One last night in Spain

Just spoke to Anjali while sitting sipping beer and listening to great old time music being played in the plaza under the floodlit Walls of the Alhambra … With a moon shining down. What does one do with so much overload?

Just figuring that I think romance is a soul thing, not necessarily a sharing thing. This night was so full of romance, it was soul searing and utterly beautiful, but you know what came to mind? I could not think of wanting to, actually, share it with anyone. Because it was so perfect to me, it may not be so for another and that would so take away from it.

I sat watching people walking up and down, across from me the plaza was full, the fountain sparkled, and beyond the river was a forested hill crowned with the food lit castle. There was a man with a guitar, another with a harmonica and one with a violin, they played besame mucho, the lambada and so many other remembered oldies. I sat there with a grin and a Jerez amontillado. Finally decided – ok enough already, let’s go home and sleep, so started walking away, just before I was to leave the plaza turned one last time and what do I see but the moon behind me shining on this whole vista, so I just sat on the parapet and soaked it all in some more, the breeze, the sound of the water, the music and the magic of the night.

I truly sat there thinking: who is the one person that I have known in my life that I could/would have  wanted to share this with. Honestly, not a one who would have enriched this more than it was. Yes for sure one of you, my old langotias or my girls would have shared it and savoured, but as in, would someone to be with have made this more, no.

Ladies, my bestest friends in the world, I missed you, a trip like this around one of these countries begs to be done with us. 

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.