Posts Tagged ‘Sevilla’

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Ylang Ylang and Jacaranda

In the Prado de San Sebastian park surrounded by the blooming purple Jacaranda trees there is lovely little oasis where one can get a drink and recline on couches like a sultan in days gone by.

Today was our first day alone as my parents set out for Barcelona in the early hours of the morning. We slept in for the first time this trip and headed out late for another first: churros and chocolate. We will be having it again.

We strolled along both sides of the river venturing into the Triana district across the bridge.

Our main tourist activity was the Flamenco Museum. Very high tech but I’m still not sure what all of it means. The Flamenco show we attended last night was actually pretty good. Even if it was one of the seemingly hundreds put on around the city for the soul purpose of entertaining tourists. The performers were all very good and enthusiastic except for one portly bearded singer who seemed bored by the whole affair.

The only male dancer in the show was an extrememly tall, lanky fellow who seemed to take it all very seriously. Now having visited the museum I see that that is the point. Intensity and passion and a serious expression inclusive of an arched eyebrow.

In the evening we again met with Estefania, this time with her boyfriend Pedro. They took us over to the Triana for tapas. We stopped a couple of different places. The first was so popular we were lucky to grab a standing table out front. We had a Solomillo on toast. Very tasty.

At the next atop we had tortilla al whisky, solomillo al rocquefort, and huevos frittas with chrizo.

When we were in Italy I would do a daily Gelato flavor update. I feel like in Spain I shoul do a daily tapas update.

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Bitter Fruit

Sevilla is repleat with Seville orange trees, a bitter fruit not fit for consumption. They are instead harvested by the city and sold for the making of marmalade. Right now some of the trees are burdened with full ripe oranges and some just with little green pre-oranges that fall on you when the wind passes through.

These oranges can also be found in the local sangria we found out today at lunch.

So you know how in movies and tv shows when someone goes to a bar and orders a beer they never specify which beer they want, as if the bar only had one kind? Well in Spain it really seems to be like that in most places. You say “una cerveza” and you get whatever they serve. Usually you don’t have anyway of knowing. Fortunately none of it has been Bud or Coors so it’s been working out ok.

Last night we met with Estefania, a friend of a friend who had spent a year living and studying in Sevilla. She was kind enough to meet with us and show us around even though she hadn’t spoken to my friend in 16 years. He’d tracked her down when he heard we were coming through. She took us to a good bar for tapas and ordered us a wide variety of very tasty dishes. It was the kind of tapas experience you are supposed to have in Spain but can be surprisngly difficult to have if you don’t speak the language and don’t know where to look. After, we went to a place for dessert that had the most amazing looking (and tasting) concoctions. We ordered some to share and I ordered one made with the local oranges. It had a slight bitter edge off set by the sweet merangue and cake.

Today was laundry day and a bit of a revelation. The place that our hotel sent us to had a drop off and pick up service for the bargain price of 6€. Considering the time saved (and the fact that in Venice we spent more than that just trying to get our clothes dry) it was more than worth the price. I’m never going to do my own laundry in Europe again if I can help it.

In the afternoon we took a guided tour of the Alcazar with Concepción Delgado (suggested in Rick Steves). It was well worth it. Simmilar in styling to the Alhambra but not moorish. It was mujahideen. That is: remodeled and built atop a 10th century palace by arabic workers left behind after the reconquista at the behest of Christian king Pedro I.

The extensive gardens were quite lovely.

Tonight we are going to a flamenco show (because that it what one does when visiting Sevilla) and tomorrow my parents head off to Barcelona while we stay here for another day. Saturday we fly to Valencia.

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Toro, Toro!

After making an early evening of it we set out in the morning for Sevilla by way of Ronda, one of the white hill towns of Andalucia.

We only had a few hours there before needing to move on so our first stop was the bullring. It dates back to the early 1700s and is the largest in the world (according to the audio guide), which is kind of surprising as it really not very big.

The arena serves as a museum of the history of bull fighting as well as being an active arena, as evidenced by the blood stains left on the sand. The experience was pretty good. It gave a peak into the history and pagentry without having to experience any of the brutality of actual bull fighting.

Adjacent to the museum is a park overlooking the valley and has a spectacular view that stretches for miles.

Around the corner from there is the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) which spans a deep river gorge. It was completed in 1793 and replaced the old bridge which had been built in 1735 but collapsed six years later. Apparently they learned a lot about bridge building in the intervening years because the new bridge is still here.

After a quick lunch of pizza we headed off to Sevilla.

Oh yeah, we have been seeing a lot of this sign:

It makes me laugh.

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General Notes on Spain

I’ve added a bunch of links to the Spain Resources page including all of the hotels we’ve currently booked. Also, some museums and tourist bureau sites for the places we are going to.

We have been focusing on getting the first week of the trip locked down because that’s the leg that my parents will be joining us on before they head off to Barcelona and we head off to Valencia (after spending an extra day in Sevilla). Now that we’ve finished booking hotels for that part of the trip, we can start to concentrate on the rest.

As I mentioned, I had a lot of trouble coming up with a workable itinerary because Spain is so big and the train system isn’t quite as extensive or fast as it has been in some of the other countries we’ve visited. What finally enabled me to come up with a plan was using the cheap flights offered by Vueling to mke a few of the larger hops between cities more doable and time efficient.

We’re a little over two months out, and at this point I’m getting pretty excited about the whole thing. I even bought a new lens for the trip. One with a wide range so I could wouldn’t have to be swapping out lenses on the fly. Between that and my Lensbaby I should be all set.

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