Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father's Day from Freiburg

Happy Father's Day to those of you who are Papa's receiving this!

Ryan and Angela are back in town and to Ryan's dismay his favourite hangout for breakfast and afternoon coffee, Granado shut down! The landlord increased the rent and owner was ready to retire anyway, but Ryan said it was his first home here in Sevilla. Finding the same conditions and food at a new place have been more difficult than you would expect. So, conditions are good bread, good ham, tomato, a comfortable seat and shade from the sun, oh, and about five minutes from the house since they need coffee soon as possible. Doesn’t seem difficult until you look and try and we were still on the quest a week later. I’ve been happy to join them on this journey because I like to hang and talk about business ideas. Final choice, keep reading...

Next event is the Europa League Final May 18 between Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers Glasgow here in Sevilla. It seems every two weeks we have the chance of a super spreader event and masks are not worn by 90%. So the streets are flooded with Scots wearing blue and white shirts. Media is reporting 100,000 to 150,00 people have come into the city for the match and most don’t have tickets to the game so bars with TV’s benefited. So while they are loud, shouting and singing they don’t have firecrackers! Around 17:00 for half an hour or so there were helicopter after helicopter going overhead. I am hoping they are press, not police, but didn’t get a look. Fans have been at it since about noon, it’s now 18:00 and still going, the game starts at 21:00 I think some will not be functional by then, video showing the craziness.

For a completely different subject, Butchart Garden this is a video I found on YouTube which brought back good memories from Victoria, BC

Butchart Gardens: a show garden outside Victoria about half a mile from my home in Brentwood Bay, BC. It was a major employer of the area and I think I am the only person in Brentwood who had never worked there. My sister did in the sometimes chaotic gift shop when touring tourists had time limits to get back to the bus. Another friend worked in the green houses under a master gardener and became a florist and landscaper. In summer they had firework shows for the two months which were spectacular. You could buy a summer pass and locals would pack a picnic to watch them on the expansive lawn. Jenny Butchart would, in the early days, walk behind the tourists and eavesdrop on their comments to improve the gardens. That’s a fact everyone knew in Brentwood but not well known elsewhere.

Back in Sevilla, we decided after the research that the new breakfast place would be a restaurant called Zeta in Plaza de la Gavidia, there one day we heard a huge bang, following video shows what happened.

Tree falling

El Rocio pilgrimage happened through our neighbourhood and I literally ran into part of it. Again they used big bangs which bothered me greatly but then seeing the procession across this narrow ally with oxen, horses and ladies and men dressed in more casual gear but like the Fair was great. The men wore medals on lanyards I suppose indicating the brotherhood they were from. I had looked at the map but had not realized they were coming through.

Sorry for the blur on this one but shows the hats and staff used. 

Pepe has finished his two year program of vino culture (I must ask him about the school) We celebrated it with Ryan and Angela and his mom at Al Aljibe on the Alameda then back to my place for champagne and a proper toast. I/we are so proud of his accomplishment! It has been a long road, living during the week away from his love Marta.

I tasted Lebanese food for the first time and by the taste, it won't be the last. We went here to Fatouch on one of the hottest days, we were all very hot and glad to come back to the apartment to chill.

Lunch at an Italian restaurant called Al Solito Posto with outdoor misters! Much appreciated!

Another day we took a taxi to Mariella’s coffee house and enjoyed breakfast there with poached egg, unheard of here, and various toppings on really good toast. I have blogged about her before. We talked for a long time about her business and the challenges since she roasts coffee for about dozen businesses. They have to be inspected and she talked about what needed to be done to conform, not too much. Then her daughter Sophia joined us and I was very impressed with this 20's something lady. She has a deep understanding of her mother’s business and a handle on the staff and procedure. She bakes the elaborate cakes for the cafe and is an accomplished baker and woman who travels widely with confidence. Lovely outing with good friends and new ones, which I appreciate so much more now after Covid coop up.

Rocio has brought me homemade gazpacho soup the last two times and it is super delicious! My last night in Sevilla, Ryan and Angela were at the apartment and Rocio came a bit later to say bye.

Now Lexi and I are in Freiburg and I am appreciating different things such as: cleaner, cooler air; no traffic noise; birds chirping; cows bellowing (we even have calves); and looking at green space instead of the building next door; no firecrackers. All is good.

Happy Father's Day! from Lexi and I

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Mother's Day!


This is a Jacaranda tree at the Museo plaza where the Sunday art market is.

We had Abril Feria this week so the streets were awash with horses and carriages, flamenco style dresses and men in suits. Here are pictures.

It's been a busy month of celebrations, first Semana Santa, then a football match (the opposing team brought and used firecrackers all day and night, boo hoo, they lost to our local team), then Abril Feria the April Fair. 

The Covid numbers are going up again, no surprise there, the crowding at the above mentioned events was intense and very few people were masked. 

I wish for you Mothers that you are treated to a very special day to honour your roles in our lives!

