Sunday, December 21, 2014

Back in Love with Sevilla!

There are several letters in English that are difficult in Spanish and vice-versa. The letter X is one. Lexi’s name is difficult for people here to pronounce. Her real name is Alexandra but seemed a bit large a name for a small cat so we shortened it. Alexandra in Spanish is Alejandra so her new Spanish name is Lajandra – h is replaced by the j so it sounds like Lahandra. Pepe Senior calls here the “No Meow Gata” because he was impressed she was so quite in the car and when we showed her to his wife and friend.

Not so many photos this blog so will intersperse with views from the flat.

Our view from the living room window, one with more detail coming up.

As per above, it was a Convent, maybe still is, this is the back of it and I haven't photographed the front yet.

Landlord Pepe came to the flat and we got the few questions we had answered. He took us to breakfast at his favorite establishment and it was good, eclectic in decoration which was fun to see, all authentic older Spanish utility items on the walls, sepia photographs of times gone past. He wanted to take us to a different market to shop than we usually go to but had a business appointment nearing time so we sent him along to it, not to make him late. He brought the bundle buggy with some oranges and lemons from Pepe Senior’s finca (farm) yum! We took advantage of the wheels again and stocked up some more, seems like we are always doing that.

These "pots" adorn most rooftops, ceramic as are the tiles. I could do a whole post on them, lovely!

Saturday and it’s raining we’re to meet Ali and Andy (US Expats who live in Freiburg but are in Sevilla now) for lunch in front of El Cortes Ingles, the department store in Plaza del Duque de la Victoria, just as a spot most buses go through. Passing Amarillo Albero we make a reservation. Waiting for them, thunder and the skies open up and pour, I mean seriously pour! Once meeting them, they are already soaked having stood near a puddle when a car went by and drenched them. Water is building up on the streets into rivers you cannot get around and have to walk through. Shoes soaked, bottom of pants soaked, head streaming with water down my neck. Thank goodness for my purchase of waterproof mascara a day or so ago, racoon eyes are not so attractive on anything but a racoon, Ugh.

Last time in memory we have encountered this complete downpour was Monpelier, France. We ducked into a doorway which happened to be a dance school. Young men came out in their skivies and danced in the rain. It seemed to let up so we headed back to our hotel but before reaching it through the streets which were now rivers I walked completely through my sandal making it difficult to walk the rest of the way, did of course.

I usually say, a little rain never hurts, after all, we’re from the “wet” Coast aka West Coast but in both situations this was like someone turned a faucet on.

Nice lunch though with good, sometimes a bit bizzare conversation between Bruce and Andy, both highly imaginative types. Wind whipped umbrellas across the street and the awning in front of the bodega just about off. Still pouring buckets when we’ve finished and had delayed some hoping for it to clear a bit but didn’t so we hailed a cab to go the four blocks to the apartment. Hung up all wet clothing and are NOT going out again tonight. I expect many floods because it has been dry, leaves are down constricting the drains and glad we’re on the first (Canadian second) floor of the building. Aside from the weather a very nice visit with the two and was very good to see them!

Bruce accidentily brought the garage door clicker/opener from Freiburg to Sevilla and there is only one which our partners will need while there. Partners have threatened to dump him upside down to empty his pockets before leaving next time. Sevilla has only one main post office which used to be down the street from the flat but moved close to the Cathedral last year. It’s a fair hike from the flat now so we cabbed to it, bought postage for the padded envelope we are sending it in and posted. Didn’t take long, they have a “take a number” system depending on four areas of services they provide that works well, no line ups, especially at this time of year.

Same view as "one pot" but two and showing a roof garden, of which there are many in Sevilla

Walked along the Cathedral and into the pedestrian area of many shops and eventually back to the flat. Day was warm and very pleasant. It was nice to be back in the touristy area for a little bit but wouldn’t want to stay there for an extended period of time. It’s expensive, cerveza, beer costs 1.50 Euro per glass in our neighbourhood and it was double that at the café we stopped at. Found a specialty shop for food off the main shopping street that has every type of Andalusian ham imaginable along with many other great finds from the region. They were busy putting together gift packs to mail for Christmas.

Christmas decorations abound, lights across the top of the streets, stores, trees of pointsettias, pretty. Oh, sorry to be a Scrooge but I don’t enjoy canned or taped Christmas carols much and they’re everywhere here too and in English mostly, same as what we hear in Department stores in Canada.

Children with helium balloons festooned the streets this day. Really not sure what that was about. Last day of school until January 7th and the teachers take the kids to a park, balloons are supplied by banks.

