Great things about Spain, Seville

Visit Seville, or else…

After last week’s blog titled Nutters in Seville, I want to make it clear that I do actually love the city I’ve chosen as my home, and that despite its downfalls there are plenty reasons to visit, and even live, in Seville.

I’d like to stay clear of the obvious reasons that anyone could find out with a quick search on google, such as the marvellous weather, the impressive cathedral, and the breath-taking festivals: Semana Santa and the Feria. I want to dig deeper, and let anyone interested in visiting Seville just what you can expect.

seville-sevilla
Beauty… Photo by Calvo Pastor

Azahar

If someone was to take off my nose and ask me what smell I’d missed most about Seville, then I’d definitely say azahar, the orange blossom that comes out at the start of spring, normally just in time for Semana Santa. For me it’s not just the lovely sweet smell that the orange blossom gives off around the city, but the memories that it sparks.

I started to fall in love with the smell of azahar around the time when I fell in love with my wife. I still remember our first Semana Santa, where she started to open up and show me the real her and what drove her passion in life.

I also remember the year my Dad visited and my father-in-law had the decency to pick off some orange blossom near plaza San Pedro, wrap it up in a box. He gave it to my Dad, so my mother could experience the richness and special smell of the city and festival too. As the azahar was packed in the box for eight hours, when my mum opened it up the smell exploded from the box. My Mum was speechless, which was probably a first.

My recent memories are of the week when our daughter was born, during Semana Santa. The first time we walked with her around the city, when she was all cute and snug in her pram, we were knackered from not sleeping, but content that she was in the world. I remember sniffing the air, and being filled with life as azahar shot up my nose and made me feel proud of the baby we’d made.

Romance

Having come from living and teaching English in Bangkok, my exposure to romance had been stolen from me. There it’s frowned upon to show affection in public places, and no, ping pong shows don’t count. It was a cold and sad way of living, the complete opposite to Seville, where you can see the love being felt on a daily basis.

Seville is a very coupley place. I don’t know many people who stick it out here for long if they don’t get snapped up by a local, or fall in love with a fellow English teacher. A lot of people I’ve met over the years have found it too coupley, and have commented that they find being single here a bit weird. They just didn’t fit in, and I can imagine that.

Everywhere you go here, couples in love are walking about, kissing, holding hands, and being proud of the person by their side. This makes it an upbeat, happy and romantic place to visit. So what are you waiting for? Maybe you could meet your future partner here as well.

Beauty

Sure, it’s cheesy, but the longer I stay here, the more I realise just how beautiful the city is. Now that I’ve moved out of the centre, I appreciate it more as I don’t have to put up with the annoying aspects too much.

Where I live now it’s pretty dull. You don’t get many tourists wandering about, although there is a great hotel in Cuidad Expo  if you want to get a feel for village life. There are less shops, less people, less traffic, and less everything. But it’s a family area, which is exactly what we were looking for.

When I go back in the city, normally at the weekend, I appreciate just how pretty the centre is. Not only am I talking about the buildings, parks, and colourful centre, but also the bright churches, the flowers, and the people.

Most Sevillanos make a real effort to go out, in fact, they wouldn’t dream of popping up the shops in their pyjamas or taking their dog out for a quick walk in their track suit bottoms. Of course, you have the slightly hippie and bohemian area such as the Alameda and Calle Feria (which I loved while I lived there) but in general people make an effort to look the bee’s knees, and show the rest of the world that their image is important.

Safety

I was done over a few times while travelling, but I’ve never had any problems while living in Seville. The only times I’ve felt unsafe were after my bikes got stolen. In general I’ve always felt secure, both in the day and at night, walking around on my own in the centre. There’s a happy atmosphere, people are generally kind to each other, and you’ll rarely get into trouble while on holiday here.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t take care. My sister swears she had her purse stolen while walking down Calle Sierpes, I’ve heard of travellers and expats being mugged in the early hours of the morning too. Also guys stealing handbags while driving about on scooters in the centre of the city, so by all means, be adventurous, but take it easy.

