Me Encanta Sevilla

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Dec 21, 2010

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Flag of Spain  , Andalusia,
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Okay so I know I'm getting worse and worse at doing these blog posts in a timely manner.  I now have 3 weeks to catch you up on.  The first week and a half after Italy I had a cold (which is not surprising considering I had stayed out in drizzly rain for 3/4 hrs and slept in a cold airport) and I also had midterms, so I stayed in Seville for a few weekends.  This past weekend I went to Madrid.  So I am going to split up my posts once again and fill you in on all about Seville, then tell you all about Madrid. 

Seville is one of two places that Flamenco is thought to have originated (Cadiz being the other place).  Every two years there is a Flamenco festival that lasts for most of the year and is done to keep the pure flamenco tradition alive.  Today there are two types of Flamenco:  pure (or traditional) and fusion (which is fused with modern day elements like jazz, pop, etc.).  In Sevilla there is a bar that has free Flamenco of the purist form on the weekends, so I had to go and experience some flamenco!  There are three parts to flamenco, each which are independently considered flamenco:  the dance, the song, and the guitar.  Flamenco is an expression of emotions and passion.  The singer will wail out a couple of lines over several minutes.  The wails are called 'quejidos'.  But my favorite part of flamenco by far is the guitar.  They use a spanish guitar and play spontaneously.  The skill of the guitarist is extrordinary!

Over these few weeks I have also finally done some of the touristy things that Seville has to offer- the Cathedral and Real Alcazar.  The cathedral is beautiful from the outside with such detailed architecture.  There is also a courtyard on the inside with a mini orange tree grove.  The oranges haven't ripened quite yet, but they will over the next few months, so I want to go back once they are orange.  The Cathedral also has Christopher Colombus's tomb!  The bell tower, known as La Giralda, is 2/3 Islamic and 1/3 Christian.  When you climb up it (via ramps not stairs) you can see all of Sevilla from the Olympic Stadium to the Plaza de Toros to the Plaza de Espana.  You can also see how many roof top pools are around haha.  The view is beautiful and it makes me love Seville even more. 

Right by the cathedral is Real Alcazar- one of the old royal palaces.  It was originally a Moorish fort but like many things during the reconquest, it was taken over and 'christianized', in this case to a royal palace for los Reyes Catolicos (The Catholic royalty).  It has great examples of mudejar architecture.  Mudejars were muslims who lived under Christian rule (the opposite are mozarabs- christians that lived under Islamic rule).  The Alcazar is huge and the architecture is amazing!  The Islamic and Arabic influences are very obvious and it was very interesting for me to see these influences for 2 reasons:  1. Spain is the only country in Europe with a history of Islamic rule, and 2. I'm taking a history class so it's always cool to be able to see the history that you are learning about.  

These two weeks have also been filled with school.  Our midterms lasted two weeks which, for me, included a 10 min oral presentation, 2 essays, a 10 min conversation in spanish, 1 quiz, and 3 exams.  And in Spain there are very few grades which go to the overall grade, so many of these tests counted for 20-30% of my grade which led to a very stressful few weeks.  But it ended soon enough, and it was all made better with a very well timed carepackage sent from home full of halloween candy and socks :) as well as a couple of halloween cards.  Thanks for the mail! I love and miss you all! 

In my cinema class we have watched quite a few Spanish movies now, two of which I would recommend:  'Mujeres al borde de ataque de nervios' (Women of the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) by Almodovar and 'Abre los ojos' (Open Your Eyes) by Alejandro Amenabar.  I have also seen two Spanish movies in theaters (without subtitles)- Lope (about a playwrite during the Golden Age- when Cevantes wrote Don Quijote) and Amador (a strange movie about a caretaker who ends up caring for a dead body). 

I am going to end this post here.  The next one will be packed with pictures and stories since it includes visits to Osuna and Estepa, as well a trip to Madrid! 

Miss you all!
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lacynoel on

Love it! What are we going to do when we go back home? Also, I think you should know that in Arabic alcazar is al-qasr and means palace or fortress. :) Thanks for helping me practice Arabic in your entries.

caroline on

Love this blog, I didn't realise Seville has so much history especially with Christopher Columbus. Love your pics as well:)

aliceparish on

a preview to one of my next blogs, but seville had a monopoly on trade with the new world ( the americas) ... the guadalquivir river into seville had the only port for the ships to enter and leave from. that meant all the gold and riches from the americas came into seville :)

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