Monday, June 7, 2010

Strange in Sevilla

A day late and a buck short (or something like that). I'm now caught up. My pictures won't upload right now; I think the connection's a little too slow. I'll make sure that I have tons of photos up at some point, at least in July when I get home.
So, this is my last day in Sevilla. I haven’t written much for the blog while I’ve been here. I think because I’ve been having a hard time here, and mostly I write blog updates when I’m stoked about life. Here, I’ve felt cut off and out of place, despite (or maybe because of) having immediate internet access, and therefore being able to skype with my family. I think part of it is simply that it seems like Sevillians don’t smile at you much. I don’t know if that’s because I’m clearly a foreigner, or just a general tendency, or maybe something else entirely, but for a day or so, I really let it get to me and felt ugly and stupid and strange.
I am feeling much better about it now. I think I’m finding there’s a real adjustment period to each place I’m in. The first two days in Madrid were difficult and then I found I was really enjoying it. Here, I wasn’t happy until this afternoon, and I leave tomorrow morning. Oh well.
So, to catch you up: the day I arrived, I didn’t do much. Just went to the tourist info place and got a map of the city, and found I almost melted walking over there, so I came back to the hostal and waited for it to cool off. I went for dinner very late (because it’s the Spanish thing to do). I ate a tapa of shrimp salad that was super full of mayo, and tortilla Espanola, which is like potato omelette. I gotta say, it was the worst of the tortilla I’ve had so far (which is to say out of 3); the potato was undercooked but the egg was still runny. Ew. Then I wandered a bit before coming back here.
Yesterday morning, I went to the Reales Alcazares, which is basically an old muslim palace from the time when Spain was ruled by the Almohades. I took some photos, but I didn’t want to carry my big camera, so they’re not fantastic. You can find great ones on the internet, I’m sure. It’s the kind of place that’s so intricately detailed and beautiful and amazing, that you kind of get overwhelmed and give up trying to capture or catalogue it in any way. The architecture...I mean, it’s stunning. I can’t even find words for it. It’s a level of detail that absolutely nothing in Canada compares to, as far as I know.
After walking around there for several hours early in the morning (it’s cooler until around noon, it seems), I was going to go to the cathedral, but I couldn’t figure out where tourists could go in. Basically, it has multiple entrances, and it would be really disrespectful to just wander in with the people there for prayer when I’m so clearly not. I was also being hounded on the steps of the cathedral by women pressing little sprigs of plant into my hand, and then spouting off a fortune and a blessing involving “Santa Ana,” and then asking for money. The first one, I gave her a euro and she asked for five euro (that’s like...almost $7CAD). I have trouble with this kind of thing because I feel sort of bad, but at the same time...5euro?? I mean, seriously.
Anyway, I gave up and went back to the hostal and my little siesta ended up with me waking up at around 8pm. Oops. I went for dinner then. Thankfully, that’s still early for dinner here, so it wasn’t a problem that I slept so late. I ate at a place called Levies Cafe, and had tapas: empanadillas de espinachi (basically spinach wrapped in a dough and fried), pollo frito (fried pieces of chicken), and paella (traditional Spanish rice, which I had to try once, but it contains pork and bunches of seafood I won’t eat, so I kind of picked at the rice and pretended I wasn’t eating anything I don’t eat. I’m still trying not to think about it). Weirdly enough, in Vienna, at 1516, there was a guy from Seville and he had written down a place I should go for dinner. It was the same place. I didn’t look at the name of the place when I decided to eat there (just the menu), and I didn’t look at the thing in my wallet until I’d eaten. It was kind of strange to end up there anyway.
On the way home, I ate helado de avellana (hazelnut gelato). Seriously, since I’ve been in Europe, hardly a day has gone by without either lemon or hazelnut gelato (and sometimes both, though not together. That would be weird. So yes, I ate gelato twice in a day at least once).
Today, I got up early again and walked to the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts). It didn’t take too long, and seemed pretty lacklustre after the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia, so I was finished there around 11, and the cathedral doesn’t open until 2:30 on Sundays (to tourists, that is). So I wandered and wrote and wandered some more, generally feeling sorry for myself and stupid and annoyed (I know. I’m such fun, huh?).
At 2:30, I went to the cathedral and the line up to get it was masssssssive (emphasis on the mass. get it?) and in full sun. So I waited a bit and by about 3, it was considerably shorter.
I’ve never in my life seen anything so ridiculously amazing. It is, according to Wikipedia, the third largest church in the world, and the largest gothic cathedral in the world. It’s like the size of a city. I mean, you could house all of Stettler in there. Not that that’s saying much, but...You could stack airplanes. In the middle of the church, it’s 37m high. It’s enormous and detailed and crazy. I think I said it a few entries ago...Nobody does finery like the catholics. It’s still true. I climbed the bell tower too, and the view is ridiculous. I thought Seville was kind of small. Yeah, it’s not.
Anyway, the thing I found sort of surprising was how much I found the cathedral lifted my spirits. Obviously, I’m not catholic, nor religious at all; I consider myself a conscientious dissenter to the whole idea of organized religion. But I found that I felt better about the whole of Sevilla when I left there. Is that totally weird?
Later, when I went for dinner, I found a place that looked decent, and the english translation for part of their menu was "salty pancakes" which came in chicken, spinach with prawns, and other flavours. Well, clearly I had to try that. Salty pancake just means savoury crepe, but it was good nonetheless, if not particularly Spanish. I also had a chocolate and banana one for dessert, but then it made me think of Cora's. When I get home, someone take me out to Cora's for breakfast, ok?
Anyway, that’s all for now. Tomorrow, to the train station and I head for Granada, birthplace of Garcia Lorca, where I hope to chase some ghosts and find some inspiration. I’ve discovered there’s a bus to a village right by where he died as well, so now I think I may have to do that. I’m seeking adventures, right? Buses to random tiny Spanish villages can only mean adventure. Wish me luck with that, everyone.
“wake up and waste a day/chase away/a day at a time/and waste away”
“Scratched Out” by The Matches


  1. You are the only person I know who would want to take a bus trip to a dead poet's death place. I wonder what I did wrong that you don't want to go in search of living things.

  2. I'm glad you think you did something wrong that I'm responsible and interested in culture and can handle myself in a foreign country. Some people want to see religious relics; I want to see an olive tree. I don't think it's that different. Besides, I could just want to get wasted every night and party with young, hot spaniards. Maybe you should wonder what you did right. :P

  3. -Angelina BeaverhousenJune 11, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Sevilians...Civilians...I love it!! Now if that sentence alone doesn't make you miss me, nothing will.

    I call the Cora's thing!!! You come home we go...YAY!!!

    I don't want to see religious relics or olive trees... Where are we on that getting drunk and partying with hot, young spaniards?? Were do I sign up for that?

    Love You and Miss You!!