Saturday, February 27, 2016

Monastery Santuario de Loreto

Thank you goes to Ryan for clearing up the name of the marathon. It is sponsored by Zurich Insurance Company not the City of Zurich.

Ivan took us to a monastery named Santuario de Loreto. A monk, dressed in street clothes, one of sixteen that live there, did the walk through and guided tour. I was gob-smacked! 

The Sanctuary

The Virgin

The ceiling

Separate rooms full of beautiful things, statues, the Virgin is a small statue, smaller than most with lovely detail, on a dais that can be viewed up close from an upstairs room or from the alter. The altar was floor to very high ceiling, about three floors, and so ornate it was difficult to see all the details. 

A room devoted to embroidery, beautiful robes, with lace skirts, wall hangings and grand, old tomes of books they are still categorizing. 

Everything was in glass cases, Ivan and I almost chased each other around one, he was trying to explain something and we couldn’t connect there for a moment, funny. Another room had all the statues and details needed for the procession with an International twist of beautiful objects brought back from different countries the priests visited while trying to bring Christianity to other cultures, Bali and Japan were represented. 

The cabinets to hold these gold and silver objects alone were ornately carved wood and donated by a benefactor to the monastery. It was well maintained and built in the same style as the one we visited earlier this year which was under renovation, Mudéjar, mix of moorish and christian styles. 

There were so many more pictures so I did some serious editing. Next we went to the neighbouring winery but I'll save that for another post.

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Never a Dull Moment and that's Good!

On the way to the Alameda the other day I saw these three wonderfully painted doors. This is a new cafe/wine bar just opening up, good! Artist's website I didn't catch the name of the restaurant but will see what they have to offer and report back.

So Sassy!

Such a Gentleman

Such a Lady

Bruce ordered some Canadian type foods from a company in London, to be shipped here. There was some confusion with the order and he received double of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup - oops. We'll be eating the darn stuff till the cows come home.

That's a lot of soup!

Our Freiburg flat partners (Bruce’s sister and brother-in-law) Dawna and Erwin were in Sevilla for this week. It was lovely to see them and catch up. We had Mimosas with fresh squeezed orange juice while chatting and them exploring this flat. Then went for lunch at Al Ajibe where the food and service is always good, outside seating in a heated surrounded patio makes it comfortable to sit out even in cooler weather. 

Thursday we met with Dawna and Erwin again to lunch and talk some more, working out summer plans and more catch up. We lunched at Casa Manalo Leon which is an upscale restaurant close to the river, a gem really with such a lovely atmosphere inside and patio outside. Food was wonderfully tasty and service very good. Coming back to the flat we ran into Pepe and Pepe Senior. Good to see Senior again, haven’t so far this trip, he’s busy working in his vineyard developing new wines at which he is a master on a small scale of production.

Regarding those summer plans, so far we’re booked in Ghent mid-July to August then decided to go to Paris for the rest of August and part of September before going back to Freiburg. The other day, after much hunting, and looking at how many trains between locations I decided to cut to the chase and take faster trains, less stops which means bigger cities. As long as we can find a neighbourhood we are comfortable with i.e. groceries and cafes close and architecturally interesting buildings we'll be happy.

Sunday and we go once again to the Art market and this time found a wall coat hanger, it’s on, oh heck, I’ll just take a picture to show you once it's hung, think musical notes, another piece that we’re so pleased to add to this flat, unusual and unique. There are three metal work artists that work together and they gladly gave us the name of their studio to go visit. They make a living from their work and the one said it was hard in these times.

Next we went to see the Zurich Sevilla marathon (why Zurich is mentioned I haven’t been able to find out). It’s the flattest route in Europe and this is the third year we’ve witnessed it. We grabbed a table at a restaurant not open yet, but they didn’t mind us staying. Angela and Ryan joined us and caught the last of the marathoners coming through. All kinds of pain exhibited in their faces, although thankfully not all. We had a good lunch and stayed for a while, people were “lined up” to get tables all over the Alameda, nice warm day and many people in town for the marathon. It’s a marathon that is growing in numbers quickly, last year 9000 participants, this year 13,000 and “sold out” before the end of January due I suppose to the numbers of volunteers it takes to make it run smoothly.

