June 5th sevilla: woke up at 8 am. Almost had breakfast at a fish place, believe it or not! Was so excited to try the place because there were a ton of locals, but when I arrived, it was a fish restaurant! Thank goodness for my basic Spanish. Instead I looked for a place that would serve bakery goods. Went to Historico Horno (bakery). I had a pan de tomato y queso (bread with tomato and cheese) and a cafe con leche. The lady behind the counter was all business and not really friendly, but I understand her work ethic. People are not at this bakery in the morning for a worker that is yapping too much. People want to sit down, eat and get to work. Besides, the Spanish have siesta. This means later on that customer can come back and actually have a conversation, sip coffee, eat something, go home and take a nap and then get back to business. I admire this practice and tradition! I loved sitting at the bar and watching all the different pastries being called out in Spanish. It was a great Spanish lesson for me. I started recognizing all the different pastries and sandwiches and were calling them out in my head. Yes, I’m silly like that. A lot of bread with just olive oil was ordered, which surprised me. I guess when you live in a country that has phenomenal olive oil, then simple and fantastic ingredients make sense like fresh bread and olive oil. I even saw a guy sprinkle a little pinch of salt on his bread.
I scooted over for a couple guys on my left. The locals were getting ready to go to work and I was making sure that I wasn’t the “stupid” and “annoying” tourist. It was a sunny day and based on the conversations that I heard, it was going to be a sweltering hot day. Went upstairs to use the restroom before I was off and enjoyed seeing some displays of jamon serrano legs and olive oils etc.
By the way, the word “Alimentation” means market. I figured this out through observation in Madrid, Toledo and now Sevilla. After I left Historico Horno, I sat at Plaza Nueva. I walked around the plaza and even ventured through some random streets. I had scheduled a tour of Sevilla with a lovely lady named Concepcion at 10:00 AM. She never showed. Then I looked again at my email and noticed that she was meeting us at 10:30 AM. Concepcion was recommended by my Rick Steves book and her tour was well worth it! While I was waiting, I saw some guys roller skate by that were dressed up as fawns. Wish I got a picture of that!
Went on tour with Concepcion
. She discussed the history of the 3 kings of Sevilla. When you walk around you will see a symbol everywhere. I think I recall seeing this symbol on a bench, a man hole cover and on several buildings. The symbol that you will see is a word “No8d0”. I listened intensively to the tour, but I was caught up with looking at so much detail I forgot what the real meaning behind the symbol was. I did catch something along the lines that it translates to “no medegar do
” and means something like “you didn’t abandon me”. As you look at the architecture around Sevilla, you’ll notice 1920’s style buildings with a mixture of Renaissance influence, Moorish buildings and even Baroque accents throughout. It’s an architecture & art lesson waiting to be told and explained in depth. So if you are a sucker for detail, Sevilla has a lot of stories to be told.
While we were strolling around listening to Concepcion’s stories, she mentioned habits of the people of Sevilla and Spain. Spanish people save up their money and buy clothing around December and July. July is the “Rebajas” month or “Sale” month to shop. You can see clothing being reduced to almost 70% off! While we were passing by the windows of shops, we saw a person making tassles for curtains, the old school way. As a form of measurement, these guys were walking back and forth with the tassle string for a concise measurement. Hard to explain, you just had to watch them.
is a must see area of Sevilla. The Jewish Quarters are defined by a large standing wall. It’s like Venice, Italy in the sense that you just see crowds of people wandering around together, getting lost. If you stick close to the walls that enclose this area, you’ll be able to figure how to get out. When the Catholic Kings took over during the course of Reconquista, they allowed for Jewish people to convert. They gave them 4 months to convert or their fate ended up in torture or death. You can figure out what most of the Jewish families did. Most of them practiced Judaism secretly, but were even scared to do that. If you follow the large walls, you will eventually run right smack into the Alcazar (summer palace of the Sultan)
that is built in mudajer
style. I can’t tell you how much of a surprise this place was me. I have to say that I might have enjoyed the Alcazar more than the famous Sevilla Cathedral. I’ll write more about these lovely places in a different post. Too much to comment on.
If there a color to associate to Sevilla, the color orange comes is their official color. Still today, when I think of Sevilla, orange or “naranja” will forever stay in my mind. I saw women wearing beautiful tangerine color clothing, especially skirts. I saw a pair of orange espadrilles for sale in a fashion display. I saw lots of orange paint in the Alcazar, in the detailed tile work and in many paintings in the Catholic Cathedral. Also, the streets are lined with orange trees EVERYWHERE! And even though the oranges and large and look refreshing, you cannot eat them. They are according to the Sevillans, “sour as hell”. Concepcion also mentioned that in the month of December, tourists get orange bombed in large numbers. The orange trees produce really heavy oranges and they just snap right off the tree and onto tourists heads. Of course if you are an avid and professional “people watcher”, this would be the event of a lifetime to watch!
Even the gazpacho, the tablecloth and even my beer had hues of orange
I met a lot of cool people on the tour and ended up swapping emails and contact info. I ended up meeting with a few of the people on the tour later that day. But, I felt like I needed to sit and take in all the information that I learned and saw quietly somewhere. I wandered around the streets and found a cute cafe that had an alleyway. I sat in the alleyway and ordered a cafe con leche and some jamon iberico and pan con tomate y aceite de olivos (bread with tomato and olive oil). I sat and observed people’s eating and socializing habits. Occasionally, I received a sad stare from a few people and I could tell that they were thinking…”Oh, how sad…she is by herself” What was I thinking? THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!! I have absolute and complete freedom and I was on my own time and my own dime! I enjoyed every second, minute and hour of my leisurely time. For those of you that have a hard time enjoying quiet time to yourself, challenge yourself to sit, watch and think. You’d be surprised what you pick up on in regards to human nature and habits! ENJOY!