Saturday, 29 September 2007

Flamenco sketches

A two-day training event brings me to Seville, a city that has enchanted me like few others. Seville has a North African feel to it, legacy of its Moorish past. Narrow streets, houses with courtyards featuring fountains and shade; orange, plantain and palm trees, are unusual sights for Europe. Indeed, I'm brought to mind of Spanish California and its missions.

Our international group stayed at the Casas del la Juderia, a fascinating complex of former Jewish houses clustered together to form one charmingly idiosyncratic hotel (above), where the porters need maps to find your room. Below is the hotel's rooftop swimming pool. The hotel is in the centre of Seville's old town, a short walk from the principle attractions.

From the hotel, after work, our Spanish hosts took us to visit the city's main attractions, followed by dinner and flamenco. Because Sevillanos have their siesta in the late afternoon, social life does not kick off until after 21:00. We got to the restaurant at five to nine - it was still shut. We were first to eat and first to leave; the locals carry on promenading around the town until well past midnight (the Spanish walk - el paseo). The old city centre was remarkably clear parties of drunken lager louts; inland Spain attracts a better class of tourist.

Because of the city's noctural lifestyle, few Sevillanos were up at seven am. Plus, we are six degrees west of London, ( 37°23'13.21"N, 5°59'13.17"W - indeed further west than Land's End) and yet are still on Warsaw time - so sunrise was not until quarter past eight! This is city that goes to bed late, wakes up late, and has a couple of hours of kip during the day to make up for it.

An interesting feature of the city is its use of colours which beautify the buildings under the harsh sunlight and diamond blue skies. Alongside the whites, the other colour that predominates is albero, yellow ochre, evident in the picture second from top. It is also used in the house (below) to accentuate the white facade.

Work prevented me from seeing more of the city than I did, but in the few short hours I had to wander around, I fired off 140 photos.

And it was hot. At 17:30, as we stepped out of the railway station, it was +36.5C - body temperature. Two days later, in London, it would be +11C and drizzling. One can see why three million Brits have left the Miserable Grey Little Island in recent years to live on the Continent.

I must indeed return to Seville. A city like this needs plenty of time to appreciate the history, culture and local traditions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Buen reportaje!
Glad to see your pictures and comments!

Regards from Seville