutique organic food stores), we’d have our meal of tapas, whether it be lunch (at 3pm) or dinner (at 10pm).  The Sevillians (and we’re finding, the Spanish in general) have a shifted day that seems to welcome the most sunlight and puzzle the early-to-rise-early-to-bedders such as ourselves.  But, we did it.  We shifted, and we even woke up past 8am one morning. :)

4.  The religious passions: We are fast approaching Easter week here in the Catholic country of Spain, but my guess is that the city is passionate in this way regardless of the holiday.  The largest cathedral in the world lives in Seville and it’s known as “The Home of God: Built by the Hands of Lunatics” because in 1401, when an (already huge) mosque was going to be converted into a church, the authorities said something along the lines of, “Let us create such a building that future generations will take us for lunatics.”  So, yes.  They’re crazy about their religious passion, and they’ve got a Museo de Belles Artes that is 80% gorgeous religious art to prove it.

5.  The windows: These deserve a section of their own.  The way with which Sevillians decorate and let flowers, vines, and other amazing foliage spill over their sills and into their foyers is infectious.  Now if only we didn’t have a cat who thought plants = snacks, I’d want to do the same thing.

6.  The flamenco: The pain, the suffering, the wailing – the passion all started in Seville.  We attended a flamenco show in which we were shushed by a woman closely resembling the Venus of Willendorf who proceeded to dance the flamenco taps, jumps, hops, claps, and hard glares for 45 minutes straight.  Upon her final pose there was a moment of utter silence amongst the crowd before a roar went up to an eardrum-bursting decibel.  Her wailing singer and guitar player only added to the mood.  Well worth the $1.20 glass of delicious Spanish wine.  Have a (slightly obstructed) look...

Ah, yes.  Aye, dios mio, si.  As I mentioned, we wandered the streets for 4 days with our mouths agape and inhaling the smells of the blossoms.  It was mรกgica.  It was delicious and passion-filled.  It was pure Seville.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful spot! Will have to add it to my bucket list. Love to the 2 of you! Lynda