All the very best, from a fur-baby mother!


Friday, April 15, 2022

Happy Easter or Semana Santa (Holy Week)

Happy Easter weekend!

 Rick Steves explains Semana Santa

Palm Sunday April 10. Everybody is on the move and dressed to the nines. They are equally going in both directions on my street and the guide I received of schedule for processions makes me wonder. It is a moving parade of well dressed people who are definitely exited to have the processions back it’s palpable since the last was last 2019 and such an important tradition here. The down side is hardly any of them are wearing masks. After receiving the program for this week in a glossy brochure produced for the neighbourhood I am in, it seems I will see four processions, but tonight it just seems like party central. Elation, joy, happiness, and enjoyment are palpable.

Monday April 21. Holy Monday when two processions were scheduled to come by got rained out and almost the exact time they were due rain increased. Some had left earlier and sheltered in other churches. Such a shame for the brotherhoods after waiting two years and all the work it takes. The statues they carry are so very old they cannot get wet or they will perish. Crowds are still stacked up in the streets, minimal masking but lots of umbrellas. Wednesday they had a full procession, here are a couple of pictures.

Good Friday and a procession returns to it’s church (near me) at 06:00 complete with the crowd of viewers. People in Sevilla don’t take notice of time, during a celebration the hour doesn’t matter, they keep going until it’s over, above case in point.

A bit of an update for my lack of writing over the last few months. 

I visited Pepe and Marta at their new apartment and it is beautiful and so light inside which is uncommon here.

Contacted the owner of my clothing store which closed here in Sevilla, and bought a few new linen tops from Petra who is now in Estepona with a store called Be Happy  Customer service and colour choices are the main reason I keep shopping there and this time was no exception even done online. 

All over Spain experienced a Calima in March which is a dust storm from the Sahara desert in Africa and here is what it looked like in my building all the reddish brown is Sahara dust, such a traveller.

Here are a few pictures from my strolls around town. 

Artist "Wild Welva X"

Above specialty hat maker, wonderful colour!

These are used for wedding season, heard a clop clop behind me and here they are.

Here she is, you haven't seen her in a while.

All for now, Happy Easter, hope the bunny brings you lots of chocolate! (not a tradition in Spain)

Bev and Lexi Cat

Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Textile Gallery in St.Gallen and It's St. Patrick's Day!

I am wearing green as usual this St. Patrick's Day. I haven't posted for some time because the only travel going on these days is to grocery stores and the odd take away. So you are wondering why I'm posting this, well it hasn't been viewed before today. Angela, Ryan and I traveled through Switzerland in August 2020 for three weeks. We started in Colmar, France, then in Switzerland we went to Lausanne, Lucerne and St. Gallen, with a day trip into Lichtenstein. The museum visit, I enjoyed but, left in Draft position for reasons I don't remember now, so here you go.

The museum's website:

You may have clicked through Ryan and Angela's pictures, the link on the previous post, this was not in it. Ryan specifically wanted to show Angela the Alps so they took a day trip from St. Gallen to go into the mountains, I stayed in town and visited the Textile Museum.

The front entrance of the museum, beautiful sculpture!

The museum shows items of history going back to the middle ages with machinery brought in for embroidery in the mid-18th century. It explains the roles of various workers: designers, inventors, entrepreneurs, contractors. 

Hand tooled lace

It also outlines the textile industry in Eastern Switzerland eras: 

The linen era - white gold 1200 - 1700, called white gold because products were traded internationally bringing merchants wealth.

Cotton - the beginning of industrialization 1750 - 1850, the cotton from Africa was replacing linen or being blended and spinning machines were invented to speed up the process.

The age of embroidery - the golden years 1850 - 1914 the techniques of machine produced embroidery were invented in St. Gallen which made it and the products internationally famous.

Volunteer working the embroidery machine

The other side of the machine.

The embroidery crisis 1914 - 1950 both world wars, the depression caused the industry to decline dramatically. The Swiss government paid premiums to scrap the machines.

Eastern Switzerland's textile industry 1945 to the present day after the second world war it recovered somewhat but not to the extent it was before 1914. Today the focus is on high-end niche products for haute couture, lingerie, or innovative fabrics for medicine, architecture or automotive.

The current exhibition is Material Matters which showcases the raw form to the completed form of fabric and explores what influence the textiles have on our ecological system. It explains the negative effect "fast fashion" has on the system. 

I was fascinated with the whole experience, learned a lot and truly enjoyed my time there. What I hadn't remembered is that I like fabric and was a regular visitor to the Yurts in Madeira Park

St. Gallen for me was unique, here is a link to explain one of the reasons why. 

We stayed a week in Lausanne, with it's hilliness terrain and Lake Geneva; a week in Lucerne with the river running through and ancient bridges and then St. Gallen with multiple day trips from those three cities. It was an actual "summer vacation" for me, much appreciated and hadn't happened for a while.

Cheers, Bev and the travelling cat Lexi

Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year 2022!