Real detail above the door across the street, I think it's beautifully done and a pleasure to look at.

Found a couple of new, to me, Spanish blogs and apparently many expats living in Spain use Facebook to connect so while I don’t use it much perhaps that’s a way to get better connected with what goes on. I suppose it’s that way for most groups and it’s primary use I haven’t taken advantage of to date. Doh, me the reluctant social media person.

Here's another . Ivan wonders why I read expat blogs, perhaps because they point out the differences for a non-Spanish speaking person living here. Perhaps, also, they are not the most accurate rendition of real Sevilla life, shaded by their English background. However, all information is good and I can usually filter what isn't quite correct or real.

Our day out with Ivan was supposed to include the following: go to a wheels rental place and look for wheels for Bruce, see the Triana Market and the Ceramic Museum, then lunch with viewings of the nativity scenes. Didn’t quite turn out that way.

Bruce woke with a throbbing toothache so we changed plans, as you know we sometimes do. Went to the wheels store and found what we think will work very well for him but rented for a week to make sure with option for rental or purchase the rest of the time we are here. It’s gently used so to buy would be half price, a good deal if Bruce likes it.

Then on to lunch at Sol y Sombra meaning two things: “sun and shade” or the drink, equal parts of anise and brandy. Andelusia delight with authentic pub and saloon decorated completely on the walls with programs from bull fights going back years. Christmas lunches are in full swing so there were large groups in to enjoy the food. We had a salad of prawn, cooked peppers, onion, olive oil and lemon, just wonderful. Then Solomillo (pork) la Whiskey with roasted garlic cloves also wonderful! They apparently do a great oxtail stew there but we were full, Bruce couldn’t eat due to the tooth so Ivan and I enjoyed.

Most excellent lunch, most excellent company!
Ivan said Sevilla is known for aircraft engineering and a company is currently building one here for the US Military. They employ many people, which is good business for Sevilla.

In Triana, the District we were in where ceramic tile was manufactured and fishermen plied their trade, Tempura was used to fry the fish. Japanese fishermen came to Triana and took the receipe home with them, along with previously mentioned, the painted fans used by the geisha, items I had thought started in Japan.

Bruce needs antibiotics sooner than later, can feel infection settling in, so after calling around Ivan made us an appointment, not happily, at an emergency clinic to get Bruce some antibiotics, but then he called his Dentist and got an appointment for even sooner and with a professional he trusts. He drove us about fifteen minutes out of town with a very competent staff of Dentist and associates. We were both happy to go directly to the Dentist so we can book further appointments to get Bruce fixed up fully. An accomplished day, not an especially fun one, but lunch was a welcome oasis of pleasing tastes.

When we viewed this suite last year there was a wonderful aroma of food in the hallway, came back yesterday to smell the same, wish I could can it and send it along with this blog, mouthwatering! And we want to get some! But knocking on doors to find out where it’s coming from and begging for a taste would be just rude, too bad really.

Detail of eaves over the door across the street, like the lichen on the tile.
Here, again, lucky on many levels, we travel slow so with the time we can get these things taken care of without too much grief or stress. We have Ivan who is not only our guide for fun trips but helps us with interpretation, phone calls and local research for unusual items i.e. Bruce’s wheels and the right Dentist. Thankful!

By now you are probably wondering how many sets of wheels Bruce has? Why didn't we do our research, well we did but until road, rail, cobblestone tested it's difficult, I'll leave it at that.

Bruce took his wheels and tested them going to the Alameda Plaza. We turtled in the lovely sunshine for a while a bodega called Badulaque which has good food and, as with most places, good orange juice. Anyone that serves canned orange juice here should have their license revoked! It’s just not right!

Never before have we seen so many Whippet breed of dogs! There was an organization set up in the plaza dedicated to them and it seemed every time we turned around there was another. Honestly not my favourite breed but they are used for racing in North America and if you’ve ever seen one run they are amazingly fast.

We could hear drums, when investigated it was a large group, probably twenty or so drums beating in time to a leader. Had me and many others dancing to the beat! Then on to Amarillo, busy as usual for a Sunday but the difference was a puppy held by her human parents who defined cuteness! So lovely we could hardly keep our eyes off her. Think she was a bulldog but so young it was hard to tell. Everyone in the bodega was oohing and aahing and petting her. 

Here is a video a friend sent me, turn on the sound, it's a marvel of technique and fun! Forwarded from Canada but made in Germany, Edeka is a large grocers all over Germany, we shop at a couple but not like this!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad!

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat who won't be wearing a Santa hat, she'd eat it or chase it!

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