Monday, 13 April 2015

I think I love Seville!

I think love Seville. I've thought it might be so for a while, but when I think about the city and having to leave tomorrow, its really starting to dawn on me.

It's those laughably beautiful landmarks and picturesque winding streets. The colourful sunsets, the buildings that seem to almost glitter under blue Spanish skies. I love the drama of flamenco, the vivacity of Sevillian locals who will work all day and spend all night sharing beers and tapas with friends. I love tapas. Deep fried aubergines with sticky honey sauce, grilled goats cheese sprinkled with almonds, freshly fried fish, grated tomatoes, and all manner of croquettes.

I love this city that has been drenched in history. Where authentic Moorish tiles creep up the sides of Catholic churches. Where Hercules lived. This city that has seen prosperity, violence and cruelty. Where Columbus set sail for India. Where Jews and Moors were forcibly expelled by the catholic "reconquistadores" - communities who were kicked out from the homes and left beautiful and lasting marks behind them.

I love the heady smell of orange blossom floating through the streets in mysterious whiffs, creeping up on you when you least expect it. The glamour of the Plaza de España. The creepy other-worldliness of Catruja island.

I love the Alcazar. And I love the palm trees! Tropical birds tweeting above you and stray cats lurking behind railings. I love showing visitors around the city and when they say "I think this is the most beautiful place I've ever been", I think, yeah, you're probably right.

When I wall through the streets I love to spy the Giralda peeking through the rooftops: the minaret-turned-bell tower that has become the symbol of Seville.
I love the river that winds past parties of Sevillians drinking wine on Sunday afternoons. Cocktails on rooftops, bike rides on the riverside. The friendly man who sells me fruit. Cobbled streets, decadent courtyards and tiled balconies.

I love the bustle of Macarena where children play out in the street til midnight. The conservative traditions and alternative cafés. I love the people I've met. I even love the virgens of Semana Santa!

So it is quite clear to me that I love Seville. And when you have to leave something you love - even to go somewhere else, to people you adore, to go home - your heart breaks. So it is with excitement and trepidation that I prepare to travel home tomorrow. But it's going to be okay because in Seville, when you leave somewhere or someone - work, a shop, a taxi, a lift, the hairdressers, when you go home after being with friends, when the plumber leaves after fixing the toilet - you never say "goodbye". You say "hasta luego".

So i say... Hasta luego Sevilla, nos vemos, ¿eh? ������

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Semana Santa in Seville

Nazarenos during Semana Santa marching with the Giralda in the background
Spring is fully under way in Seville, which means the streets are full of  trees in blossom and it smells INCREDIBLE!! The scents of Seville... from incense in Christmas to oranges in February to azahar orange blossom now... I've never know a city smell so great! Last week was Semana Santa (Holy Week), one of the most important and hotly anticipated weeks in Seville. People have been talking about it since I arrived in October, so I was very excited, even though nearly every person I know from Seville told me to "GET OUT DURING HOLY WEEK! ITS AWFUL!" It coincided with the visit from my parents so we went to have a look together. I got some great photos during Palm Sunday so thought I'd share them as well as some information about Semana Santa in Seville as its very interesting!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Parents Visit me in Seville

So last week my parents made the exciting trip to come and visit me in Seville! I was filled with trepidation, with their visit to me in Austria somehow still fresh in my mind two years after the event... but Seville is a wonderful city for anybody to visit so I was confident they'd have a good time.

I emailed them the week before to warn them that temperatures had been reaching 26 degrees and they should bring sun hats and a summery attitude. Predictably, the day they arrived it began to rain. They first went to Granada and think they trudged around a soggy Alhambra. I think it brought back bad memories of when they came to Cuba and it rained almost constantly for a fortnight: locals kept remarking how unusually rainy it was!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Blollings cooks: fighting a sore throat

There's a nasty little throat virus spreading through the British contingent here in Seville. I've never had anything like it, my whole throat is swollen and it HURTS! Because its contagious I've had to miss work so that I don't infect the children I work with. I'm not a particularly strong person when I'm ill, I usually feel very sorry for myself, but luckily this isn't the kind of illness which makes you feel groggy or bunged up so I have managed to cook myself some food to keep my poor little strength up. So here I've got a Lemon Ginger and Chicken soup recipe, lemon and ginger tea recipe and stewed apple...

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Feminist Anthems for a Monday Morning

It's International Women's Day! I decided to celebrate by trying to think of some of the greatest female anthems that we can all listen to tomorrow morning when its Monday and we therefore feel miserable.

A close friend of mine once told me "you get away with your music taste because people think you are being ironic. But you aren't being ironic." He's right! So here is my of female anthems that I love, in a non-ironic way.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Thinking about being homesick: decided not to be homesick.

"Aunty Em was so good to me and I never appreciated it." 
Dorothy hits a low point outside the Emerald City.
I was browsing the internet this week, reading the budget food blog by A Girl Called Jack, and ended up on a website about frugal living and read this quote...

"I went back and read my blog. I saw a woman who lived in the sunshine and even if she wasn't smiling, painted a smile on her face and got on with it."

Now this was written by somebody who has crawled out of massive debt over several years of extremely frugal living and sacrifice…so basically not on a par with any hardship I've ever experienced. But the message still resonated with me. Looking back at my blog reminds me of the things I've done and the people I've met over the past couple of years, and the little moments I would forget otherwise. I've been so lucky to travel so much.

Friday, 27 February 2015

So you went to Carnaval in Cadiz?

Welcome to Cadiz!

Last week I wrote about my trip to Carnival in La Rinconada, 10km outside of Seville. Well this weekend marked the last weekend of carnaval and to celebrate we went to Cádiz, the capital of carnaval and (apparently) the only place where the dictator Franco failed to squash carnaval celebrations.

The most important thing about Carnaval is you have to dress up. I saw some American students on the train from Seville to Cádiz who had made very poor effort. One of them was wearing normal clothes with a Spanish football shirt on. I shook my head at her in disdain. I imagine she saw me... I say this because everybody on that train was staring at me. Due to circumstances out of my control, I was not sitting with my friends. Which meant I was sitting in a coach of people dressed in normal clothes, dressed like this...