Happy New Year, yes this is from Freiburg, I am in Sevilla at the moment.

Here's hope that 2022 is better (again).

Cheers, Bev and Lexi Cat

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas Friends! 

Each barrio or city district has unique sets of lights and these are different from what I remember from previous years here.

Christmas in Positano, Italy

Stay safe and enjoy! Cheers, Bev and Lexi Cat

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Hello from Sevilla

Sunday November 7 and I am back in Sevilla! Christoph drove me to Zurich airport where I had a comfortable wait of 3 hours in the business class lounge, even with a well ventilated smoking room. I flew into the sunset, it was beautiful! 

I landed to find Pepe and Marta were there to pick me up, yay! At the airport it was insane due to a health document required to enter the country, no social distancing and crossing crowds, ironic isn’t it… The flat was clean which Pepe said took a lot of effort by Rocio. Tomorrow will be the big food shop for Lexi and I. She was so very good again. Boxed up from 11 am to about 8:30 pm.

Shop done at El Cortes Englis for the basics but I didn’t buy a lot of vegetables since I am going to my local grocery tomorrow. That place is run by father and son and I was glad to see it was still there, and welcomed. Sadly the butcher is gone and replaced by one selling ham products only, another boutique type place. Went to the tobacco store and he was glad to see me. But what is happening here, the older vendors are having to sell out to newer ventures and I can only hope they make a living also. Visited the art/framing place and they were glad to see me. Coffee importer was welcoming, Chino store also. Today was a reconnection with the neighbourhood and felt very good to know people still remember me after a year and half and mask donned and greyer hair.

Of course there is no food to be had in the house and whatever I had left, like dried pasta, has expired so the first order of business is buying in food. Then unpacking, laundry, all the usual things and exploring a place I haven’t been since mid-July 2020. I’d shipped my parka and a couple of warm things to Pepe a month ago so he brought them over last Sunday when we had a chance to chat at length and catch up with our lives. I hope to visit Marta’s and his new home they had completely renovated. 

Liz is in town briefly and made time to come for lunch, I cooked tacos which I remembered was her favourite meal and one she gets very rarely. She brought her art portfolio over for me to choose a hand painted work of hers. By chance I chose the one she felt most appropriate to our friendship, one of the Museo de Bellas Artes entrance side panel of tile work, both very pleased.

I took it to our friends up the street, Curadror Decor, had it framed and this is the result, very pleased, again! Liz lives in a very comfortable RV and has done since a bit before lockdown the first time. Her jobs take her all over Spain so she gets to bring her house on wheels, perfect!

Another great happening, I had written to Peter for his birthday in September with no reply, same as last year. Bruce and I stayed at his Vienna apartment downtown in a great neighbourhood for the summer in about 2015. Bruce became very ill there and was in so much pain every minute of every day that when Peter saw it he pulled out all his medical contacts and basically gave Bruce and I another 3 years together. So this is a person to be respected and thanked. I received a letter from him this week! I was chuffed and glad to hear from him. He’s moved from the city to a ritzy neighbourhood in the hills with a view of the city and has a dog which he takes roaming over the parks and forests in the area. He sounds at peace and happy.

Two couples are coming into town for the Christmas season, Paul and Paula and Ivan and Lola I look forward to seeing them.

I went to the Picasso exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes and forgot not to bring my purse, had to go in a locker, but did remember my Irish passport to let me in for free. 

I had forgotten how beautiful the building is and that was a balm to how disappointed with the exhibition I was.

Maybe I missed something? But the paintings were dotted among the old masters in the building, not in one place. They are meant to showcase the masters influence on Picasso, so like paintings were hung beside each other. There were less than a dozen Picasso's to be hunted for. Honestly I found it disjointed and disappointing, again, maybe I missed the theme, oh well, I will keep going to exhibitions there because I haven’t been to many over my travels and these world wide famous artists are on my doorstep. I've been to a few cities with world famous art galleries, I.e. Louve, Paris; Van Gogh; Amsterdam, Bruce had been to before and had no interest in going back. Regretfully so, I didn’t go singly but I also have hated crowds even before Covid and those places are typically crowded with good reason.

At the back of the Museo is a hair cut place and a manicure/pedicure place, separate businesses but I have been to both shortly before lockdown March 2020. Need both services and the haircut place says come back in 45 minutes so I was surprised so soon but did. He’s scalped me using pinker scissors that thin out the hair, mine is already thin. We’ll see tomorrow the real result, also cut it dry which I’ve never had done before. Wait for tomorrow….. yup scalped, all I can say is, I’m really glad hair grows back.

You might want to know the Covid situation here, at the moment and for this past month people walk around inside and out with masks on, mostly, bars and restaurants are open, case numbers have remained low and vaccination rates are high so people think we've achieved "herd" immunity. All I and everyone can do is hope it stays that way.

All for now, Cheers, Bev and Lexi Cat who has settled in.