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Viva Seville: Flamenco Dancing, Moorish Architecture, and Jamon Iberico!

Posted by Tni Newhoff on Friday, August 24th, 2007 at 7:11 pm
Position: 37.3832 by -5.9897 map

My latest ambition is to become a flamenco dancer. David will play flamenco guitar. I’m crazy…I know, but one can dream right???

We spent 3 wonderful days in Seville. After debating taking the boat up the Guadalquivir river to get there, we decided it was too long a journey for how long we were planning to stay and it would be unbearably hot anchoring on the river anyway, so we rented a car instead. Moonstruck joined us for the ride up and stayed in an apartment for a few days longer than us. It was both mine and David’s first time to Seville and we fell in love with it. Our hotel was centrally located, not that it mattered b/c what a great walking city it is. We would walk for hours, which was a good thing with all the eating we were doing. David had jamon Iberica (his new favorite) with just about every meal, we had fantastic paella more than once, and even had great Chinese food (we hadn’t had that in ages!). We were not wrong about the heat. It was no less than a million degrees! During the heat of the day all streets were empty and we could be found siesta-ing in our nice air conditioned hotel…thank god we didn’t anchor in the river! Nevertheless everything about the city feels so alive and full of energy. It’s August and the smell of jasmine was still everywhere. Imagine it in the spring.

Seville’s architecture is unreal. Everywhere you turn there is yet another stunning building to behold. Sometimes, it’s a palace and others, it’s a small dwelling on a tiny cobblestone side street in the Santa Cruz district (originally the Jewish quarter). We spent hours touring the Real Alcazar, a Moorish palace begun in 712 with additions continuing to be made for centuries. The tilework was exquisite. There was so much color and texture everywhere. The gardens made me envious of the Sevillanos who live there and get to enjoy them all the time.

The cathedral is the largest Gothic building in the world and the third largest cathedral next to St. Peter’s (the Vatican) and St. Paul’s (London). It was originally a mosque and when it was being rebuilt in the 1400’s, the Castilians decided that they wanted a cathedral so grand that “future ages shall call us mad for attempting it”. Mission accomplished! And it took them only slightly over a century to achieve it. Curiously, its architects are unknown but thought to perhaps be German or French.

And then there was the flamenco show. This is indeed a very touristy thing to do in Seville but we couldn’t help ourselves and were so glad that we took in a show. We selected ours carefully and spent a solid hour and a half completely enraptured. The music was live, played by a rotating cast of about 5. The dancing was both moving and invigorating at once. The performance gave me chills and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the stage. It was like stimulation overload with all of the beautiful sounds and bright ornate costumes. I left there with that familiar giddy, but not entirely common, feeling of when you’ve done or seen something that was just so over the top wonderful that the feeling stays with you for hours.

              

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