Walking home and there are two brass bands in two locations outside churches. At home about 7:30 pm and I hear more music, like a dirge, look out the balcony to find a procession coming down the street. 

Only in Spain I think
Jesus on a moveable coffin, eight men to carry him and priests and candle lit lights, the containers that burn herbs wafted back and forth in the hands of grandly garbed men. Next day there are blobs of red wax on the street from the candles they carried. The procession is called Via Crucis meaning Way of the Cross.

Quite a diverse day, art, marathon, think spandex, religious ceremony, think ceremonial robes, and that is why we are here! 

Cheers, Bx2 & Lexi Cat

Monday, February 15, 2016

Authentic Spanish Taberna and Furniture Arrival

Ivan took us out of town to an industrial area to a ceramic house. We’d seen a large pot at the arts market in the Museo plaza and since the vendor wasn’t there last Sunday we went to his shop. 

The pot is a reproduction of Iberian design, painted with soil, yes, soil before they had paints, and kiln fired. We got his last one because he said people didn’t appreciate the work that went into it. We are going to turn it into a coffee table so it’s not a useless piece, put a glass top on it and voila. 

Bruce's research tells us this shape is for storage of olives or olive oil. The pot is called an amphora and has been made on a pottery wheel. They were a major Roman export from this region, made from the mud of the Guadalquivir River valley which flows from the mountains past Sevilla to Cadiz. He's still reading and we're learning more but I won't bore you any further.

Horses in the middle of an industrial zone - surprise!

Thanks to Ivan for the following pictures. Then we went for lunch to a bodega in another small town called Villanueva del Ariscal, at Taberna El Mellizo (Mellizo means twin). Their food is typical Andalusian and made from scratch in house. They offered shots of some liquor after on the house so we took one to split just to taste. Almost medicinal in flavour with a lemon back note. Not really my cup of shot but nice to try something different. We were there for opening and then it filled up with families, quite a large place you wouldn’t think, if you didn't go past the first room, two more rooms and an outdoor patio for the summer across the street. 

Menu to tick off your choices, olives and shelled peanuts

We were served peanuts in the shell, shells go on the floor, and yummy olives to start. This is a place for local families to enjoy a well cooked lunch or dinner in comfort, dirt floors, rustic furniture, interesting pictures on the walls, fireplace, very cosy and got quite loud when it filled up. 

I haven’t mentioned before but people here talk loud and over one another. That seems to happen with large groups no matter what nationality but it is prevalent here and of course they drop the ends of words, and talk so very fast there is little hope of me understanding what they say, no eavesdropping for me...

They make their own wine, young called Musto, like in Vienna

Saturday and we wandered up to the Seta’s or mushrooms in English what the Metropol Parasol is called by people from here. There is a lovely fresh food market under them now and new restaurants around mostly ethnic. We hadn’t walked around this area since last year when none of it was there so all new to us. It is nice to know our way around a city and still find new things to see, which happens a lot because we are only in a city a few months at a time. 

Started this Sunday with a coffee and tostada, read on why I was grateful for having done so… Great lunch with Angela and Ryan again, before lunch we started at the art show at the Museo as Bruce and I always take a look at on Sundays, with still a few walls to decorate. We went down our street to a restaurant I won’t name because it was super, super busy and I waited, not sure how long but minimum an hour, likely closer to two hours to get my meal. Bruce got his order first, rather fast and then we all waited, and waited, and waited… A waiter brought me a tapa in the meantime which was kind of him. Ryan and Angela go there frequently and are friendly with the staff so while knowing they were super busy and obviously over stressed in the kitchen I kept my mouth shut, in more ways than one! Actually I cadged bites off Bruce's meal to tide me over. Ryan had a good point, one has to be very patient in Spain. An afternoon sitting in the sunshine with friends, made it pleasant anyway.

