Monday, May 16, 2011

Sangria in Sevilla

Alyssa finally showed up in Murcia this week!!  As if it hadn't taken long enough for her to get here (I've only been waiting since September) all of the flights got screwed up too so she ended up getting into Murcia 7 hours later than initially excepted.  Not cool Madrid airport, not cool.  Anyhow, she's here!!  Last week I had, and still have, a lot of work to do so it afforded lots of time to get over her jet lag.  Another great tool?!...goblets of sangria! As it turns out, whilst I was drinking that lovely goblet, there was an earthquake in Lorca.  Everybody in the city of Murcia is fine, but unfortunately there is not a single building in Lorca that did not suffer some damage with 63% almost completely uninhabitable.  It is certainly a sad story and all the students from Lorca in my classes have only been attending sporadically for the past week.  But as I said, luckily no one I know has been hurt, and Alyssa and I are perfectly fine, although I'm not sure the same can be said for our livers.
On Friday we left for Sevilla and due to the severe heat in the city (btw it's only May...July supposed gets up to 120 degrees F) we immediately cooled off with a caña.  Unfortunately the lunch itself was really rather disgusting dry chicken, but at the time we were too hungry to notice.  We then walked around the area where we were staying, near the Plaza de Encarnación (which contains the Plaza Mayor...each street in Sevilla has about 6 names because they couldn't make up their minds which stories were the best ones).  After a few hours of getting our bearings we met up with the tour group that was doing a free, three-hour walking tour of the city.  The tour was fairly interesting (the one in Paris was better) but it did help to get us oriented really well.  Our guide showed us where the cathedral was (not that it's really all that hard to's the tallest building in the city), the Alcázar, a little bit around the Barrio Santa Cruz (the old Jewish quarter), and a major park where the statue commemorating Isabel and Ferdinand sending off Columbus is.

We had a really nice time and then decided to walk over to the Cervecería la Internacional because we could...unforunately there were no seats and our feetsies were tired from walking for 3 hours straight so we decided to try to figure out how to get back to the hostel area and then we would grab some dinner.  We got quite a bit lost, but managed to make it back and ended up having dinner at an amazing restaurant.  Alyssa had an avocado salad, which she said was good and I took her work on, and I had an orange glazed duck breast (perhaps one of the best things I have EVER eaten...I made sure to repeat that quite a few time).  Dinner definitely made up for lunch, and then some.
Saturday we woke up early to get to the Cathedral before it got too hot.  We ended up standing in line for a bit, since it doesn't open until 11 but we managed to make it inside.  We then promptly walked through the cathedral to the Giralda tower entrance which we climbed.  Luckily it wasn't that hard since the iman used to climb up it every day, five times a day, on the back of a donkey (thus there were ramps) for the call to prayer, because like any good Catholic building in Spain it was once Muslim.  The climb was made up of 35 ramps and 17 steps.  The views from the top were spectacular though!
From there we got straight into the line at the Alcázar Real (royal fact, the royal family still stays there when they come to visit Sevilla)

From there we felt that it would be very wrong of us not to get something to drink, so that is what we did.  We walked into the Barrio Santa Cruz and somehow managed to find a square we had seen the day before which a cute restaurant so we sat down and had some drinks and a light lunch of the most amazing gazpacho with watermelon puree in it.  
Lys had sangria and I had a gin & tonic with saffron (mostly because it sounded weird)
best gazpacho ever!
From there we wandered around the Barrio Santa Cruz for awhile and then over to the Plaza de Toros.
According to what the tour guide said, the Plaza de Toros in Sevilla is the oldest plaza that is still running today and they have bull fights almost every weekend starting the week before Semana Santa.  The next fight was the next day so we missed it.  From there we wandered back over towards our hostel and because it was so freaking hot we decided that now would be an appropriate time to have some more disappeared rather rapidly though.
Very sad.  We then went back to the hostel to pack up a little bit (sober up a little bit) and get ready to go the flamenco show.  Because we weren't leaving for the show until 9 and we were ready at 7:30 we decided what better thing to do than go to the Cervecería la Internacional and hope that there were seats open this time...there were!
These are all the different types of beer they had...quite impressive if I do say so myself.
After that little adventure we made our way back to the hostel where we met up with the group going to the flamenco show.  

The show started with just the guitarist and the singer doing a piece and then the male dancer came out.  He did three pieces.  Then there was a fifteen minute break and then the same thing but with the female dancer.  They were both absolutely amazing.  There were bits where there feet were moving so fast I couldn't even see them.  It was a lot of fun though because not only were they amazing dancers, but I was also able to distinguish different movements and the different sounds your foot makes depending upon the way you hit the ground.  It was exciting to know that I've actually learned something in the past 5 months of flamenco class!  
Sunday we got up early to check out and eat some chocolate con churros for breakfast and then back to Murcia.  We spent most of the time in the airport chatting with an older gentleman from upstate New York, who now lives in Rome.  We then got on the plane, which somehow managed to land early, and got on the bus, also early, and were back in time for me to do some homework, talk to Mom on skype and spend a good 20 minutes trying to teach Alyssa's parents how to use skype!

Altogether a very fun weekend!!
¡Hasta la semana que viene!


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