Now we’re traveling. It’s pleasant to see the natty business people politely disembark the Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) trains. At the station I leave Sue and the boys to scout our upcoming Hertz car rental pickup, and get caught in a downpour on my way back across the street, but it’s a temporary tempest and by the time our cab squeaks through the tight streets to our Jewish Quarter apartment, the sky is dry. We’re well located in the shadow of Seville’s famous Moorish bell tower, deep in the labyrinth of twisting alleys so small they keep cars at bay. Seville is pedestrian heaven: all that new world gold passed to the old world here, and it shows in the grand stone structures and streets.
It’s 3pm – a young day by Spanish standards – so we venture out to scout some dinner options, then make our way into the great Cathedral and up her ancient bell tower ramp for views and to orient ourselves. The structure is monstrous and magnificent – the largest gothic cathedral on earth and the 3rd largest cathedral period… and it makes the grand Latin America’s cathedrals seem quaint. We’ve got dueling downloads of both Rick Steves and Lonely Planet on our phones, so Max and Ben are our honorary tour guides, and they do a fine job. A late siesta and some online planning precede our evening foray – we linger through a fine tapas meal then lumber to slumber.
Our apartment lies deep in the bowels of an old stone structure… Spanish shutters work, so it’s 10AM before we shutter awake, and it’s a rush to make our next appointment, a Virtual Reality tour of old and new Seville. “Past View” provides tourists with VR glasses, historic video and a guide to lead you out into town where in 4-5 stops you can look around at what the city once was in it’s historic heyday. It’s a bit corny but adequately engaging for the boys.
Post-tour we hurry for overpriced tourist tapas to fend off teen hanger, then find our way over to the lovely Alcazar, originally home to moorish Caliphs and now the official residence of Spain’s King Filipe VI. I didn’t know that Spain is a parliamentary monarchy… did you? The latticed structures are lovely and the expansive gardens are in full bloom. For a few moments we’re trapped by another afternoon squall, but it clears then we chase a peacock’s calls across lavender jacaranda shadows to find two plumed couples strutting about an English garden. A teal green mallard seems to seek counsel with the cobalt cock, they make a colorful odd couple.
A siesta recharges our cells – we are Spaniards now – and we venture out at 6PM for a quick tapa before an intimate 7PM Flamenco show. An imposing goth opera Mama Cass character sets a serious tone with her baritone calls, and a quick-chorded acoustic guitar sets the tempo as two lithe dancers strut on stage – bolt upright – he in dark skin tight shirt and slacks, and she in a bright form fitting flamenco dress. An hour of stomps glares and castanets is about right… it’s good entertainment but not a participatory sport… I’ll take Salsa and Cha-Cha.
The boys are tired so we walk them back to the apartment then Sue and stroll and land in another fine restaurant for a 9PM dinner. The service is excellent, the food fine and the wine adventurous. We waddle home with civil Sevilla in our palate.