seville, spain

December 7, 2010 - Sevilla, Spain

the next day started with a walk to the churraria for breakfast. the owner said that yesterday he had been open very late, as it was a bank holiday and everyone seemed to want churros! luckily for us he was open in the morning anyway, about 9am. the churros we had were a dough-like mixture, made from potatoes, which he squeezed from a machine wtih a winding handle. they came out in tubes, and cut them to length with scizzors where they dropped into the oil below to deep fry. doesn't sound very healthy, and its not, especially when you order a tub of chocolate to dip them in, but they are delicious : ) the paper that he pu them in was soaked with grease by the time the four of us had finished eating them, but it's ok, because we don't have them every day : )

we caught the bus into seville after breakfast, and our first destination was right across from where we got off : the spanish square (or Plaza de Espana)  it was designed for the Spanish Americas Fair, and was also the site of public witch burnings staged by the Inquisition for over three centuries. the last occured in 1781. it poured with rain while we were here, and when nuria and sami asked the police why the entrance to the Parque de Maria Luisa was closed, he said there was a storm warning out and it was unsafe for people to be in there. bit of a bummer, as i remember coming here with jackie on the horse and carriage, and the park was really pretty. there are over 3,500 trees and has several grand pavillions which house a few museums

i asked why they called it a square when it wasn't and sami or nuria -can't remember which-told me that they always call it a swuare in spain :p the ground is covered in swirling black and white tiles. when jackie and i were here there were a lot of other people in horse carriage rides, but none here this time though, the plaza was cordened off along with the park  so the horse-people weren't bothering.

we walked through nuria's old university, where she said alot of people had protested when the uni officials decided to change the system around. most of the students didn't want the changes, and boycotted classes and everything during their protest. they found out that the law students (i think it was) werre secretly going to classes anyway, so the protesters went in and made a loud to-do haha.

on the way to the river (Rio Guadalquivir) we walked part a few buildings with quite impressive architecture. we stopped by the golden tower, (Torre del Oro) which was free to visit that day. its a dodecagonal  (12 sided) watch tower, built in 1220 by the Berbers in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river. it is named after the gold brough back to seville from the americas and stored here.

we crossed the rio guadalquivir to the Triana neighbourhood, once home to the city's gypsy community. the streets here were narrow too, and alot of the houses had little balconies with wrought iron railings, popular spanish features. (mind you, ive only been in the south of spain, maybe they dont have them up north!)  in the pictures you will see rows and rows and rows of them : ) there were some really cute houses here, i love the colours they use!

we then crossed back over the river and got to walk around the old streets a bit. i didn;t recognise any from my time with jackie (we spent most of our time in seville being lost but enojying it!)  they have a lot of orange tress here, of course, and like i just mentioned the colours of the buildings are beautiful. the streets are narrow, cars are parked in every spot, other cars are trying to get through, people walk wherever they can (or wherever they want!) and you could be walking past a busy tapas bar with fantastic smells wafting out one minute, and past a window display with MASSIVE fish hanging up the next. don't forget the boutique sweet shops, the smelly old cheese shops, the shops with windows full ofmusical instruments, the numerous souvineer shops full of castanets and cheap flamenco dreses, the designer clothes shops, the real flamenco dress shops with material of all sorts of colours... it was a great place just to wander. you could do it for days!

after this we found a little tapas bar, that was FULL of people (it must be good!) we waited a while for a table, we started off as number five or seven in the queue, and peeked out at the rain that was pouring down yet again. the plates of tapas that ran past us on the way to hungry people smelt and looked SO good! nuria and sami helped us with the menu, (it was in english but they let us know what was really good, what we had had that was similar etc) and they pointed our the different food to us when it raced past (or in the brief moment it sat on the plate before being devoured)

finally our turn came, and we were lead to the back of the building into a little room with tables in it (i hadn't even realised it was there!) which was right next to the kitchen. the roof was leaking, not used to so much rain, and sami and nuria offered us the dry seats which was lovely of them : )  i got to peek through the kitchen door (when staff weren't running through with full or dirty plates) and see where/how they prepared all the food, but i think i got told off by a cook for taking a photo (not sure though, can't speak spanish! haha)

i've long forgotten the name of our meals, but i remember that they tasted awesome : )  we shared everything, and the first was toasted bread topped with cheese and salty anchovies (and oil, of course!) we had a huge eggplant dish next, which was like friend eggplant in cigar shapeds with a delicious orange sauce.  also a big plate of breadcrumbed spinach, which was good dipped in the eggplant sauce. (nuria, please correct me if i'm wrong!) it all tasted REALLY good, and i wish there was more : p i also wish we had food like this at home!

we eventually headed back to sami's house, where we relaxed, had a bit of a siesta (another thing i wish we had at home:p), booked the car for our trip to granada, and ate a delicious dinner prepared by sami and nuria; creamy white pasta sauce with mushrooms, garlic, onions, other magic ingredients that i can't remember, covering spaghetti mixed with oil (and maybe salt?) tasty tasty : )  something i def. will be cooking at home!

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