Waiting, waiting, chairs are due today, table is due, final light fixtures in customs. Pepe came over and installed the three light fixtures we have an they look wonderful! Really pleased although the installation wasn’t without it’s difficulties but patient Pepe worked through it all, the man is a gem and we are lucky to have him as a resource.

Chairs arrived Friday, two tub like ones with blue cushions. They are comfortable but I need an extra cushion because they are a bit low for me. Oops, they are in the house for about three hours, we have lasagne for dinner and Bruce tips his plate over onto the chair. What a mess! So into the wash the cover goes, trial by lasagne.

Table arrived Wednesday after 8 pm. It’s big and heavy and they only sent one fellow to deliver it. Couldn’t believe it! Pepe was leaving after installing more lights and helped him out. Too big for the elevator so they had to take the stairs. This fellow on his own would never have been able to do it. Thank goodness Pepe was there to help! The fellow drove from Toledo to here, probably after working a full day, it’s a four and a half hour trip. He had a place to stay in one of the smaller towns outside of Sevilla before going back in the morning. I cannot say Spanish people are lazy that’s for sure.

Wednesday Pepe installed along with the dining room light a bathroom light. For the bathroom he didn’t have his drill with him and I agreed we’d stick it to the wall with double sided tape. It fell, so he got more tape and smeared the back of it top to bottom. Next morning it fell spectacularly and shattered a bulb and the outer coating. Hmm, well that didn’t work so he returned with his drill to re-install. It’s hard to do anything in a bathroom with no light.

We're getting there furniture wise. Still need a few things but it's comfortable and we like the look, lucky really, ordering much of it over the net. 

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Visit up into the Mountain Range of Sierra Morena

Palm trees at the Museo Plaza

Unless you look up from a side of the plaza you don't see these beauties. To the right and left are very large ficus trees, roots are incredible, picture next blog. There is a blight that affects the palm trees in Sevilla, and sadly, many have had to be cut down. In a nearby plaza El Duque there are many less than last year. Green parrots roost and nest in them and I wonder what happens to them too, their chirping reminds me that we are in the tropics.

We took a drive with Ivan into the Sierra Morena mountain range to a monastery called Santurio de Setefilla in Lora del Rio, it’s in-between the cities of Carmona and Cordoba which could be another day trip or two from Sevilla. On the way we stopped off at his Uncle’s garden nursery called Ri-Garden Lora. He sells everything from sculpture, furniture, plants and oranges and potatoes grown there. We bought a sack of oranges holding about fifteen for two Euro, bargain and so yummy!

We were only able to see the outside of the Sanctuary, caretaker was at lunch but, it was beautiful. 

Tile work over the entry door.

The area around it is dotted with hills that have caves inside and those caves were used by banditos years ago. Behind the sanctuary on another hill were castle ruins, we took the lazy route and didn’t hike up to get a closer look. 

We had lunch at Las Palomes (the doves), a restaurant and Apartment Hotel on the Jose Toran reservoir. Food was great, view fantastic! Go to the website for more history of this area.

Ivan's picture of Jose Toran reservoir

They specialize in wild meats but I had unpeeled, grilled prawns, very messy, but of course they know that, and gave me wash up cloths.

Stopped to take pictures of the Jose Toran reservoir and Ivan warned us to watch our footing, lots of rabbits around that area, didn’t see one but do see them still furry for sale in the food market, awww, I won’t be buying one of those! 

Wound our way down the mountain past hectares of sunflowers spottily in bloom, when in full bloom would be beautiful. We past olive groves, cork trees, pastures with sheep, goats and horses, lovely drive.

Apology, I’ve written this a week after the trip and am sure I’ve forgotten many things about it, well sometimes those things happen… 

On the home front the biggest news is that we received our couch set! Dining table and chairs are on their way, so we are finally getting fitted out, it does take a while. We found this in Germany also, space being a premium, the stores have floor models to give ideas but everything is ordered and is usually on a six to eight week delivery, anticipation anyone or just plain impatience? A little of both for me.

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat