Friday, November 8, 2013

Get Inspired in Seville

"Toda mi Andalucía, con sus días de oro y sus noches luminosas y transparentes, se levantó como una visión de fuego del fondo de mi alma."
- Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

Seville viewed from the top of Las Setas.  The Giralda towers over the city.
The romantic author Bécquer was spot on when he compared Seville, Spain, his hometown, to fire:  it's colorful, passionate, constantly throbbing with music and dance, the heavy air shimmering over the Guadalquiver, as the Giralda stands witness to it all, a sentry, a guardian, a conduit to God and Heaven.

Whether you're strolling through Barrio de Santa Cruz, with its whitewashed houses and winding streets, or hanging in the outskirts of Polígono Sur, a laboratory for flamenco, you're bound to find inspiration in this ancient city.

Get Inspired

First and foremost, get lost.  Tuck away your map and dive headfirst into the labyrinth that defines Santa Cruz, the oldest part in Seville.  Soon you'll find yourself drifting away from the touristy streets that sprout away from the Catedral.  Farther away, you'll find quiet neighborhoods that are no less beautiful.

A courtyard in the Álcazar, an ancient palace.
Take advantage of the history.  Founded by the Romans, inhabited by the Visigoths, conquered by the Moors, reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs, Seville is chock-full of fascinating history.  The Cathedral supposedly houses Christopher Columbus's tomb.  The Archive of the Indies has thousands of records relating to the Americas.  And don't leave without seeing the Álcazar, a beautiful sprawling palace with breathtaking gardens.

Have fun.  Though not a metropolis like Barcelona or Madrid, Seville has its fair share of bars and clubs, where you can meet very interesting people:  Spaniards, Americans, Brits, Germans, you name it.

Celebrate with the locals.  By that, I mean participate in Semana Santa and Feria, both in the spring.  They're mind-blowing in their scale; the entire city emerges, making for two exciting weeks.

Watch flamenco, and if you're up for it, attend a bullfight.  Both of these involve duende, a term which doesn't translate well into English.  Basically, it's a passion, a calling, an uncontrollable feeling that forces you to do something.  To dance.  To fight bulls.  To write.

During Feria, people flock to the giant fairgrounds dressed in traditional
flamenco garb.  They dance, drink, go on carnival rides, and have fun!

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