The Secret of Seville Part 2 – Days 592 - 594
One son John departed; our other son George and his girlfriend Laura were arriving early evening. Tim and I had work to do. I'd told them that I would book a walking tour, but to my dismay, most of them stop in July as the weather is usually too hot. Oh well, there was only one thing to do – plan our own.
We had such fun walking around the narrow alleyways of the Jewish quarter, finding the best one to highlight how the pale paintwork, light tiles and the slim curved alleyways with the buildings “kissing” enables the streets to be 3 degrees cooler than the rest of the city, much needed when the temperature often rises to 40+ degrees.
We came across one road called Calle Guzmán el Bueno. Guzmán the good? We wondered who this could be. It turned out that the road was named after a Spanish hero. Another secret is that Guzmán was probably a Muslim from Morocco, but don’t tell anyone.
According to legend, while Guzmán was defending the town of Tarifa, his son was captured and was threatened to be killed unless the town was surrendered. In response, Guzmán demanded that if the attackers were to kill his son, they should do this using his own knife, and threw it to them. He was rewarded tuna fishing rights from King Sancho IV of Castile for his heroisim. The things you discover when creating a walking tour. Who’d have known.
We also came across a bust of Miguel de Cervantes and, I must admit, had to research to discover who he was. He is only the greatest Spanish writer and his novel Don Quixote has been translated into over 140 languages. After the Bible, this is the most-translated book in the world! Well I never! Every day is a school day. We have said that many a time on this journey.
George and Laura arrived and after a hug and a bite to eat, we said it was time to leave for the walking tour (our little secret – Tim and I were like little kids, trying not to giggle). As we walked past the fountain in our garden, we could see the stone wall of Real Alcázar. Tim stopped and did his speel about this being a free tour, and if they enjoyed it, they are welcome to pay at the end. He then introduced me as his co-tour guide.
We so enjoyed taking them around, through the labyrinth of alleyways, along Calle Guzmán el Bueno up to the Cathedral, past the City Hall, a superb example of Plateresque architecture, pointed out Cervantes, looked at the second largest church in Seville at the Salvador Plaza, up Calle Cuna with its many wedding dress shops (all part of the tour – George and Laura are getting married next year - hurrah) and finally arriving at Las Setas De Sevilla. As a Structural Engineer, George was looking forward to seeing this construction. Like us, he was rather disappointed at the overall finish.
Just a thought, we never did get any payment for our walking tour, perhaps we’d better not give up the day job!
We had another secret. After a quick drink we walked up the road and there was Abel standing outside his apartment waiting for us. As soon as we met him, we knew we were in for a great evening. I found Abel on withlocals.com; rather than go to a restaurant, we were going to his lovely home for him to host and feed us.
What a delightful evening. First, we sat on Abel’s balcony enjoying a glass of chilled Cava as the sun was setting. Our food was ready, five courses of Andalusian cuisine and it was all scrumptious. Spanish omelette, Spinach and Aubergine dishes, seafood paella from this region which was so succulent and then two taster puddings and complimentary icecream. This was all served with wine, finishing off with an orange liqueur. Not only was the food delicious, Abel was the perfect host; such a character, funny, charming, intelligent and generous.
After a slow and relaxing start to our next morning together, we visited Parque de Maria Luisa with the highlight being the Plaza de España. There is so much astonishing beauty in this city (please remember that this is a secret). Why we didn’t take loads of photos of this place I will never know. I think we were all in awe. Not surprisingly it’s been the setting for quite a few films, including two Star Wars.
As we entered the plaza, the sweeping semi-circular building with its arches, galleries and towers decorated with intrigate carvings and inlays of beautiful tiles took my breath away. With a round internal moat and curved bridges, it reminded me of Venice. The Plaza de España was built ready for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. What a showcase it must have been, and still is.
The rest of the day was eating and resting ready for our 7pm entertainment, a Flamenco show. Tim and I had already been to a performance earlier in the week with John. It was so enjoyable we decided to return with George and Laura. We had the same female dancer but the guitarist, singer and male dancer were different, as well as the style of dance. When with John, the dances represented emotional tragedgy. We went just after I had hurt my arm, so the show reflected my pain. The intensity was palpable. Our second visit was light hearted; it was wonderful seeing the female dancer’s face radiate with a smile. A lovely ending to a wonderful time in Seville.