Tradition

The more I live here, the more I realise just how important it is to preserve tradition in a city. I am big fan of Semana Santa, and am proud to say I’m a member of a brotherhood here, so I can participate in the processions. I’ve learnt a lot about the tradition of Seville, about the past, and just how important this festival is for the locals. I understand why too. I know that the value of the Christs and Virgins, which are so well preserved in the churches, are icons, giving belief to locals. The longer I’m here the more I appreciate how much passion is involved in keeping this culture’s importance. Grandparents teach their grandchildren their values, share memories, and educate their family on the beauty of the festival. I think it’s great that these values are passed on and remain an importance in the society.

It’s a long time since I’ve been to a flamenco tablao, but that was another reason why I fell in love with Seville. Not to mention the fact that my first official date with my wife was in a flamenco tablao. To see the passion and spirits of Sevillanos performing their art and tradition through dancing, singing, or playing the guitar is a real treat, especially as you can normally find the best ones for free, like La Carboneria.

I miss those Saturday nights when I used to go out for tapas with my wife and we’d normally end up in a flamenco tablao, just sitting, watching the dancers show the world that their tradition is very much still alive.

Christmas is also a lovely time to visit. I normally prefer the lights here, which they put up down the main street Avenida Constitucíon, are prettier and more varied than the ones back in London. There are also great Christmas fares set up around and generally there’s a great, festive and happy vibe kicking about.

If you are visiting Seville, then I’d recommend coming in spring; when the weather is perfect, if it doesn’t rain, and you can get a real feel for why Seville is so special.

Are you planning on visit Seville soon? Have you been here recently? If you have any questions about life here then just leave me a comment below.

Annoying things in Spain, Humour, Seville

The Nutters of Sevilla

nutters-in-sevilla
Daisy are you out there? Photo by D0282

I met a fair few nutters on my trip around the world. The scariest was a 6ft transvestite called Daisy, who I met while on a greyhound bus on the way to L.A. She told me she was going to see her Mum because she’d got her a job as a show girl. Also on the greyhound bus were a drugged up couple. One of which was wearing illuminous pink shades. They both got off the bus at every chance to pop another pill. And not forgetting the obese Chinese guy I met in Siem Reap who had a go at me for going to see Angkor Wat because he said I should prefer seeing natural wonders of the world.

Continue reading “The Nutters of Sevilla”

Culture Shock, Great things about Spain

Thank you, Sir Columbus, for this wonderful day off!

“Mummy, Mummy, I don’t wanna go to school today.”

“But you’re the teacher.”

“I know, I know it’s just. Hang on, what day is it?”

“The 12th of October, dear.”

“Hell yeah. Then I don’t have to.”

“Why not?”

“It doesn’t matter, it says it here in my annual calendar.”

“Bloody English teachers.”

day-off-spain
Photo by bravenewtraveler

It’s come round again. That great day know as Fiesta Nacional de España (previously Dia de Hispanidad), the day that we get off after just starting back from the three months summer. The one which this year has unfortunately fallen on a Wednesday. Saying that, waking up on Monday morning was more comforting this week. Knowing I had that little break in the week did wonders for the motivation. One mustn’t grumble if one doesn’t have to go to work. I suppose it could be worse, it could have fallen on a Saturday, like it did a few years back, and then absolutely no one would give a damn about the 12th of October. Continue reading “Thank you, Sir Columbus, for this wonderful day off!”

Falling for Flamenco, Flamenco

Finally the writing magic has come

It’s been a long time coming, but finally my fingers were taken over by the characters of my novel. There I was, bashing away at the last chapter, heading for the ending that I’d planned, when something totally unexpected happened.

falling-for-flamenco-paths
Finally my characters took their own path. Photo by gorfor

It was something I’d read about on a writing course, and also from self-help books about writing. The characters started to choose their own paths, their own destiny, right as I was coming to the end. It was a weirdly powerful moment, curious to both my mind and soul, but a new end just sprung up out of nowhere.

Of course, I had an idea what was going to happen. While I wrote my first draft I knew from the start how it was going to end. During the second, a lot of changes took place randomly, and the whole act of writing was so much more emotional. Not only because I could see what the characters wanted to do, but also because all those hours of writing, editing, thinking, changing, were finally coming towards the end product. My first novel is almost ready to be published. Continue reading “Finally the writing magic has come”