Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Andalusia Day and new trick from Lexi Cat

First off, a couple of links: here is Ivan's writing of our tour of Santa Cruz barrio.

"Postcard from Seville" a link to an article that describes Sevilla well, I think, from an outsider's point of view.

Friday, February 28 is Andalusia Day, when cities in Southern Spain celebrate the making of the state. It is a holiday so stores are closed, even the tourist ones. Restaurants open and do a thriving business with all the people flooding the downtown core. There was some sort of rally, people coming by with flags on staffs and singing. Ivan said it was geared more to a political slant and I don’t especially appreciate crowds so we stayed on the edge and tried to figure out where we had ended up. We were looking for the place we had the orange elixir we had with Ivan. Got lost again, knowing we’d been in that part of the city before but “where’s home from here?”

Luckily there is always a bodega to sit at and rest tired feet before continuing. Bruce had the map out at the bodega, asked where we were on it and smart-ass waiter says you’re in Sevilla. Guess he’s been asked too many times before, possibly because they have recently changed the street name it is on, not on maps yet.

I have never seen the younger women here more dressed up with mini-skirts and very high heels for Andalusia Day. Okay I talk too much about food and fashion, but they are both parts of the aura of Sevilla and will continue to do so.

Here is a shop chic-o-block full of flamenco dresses I mentioned before. Since most businesses close for siesta when we visited before it was closed. Second visit and it's open so I asked if I could photograph, only good manners in my mind. Bruce mentioned that in Canada if a non-resident just clicked away they could be thrown out of the shop, it happens, but always better to ask first.

The colours and the flounces, how do you get from one end to another?

There are many men's clothing stores here as well. They showcase what look to me like well made clothing, shirts, ties, cufflinks of every type, many beautiful and even bow ties, which I don't think I've ever seen before. Wonderful colours and textures. Many older men here wear corduroy pants, now I haven't seen corduroy on many people in Canada for a long time but do remember owning some and they were very comfortable.  

I'm adding some pictures in to show you a very small amount of architecture. Daily we look around and find something new. There are many, many churches in this city with bell towers.

Just one of many but looks Moorish to me, I am learning....

Doors, doors, doors, mostly very, very large and ornate. Some have smaller cut-outs in them to allow easier access for example in churches. We have seen one that is magnificently carved and plan to photograph it, will send, a work of art! This one is just one of many and I could do an entire post on doors, as I could on many things here, but the goal is to let you know at home what we are experiencing, not to go on about one subject to bore you but to give you some nice pictures of the area.

Did a rather large shopping and bought a roller cart. We’re both tired of heaving heavy bags home. Will leave it here for the next people.

Went to the Alameda de Hercules after walking around some, investigating the neighbourhood, particularly listening for traffic noise. There is a flat in that area we are interested in for winter. This seems to be cafe/bodega central and more for locals than tourists. We tend to go there on Sundays and seems there is usually something happening. This time it was an open air market with artisans selling some really good looking jewellery and sewn articles like shawls and purses. Tempting but didn't buy.

End up at the local again, sorry if you’re bored about that but every time is a different experience. Alonso served us, a la casa, muy bueno, (very good) spinach with garbanzo beans that was lightly curried, absolutely muy bueno. Our vegetarian friends would really appreciate the flavourfulness of it. 

This next time, is special, a busy Saturday. Alonso has figured a table for us, people leaving soon. A group of about six people start to take over the table. Alonso shoos them off and motions us over. So now these people are standing on the sidewalk waiting for a table. We offer to share the table but they don’t do that here like they do in Freiburg.  They witness Alonso bringing us a drink and an appetizer we didn’t ask for.  I really wondered about his business decision on this one! Thirsty, hungry people in numbers and here we, only two of us seated, eating and drinking. A table came up for them inside and he motioned them in, must have been fine because we didn’t see them leave during our stay.

So the appetizer we think is beef Tartare is the best Bruce has ever eaten, he likes it better than I, can’t get around the idea of eating raw beef. It’s spiced so wonderfully, melt in your mouth. Bruce writes on a napkin to compliment the chef and ask what it is called in Spanish, from his dictionary.  Alonso comes back it’s actually tuna Tartare! He brings us Venezuala wrist bands for us to wear as amigos (friends) to him, they are striped in Venezuala flag colours. We put them on and wonder how to get him something Canadian to give back.  On-line I have ordered lapel pins which somehow will be turned into a wrist band for him. Hmm, lapel pins are rather conservative when everyone who wants to exhibit a cause now wears wrist bands.

On a completely separate note, and domestically, Lexi cat has found a new way to get what she wants. Her food bowl was empty in the middle of the night and she wanted to eat.  She closed the bedroom door and then scratched at it, woke me up. I opened it and went back to bed. She closed, I opened, she closed, now I’m getting seriously ticked off! Go to the kitchen to get a glass of water and she leads me to her empty dish. I fed her and she left the bedroom door alone. Darn smart cat, darn dumb Bev for not picking up on the obvious the first or at least the second time! Although next day while we were out she shut the door on herself and had to wait for our return. I think she's learned, Bruce calls it learning by approximation, meaning: try something out, go with it, but if it doesn't work the next time you modify. Both of us are amazed at the intelligence of this cat. Bruce has had about twenty cats and has never seen this behaviour.

Bruce has been without a keyboard for weeks now, frustrating for him. As ususal he probably spilled something on it and fried it. Computer still works. So today I had to print out our newly acquired air line tickets at a local computer shop. He looked at the Spanish keyboard and it isn’t all that different from the English one, easier to use than a German one which has switched keys i.e. the y and z. So now he’s completely functional again on his computer and much happier. I know, we should be out enjoying Sevilla, not on computers. But they are our way of connecting to the outside world, news and email. Ivan gave us a phone which is appreciated for calling taxis when needed but to really stay in touch with everything a person needs a computer and WiFi. 

Still waiting on the orange blossoms, getting closer, actually saw some flowers yesterday but mostly buds yet. The potted flowers in the courtyard here are also coming out. Will inundate you with pictures and wish there was a smell program I could send when they are at their peak.

Last few days we’ve walked our little legs off exploring another neighbourhood starting around the Parasol because it is fairly central.  Good walking days for us both and sunny, slightly cool so just perfect to get around in. That Parasol may be built in the wrong location but it continues to fascinate me. Such a magnificant sculpture! Read my previous posts about it if you haven’t and are wondering what I’m jabbering on about. So Sevilla is finally coming together for us, we turn a corner and recognise that we’ve been there before via a different route.

We look forward to tomorrow and a visit to the Alcazar, a palace still in use, with Ivan and a visit to his family's favourite bodega they go to for celebrations. 

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the door closing Lexi Cat.

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