Recently I flew home from a 24-day solo trip to Lisbon, Porto, Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Seville, and Lisbon again. If you like, you can start from the beginning here.
Day Twenty - Seville
Even though this is the farthest south I've been in Spain, today is by far the coldest I've experienced. And by cold, I mean 11 or 12 degrees, but still. I was spoiled by the sun and warmth of the other cities. This morning was a tour of the Cathedral and its Giralda tower. The tower itself I've seen depicted in illuminated manuscripts from maybe the 15th c., and again in paintings from the 18th. It gets around - or, more accurately, it's been a landmark for such a long time. When you climb the tower, it isn't steps you're climbing, but ramps. The guidebook tells me that this is because they used to ride horses up all 34 flights. That's all I could think as I huffed my way up there: Horses! Up here! Horses!
The Cathedral is huge - the largest in Spain, they say - with very ornate Catholic things that are probably very important to those who are Catholic. I liked the oval-shaped room the best, with its intricate ceiling. The ceilings here are incredible. They're like little prizes to reward you just for thinking to tilt your head upwards.
After the Cathedral I went back to Bar Europa for more great tapas: pork cheeks in a port wine sauce, and fluffy and scrumptious homemade partridge pate. Something was drizzled on the plate that looked like chocolate sauce but for all I know could have been some kind of high quality balsamic vinegar. Supertaster I am not. But it was delicious.
Then, off to find the Flamenco Museum. It's a little cheesy and not really worth the admission, but I bought the whole package and will go back tonight to see some actual flamenco. Fingers crossed it won't disappoint like the museum.
Well, the flamenco certainly did not disappoint! The dancing was joyful, smoldering and incredibly sexy. The guitarist and singer were sweating just as much as our two dancers: Ana of the long, polka-dotted dress (why polka-dots?) and Oscar, who resembled a latin Orlando Bloom from his long-haired pirate days. Ana whipped her train to-and-fro, spun and stopped on her heels, snapped her fingers, clicked her tongue, scrunched her dress up around her (the better to see her feet, my dear) and stomped and STOMPED in impeccable time. Oscar made himself grow taller and taller, inclining his head to look down on us. Then his legs became a flurry of kicks every which way, a jump, a flourish, and forever stomping on and off and subtly, with a smirk, just around the beat, getting faster and faster, and the singer gets louder and louder and the guitar strums furiously until you think that poor, bending wooden floor (and their knees!) just can't take it any more and boom. Ole!
Have I mentioned the orange trees yet? There are orange trees here just sobbing with the weight of their fruit. And yet, there are hardly any oranges on the ground. What happens to all of these oranges? Where do they go?
Tonight's tapas: a montedito (like a small panini) of smoked salmon and cheese, 3 pcs of jamon serrano, and shrimp on toast. One of my shrimps made a spectacular leap to freedom, bouncing off my sweater and both of my pant legs to the floor under the table, so I rationalized that I then deserved a dessert of a quince cheesecake tart. Quince! Just saying that name out loud makes me smile.
Oh! and I fixed my toilet tonight. Some magical knob on the wall needed a half-turn and voila. Plumbing badge earned!