Alcazar de Sevilla

A morning wandering the halls, and gardens of the Alcazar palace. It’s much like the Mughal architecture at home, with mixtures of Gothic, the gardens and water ways are pure Mughal, Moorish, whatever we term it!

Streets have orange trees growing along them, a guitarist sat playing beautifully in the plaza de Los Reyes. Artists had set up around the square. All in all just another great day in Spain.

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Today I took a bus from San Feliu to Barcelona, and am now on the Ave, or the super fast train to Sevilla. It is a wonder to me how anyone who does not speak Spanish manages to travel here. I have met about 3 persons who speak a smattering of English and no others.

I would have been lost indeed if my Castellano was not returning in leaps and bounds.

This train ride is taking me virtually all across Spain and is wonderful. We passed Tarragona and Zaragossa, then we rode through a wilderness of mountains with tiny villages and are now in the plateau beyond. An old hacienda and then a modern installation, fields and hills and all of it sort of reminiscent of India – in terms of topography, but distinctly Spanish too. Am so glad I chose not to fly.

! I am in Sevilla! I found a lady taxista, who gave me a constant run down of all the places we were passing and also told me that the hotel I have chosen is a long walk from anywhere that a car might take me. Thank the stars for the Ryan Air, 10 kg restriction!

However she ended up dropping me closer than I thought. I had to walk down cobbled streets narrower than any in Chandni Chowk with music pouring out of every second door because it is a bar, bodega, restaurant or hotel. Past plazas with quaint fountains, only two actually, full of people sitting at candlelit tables. Then I walk down a tiny, tiny alley, seems like a dead opens into a lovely plaza, lots of shady trees ringed with Casa de doña Elvira, bodega de no se qual and there at one end is another minuscule alley called calle Gloria, and down that is La Casa de Dona Lina, which is where I am staying. There is a courtyard with tables, stairs going up one side with two rooms off each floor all looking down into the courtyard. I have a tiny room with a very sufficient bathroom and air-conditioning that is trying to work. The temperature is about 40 degrees but it is all totally enchanting. Can’t believe how lucky I got finding this tiny corner.

Have had a lovely late dinner sitting in the square. Walked down another little alley to discover myself at the Alcazar. Victorias clip clipping around the square, magically lit up fairy tale buildings. Indescribable!



It is almost impossible to believe that I am actually here, sitting by the beach on the Costa Brava. The town is San Feliu de Guixols – there is a feria in progress, bands are setting up all over the Market square and the beach. There is festivity in the air and I am hugging myself in glee, wanting to laugh out loud at the wonder of being here.

To think till this morning I was wondering whether Spain was going to be an excitement or a disaster? There is really no way for it to be a disaster, people smile at you for nothing, the air is charged with energy and fun. The houses climb up the hillsides just like they are meant to in white and ochre and pink with tiled roofs. Bodies lie on the beach getting baked.

The air has just now grown cooler, in the homes the shutters were closed and they were mad that I wanted to open them. ‘ It is hot.’ I was told, keep it cool. You don’t know what hot is, I felt like saying, but I kept shut and the shutters closed. Because it is the way in Espana in the summer – es la siesta, y la indiana esta loca! She wants to go wandering the town in the afternoon. What to tell them, I am too excited for the siesta and too tired. If I fall off to sleep now I will not wake because I woke at 4 this morning to catch that flight that I was freaking about.

What an anti climax, it was really pretty good after all the gyan that I got about Ryan air being a cheap, but bad, experience.

There was a traffic jam at the entrance to Luton airport and that cleared, there was a queue at the desk and I was worried about the visa questions and the weight of my bag. None were asked, and my bag weighed less than 10 kgs. What a miracle traveller I am turning into. The queue at security was huge, thought I would miss the flight, ran and made it with time to spare. The flight was un eventful, a nice hostess actually gave me a hot croissant for breakfast. I landed in Spain worrying about visa question, the man didn’t even look at my passport, just turned the page and stamped it saying ‘ bien venido’ and outside the arrivals was Francesc, waiting for me.

We drove some 30 kms to this amazing place, Maite has a flat right in the heart of town, round the corner from the Market square and half a minute from the beach. I could not have wished for more, I even have my own bathroom! Going to be spoilt for the rest of Spain, but now I am sure it is just going to be totally amazing and I will never want to leave.

Today I am sitting watching it all, this evening I am going to come and dance and tomorrow I am going into that stupendously inviting sea . Just want to keep sharing this, the band is tuning up and practicing at one end, there are the ‘blasting music people’ at the other end trying to figure out if their music system is working. Now there is a lovely girl with a great voice singing, lord, this is what my youth should have been, but I am so glad it is happening now when the agonies of youth are long past and I can just revel in being a part of this and let myself go to follow the music.

Am I happy I am alone? At the moment yes, because if who ever I was with did not want to do what I am doing now, it would have so ruined it – so back to square one – alone or not?

I have to say this is as close to the Goa experience as it gets, still no one serving you beer on the beach, but the stalls are there and the beer is only a step away. I better explain, that in all my travels there is no place with the service that we get back home, and there is no beach experience to beat the Goa one, with full, affordable, service while you lie on a lounger gazing at the sea. There may be spectacular views and beautiful beaches, but for the sybaritic pleasures of enjoying that beach – Goa!

There is a happiness in my soul to be here, however. The same junk as you get in Goa, in Camden Market, in Manali and on the Costa Brava, but the energies change and the view. Here too, people smile, the last spot was New Zealand. There is a Buddhist, tarot, astrology, magic kiosk right in front of me. amazing how all of those things seem to be akin!

It just does not stop, the amazement and fun. Went for a walk along the breakwater to watch the sunset and the lights of the village across the water, with all the festivities of the feria. On the way back there was a traditional Sardana band setting up and I stopped to watch. Maite,my hostess, told me that it was a traditional dancing music, but there seemed to be no dancers. Lo, the band started up and within minutes a group of women had formed a circle and started dancing this intricate little step, and then more and more just kept joining in, it’s a quatrain refrain and the beat changes as does the dance, there were old ones and young ones and ones breaking into the circle and then another circle formed and i just stood spell bound and watched.

We came back home to a lovely candle lit dinner on the terrace listening to the music all around us, and then after dinner these fire crackers started going off. I was told I had to go see what was happening, so Francesc was pushed into escorting me and off we went wandering the streets again.

This time it was the Corre Focs or Running with the fire, young people let off this cartwheel fire cracker on a pole and they cover their heads and run with it, while a whole bunch of girls and boys follow beating the most amazing rhythm on small and large drums respectively. It is a party in the streets and the whole town is out there celebrating. It has been an almost 21 hour day for me, and each minute of it filled with magic. I would not have missed this for the world!