After a 6 hour bus ride, we arrived in Sevilla (Seville) this Friday. Almost immediately after arriving to our hotel we walked to the flamenco museum. Here are some things you should know about Flamenco:
- Not everyone in Spain knows how to dance Flamenco. That is actually a stereo type equivalent to thinking all Americans square dance.
- Though it is known as being Spanish, its origins stem from ancient Phonecians, Indian Gypsies, and Caribbean Islanders. The dance is most popular in Spain but it is also popular in France and Japan.
- If you are looking for something light, don’t watch a flamenco performance.
After we took a tour through the museum we sat down in a dark basement room to watch a performance. The lights dimmed, and after much anticipation the music began. The live guitarist strummed his guitar with a speed that did not seem human. A second man began to sing in mournful wales. With intense confidence a man and a woman walk onto the stage and begin to dance. Passion. Purposeful movement. Emotion. For the next 45 minutes we were taken on a journey through dance. Our eyes were all glued to the stage. I looked over at my friends, everyone’s eyes were wide, jaws were dropped, and bodies completely still. When the lights came on we were speechless. I love watching dance but flamenco is something different. I encourage you to watch this incredible art if you have the chance.
The next day we walked through the city to see important sights and to tour a palace and a cathedral. The streets of Sevilla seemed almost magical.
The Cathedral de Sevilla is the 3rd largest church in the world. Considering that the largest is St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City and the 2nd largest is only bigger by less than 500 square meters, this place was insane.
On our tour we were warned of a scam that the Gypsies use. As soon as we exited the church, we witnessed it first hand. Three women stood outside the courtyard offering free sprigs of rosemary for good luck. We knew the trick so we didn’t accept and walked by. This young man, however, accepted the offer. Quickly she took his hand in hers and began to tell him his future. At first he smiled, almost laughing. But then he began to relax. He looked mesmerized, almost hypnotized. We waited in anticipation to see how the drama would unfold. Just as we were warned, she refused to let the man go without payment for here palm reading. He hesitated as he fumbled around for money. Talk about a contrast of cultures. A gypsy woman reading a palm with the second largest church in Europe in the background.
Alright, if you take one thing from this post it should be this: Go to El Patio de San Eloy in Sevilla, Spain and order a Serranito and sangria. That is all.
Around 2pm this place was incredibly busy. People were rapidly yelling their orders, the men behind the counter were moving at the speed of light. You had to order with confidence, pay with confidence, eat with confidence, or you did not belong here.
I will be honest, we ate here twice. Once each day we were in Sevilla, and I am still craving this sandwich today. They also have great gazpacho, a dish native to the Community of Andalusia.
On Sunday we headed back to Salamanca, but first we took a detour to the town of Mérida. To think that these columns, statues, and other structures were made around the year of Christ’s death is hard to fathom. It is so easy to picture the crowd that gathered hear to watch performers act on stage.
Not pictured is the spot we stopped for lunch. Three of my friends and I wandered into the town of Mérida. Far away from the tourist attracting ruins. We asked locals where to eat and found ourselves in a small plaza, at a tiny restaurant, eating things we had to google to figure out what they were. I love the moments that I can close my eyes, slowly exhale, and think, *”I’ve done it. I’m beautifully lost.”
*(a quote taken from Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard)