Of Cardinals, Kings and Toreros

La giralda, one of the largest cathedrals of the world, right up there with St. Peters in Rome and St. Pauls in London. Such an amazing structure, incorporates parts of an old mosque, it is Gothic and Moorish, all mixed up like every thing else in this city. I have been circling the outside everyday and being amazed. Today I went in to see what there was to see. It is grand and has the usual bloody history of cardinals and kings. Rich, rich in every corner, large, imposing and though an amazing structure it did not have the peace of a church, the Walls and stones were too steeped in gore and stories. Who ruled? Kings or Cardinals, it was a thin line of power, there where wheels within wheels, whispers, betrayals and Conspiracies. I wish the walls could tell. Guides have such a rote story that I never listen, one has to be very lucky to find one who actually knows the history and not one who has just learnt up the regular babble to spout forth.

There is romance and history and so many stories, some I know and more to be read at leisure and put in perspective now that I have seen the sites.

I was then on my way to the river and the bus stand to buy my ticket for tomorrow, but everything is so on top of each other and I just get so lucky that I found myself at the plaza de Los Torros. La Maestranza in Sevilla, Is the oldest bullring which was first used for bullfighting in 1765.

Though I don’t think I ever could watch a bull fight, it is such a huge tradition here that I had to go see where and how it happens. So, to see again… The guide was a young girl whose English sounded distinctly Spanish, I actually understood her Spanish better than the English!

A tradition that emerged to keep soldiers busy when they were not at war. Right up alongside jousts and hunts along came the bull fight. Did you know that if a bull ( that poor beset animal, that is hounded and poked half to death before ever the toreador gets to him) actually kills the man, the bull is then killed and his head is mounted, not only his, but also his mother’s because she bred a killer!

On entering that ring I can see how it would truly be a spectacle to observe, with the colour, pomp and show. However I will give it a miss, would probably sit there weeping my eyes out like Malu’s Kanika. That it is an art form, I do not doubt, that the toreador has to be an artist trained and brave, too is a reality, however who talks about the bravery off that poor animal, his bewilderment and agony? Somehow it is not man that emerges larger here, the torero has help, that bull is alone in the field with a million men yelling all around him and stupid men on prancing horses poking and prodding at him. By the time that prouncing, dancing man gets there the poor animal is hugely beset and quite lost, what chances? What sport? Cannot see!

I did eventually get to the bus station and was very glad that I had not left it for tomorrow, such long queues, would have miscalculated for sure and missed the bus!

Honestly necessary to beware of pick pockets and what here they call the Romanies, and we the gypsies. They look like us – unfortunately – foreign us, if that makes any sense. Like every pinch faced person you would avoid at any of our big city stations.

I walk miles in this city, in the heat, and then I do the good Spanish thing and go up to my air-conditioned, little room and have a siesta. I should actually have it like myriad others under an orange tree ‘en alguna plaza’, but somewhere I have to draw the line between a teenage backpacking fantasy and my real, today self. The air-conditioning is most welcome.

This evening I got nice and lost for about half an hour trying to find another of the recommended tapas bars in la plaza de Los terceros. Have become so familiar with the little pedestrian streets that when I hit equally little, trafficked ones, I got lost. Just being amazed that cars could actually drive through.

However all these lovely people here soon had me walking straight and right into exactly where I wanted to be, sitting under orange trees in a tiny square, drinking great Sangria and eating delicious Tapas at a bar called La Huerta, they specialise in veg tapas, a delightful oxymoron. Recommended: Pavia de bacalao, a fried cod and Quiche de Puerros, leak quiche, also Queso con marmalade de pimientos rojos.

Got home early. The square in front of the hotel is one that I had not sat in and wanted to from the first day here. However there is so much to see and discover in this city that it is necessary to wander. I am here now, there are lovely tiled benches all around, the lit up tower of La Giralda peeps above one corner, more orange trees and the typical little fountain. How utterly charming does it get? I guess this is what people travel the world for, the charms that we discover.

There are a number of restaurants that share space on the square and it all seems to work effortlessly. A tiny bodega in the corner has only two tables but the kids who work in there are charming and have become friends – telling me where to go and what to see. The waiters in my hotel are friends too and sneak me beers while I sit here writing to tell you all my news.

I am going to miss this place. I am either too easy to please or else I am finding the most amazing people and places, either way, what a blessing.

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