Disclaimer: I wrote these Seville posts last summer, but they have been posted in May 2019, when I finally built this website. The posts have been backdated to when they were written. Please forgive their “dear diary,” amateurish style, but I would feel dishonest editing them at this point, as I wrote them in real time during the trip.

Another lazy morning listening to the streets wake up. I’m sure if I lived here that would get old, but it’s been one of the most pleasant features of the trip for me. The sounds are nothing like in big cities like New York, where the stores downstairs are large with hundreds of people living above. Instead, the buildings here are maybe four stories tall with just a few groups of families living above, and with only small shops below. While you do hear sounds, they aren’t as harsh and intrusive as in a huge city. It is almost like falling asleep listening to frogs, crickets and owls– there is something very calming about the noise.

At any rate, after listening to the morning sounds, we got up and went across the street to a local place called Cafe Ruiz and ate a strange sort of orange pastry that was quite good with cafe con leche. We sat by the window, and our AirBnB owner, Maria, walked by and gave us a wave.

I’m sure I’m just romanticizing the experience, but I get the impression that the city really feels like a close neighborhood. We have seen shopkeeper’s children spending time in the shops of others, couples out having their paseo (evening stroll) together, hand in hand and saying hello to people they know, children playing ball on the street and people traveling the same path every day to get to work. It’s also nice to see the shopkeepers standing outside, talking with each other across the narrow street. It feels much more like a community than Jacksonville does, where other than your immediate neighbors and your co-workers, you don’t see the same people very often unless you go out of your way to do so.

Today we went to the museum at the Archivo General de Indias, which is where almost all the records for new world exploration are stored. The Archives, like the Cathedral yesterday, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is the same archives that Spencer and his fellow researchers are using. The museum we looked through was interesting, but if you want to use the archives for research, they now housed across the street in the reading room.

I wanted to do some research while I was here, but didn’t quite have a specific thing that would justify the time I’d have to spend to research, as I would have to get several letters from people supporting my need for research, as well as be able to explain in Spanish the purpose of my visit. I’m sure there are things in the archive that I would find extremely useful, but not researching on this trip gives me an excellent excuse to return in the future.

The museum itself was enjoyable, and afterwards Paul and I went to the Real Alcazar, which is yet another UNESCO World Heritage site. The Alcazar was beautiful and interesting, consisting of structures from as old as the 900s when the Moors ruled Spain, up through essentially the 1600s. Even today when the royal family visits, they stay at the Alcazar, so for over 1,000 years, the building has been occupied by royalty. The Alcazar also houses the first painting depicting Native Americans in the New World. The gardens and the buildings were beautiful and had a lot to explore. We stayed for a while but got very hungry, so we didn’t explore everything.

We had a great time poking around and headed out to lunch. We went to a place called Mateos, which Paul says has been his favorite restaurant so far. We headed back to our room, and on the way, I filmed the street and our walk upstairs. Afterward, we headed out for trinket shopping and were able to get a shirt for Jim that we had been hunting for since the day we arrived, and then we met with Carmen, Spencer and the kids for one last meal together in Seville.

We went and had cochinas again, which are by far my favorite thing to eat on this trip, even surpassing my love of the jamon. The kids went back home and Carmen and Spencer and I went to “the place with the red door.” This place was essentially a large bar and stage that hosts a Flamenco show.

We drank Agua de Seville, which was a kind of ice cream drink, and ate. The Flamenco was much better than I expected. I had very little interest in seeing a Flamenco show, but it was very impressive! The dancing was certainly passionate and I was impressed with the way her dancing was another percussion instrument. The show consisted of a guitarist, a singer, and the dancer. The singer often clapped, as did the dancer. They were very talented and this showed in their clapping, which made a variety of sounds and different volume levels.

At the end of the show, the dancer’s mascara was running down one cheek. Paul suspects that may have just been for dramatic effect, but the effect certainly worked for me. We weren’t supposed to take photographs (though we did sneak a video), so there aren’t any great photos, but I do remember the experience well.

Carmen and Spencer walked us home and we said goodbye. Of course, we had a tearful farewell. Carmen and I always hate to leave each other, but to know that I have to leave such a beautiful place with my favorite people was sad. Reality back home awaits us, however. We packed most of our stuff that night and got to bed around 1:30, but we have to be up around 5:30 for a long day of traveling.

Check out the photos below, and then continue with Seville Trip Day 8 and 9, or go back to read Seville Trip Day 6!