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Me Encantar Sevilla

Day 0, Friday 15th September


Just under four years ago (in 2019) we spent a week here in Sevilla. On September 27th of that year I posted on Facebook that “we’ve been in Sevilla for just over 48 hours now, although it somehow feels longer than that.  I love this place”. I’d forgotten writing that, only discovering it today after I’d already agreed on this blog’s title, and yet here I am saying exactly the same thing. This is a big call, but Janet and I have both independently decided that this is our favourite Spanish city (apologies to Carmen if you’re reading this). How can we justify such a call – obviously we can’t, nor do we need to. The many great cities of Spain which we’ve visited – Barcelona, Madrid, Leon, Burgos, Granada, Cordoba, Santiago itself – are all marvellous places and yet there’s something about Sevilla which has grabbed us both.  And of course we are looking at it purely through visitors’ eyes which cannot help but distort the “truth” of a place (as of course was the case in all the others).

 

This visit we didn’t partake of all the standard tourist fare, preferring instead just to wander around and take in the feel of the place, as well as sampling a few bars and cafes. I left my camera in our little apartment, just using the phone to grab a few shots when the urge took me. And there have been a few pre-Camino errands to attend to as well.

 

What we did do though, as a rather special occasion, was to indulge ourselves at a fine Sevillan fish restaurant to celebrate my birthday on Thursday. It’s not necessarily fair to compare with the special meal with Grace and Howard at Auberge Grand’Maison only last Friday; that said tonight’s meal at Cañabota was again one of the best ever. We chose what they call their Omakase selection – essentially chef’s choice.  I lost track, but I think we had something like 13 different courses, some of them with multiple plates, accompanied by an outstanding bottle of Rioja tempraniilo (a San Vincente 2019).  The restaurant only holds some 20 or so people, and the staff number around 10.  We sat at the preparation bench and watched the proceedings. The thing that struck me most was the calm, almost totally non-verbal way the kitchen worked. For most of the time I simply could not work out how they were communicating with each other, but they clearly were because everything worked like clockwork.  They didn’t quite have the personal presentation panache of Auberge Grand’Maison, but the smoothness of the operation, the exquisite taste of many of the dishes, their obvious willingness to serve and please all no doubt go to justifying their Michelin star status (one of only two establishments in Sevilla I think, although I’m willing to stand corrected on that), something they've held for 2021, 22 and 23. We may shortly be heading a bit down-market, and this dinner certainly will give us something to hold on to over coming weeks (and probably years).

 

Tomorrow (Saturday) we stride out from the front of the cathedral on our first tentative steps towards Santiago de Compostela. I’ll admit to some trepidation, which of course may amount to nought, and which I may expand upon in later posts. There have been some fine logistics to get to this point. On Thursday we went to Correos Espana to work out how to send our extra suitcase onto Santiago. The day before we purchased Spanish SIMs so that we would have local data and calls on our phones. Both these transactions in somewhat faltering Spanish. And our final logistical exercise involved actually packing everything we didn’t need into the suitcase bound for Santiago, which means that today (Friday) we’re committed – if we need an item that’s made its way into the suitcase then it’s too late, and if we’ve got spare things we’ll need to carry them for the next 8 weeks.

 

Beyond the above there’s no great commentary this time nor any fine detail, simply rather a series of photos with an accompanying explanation when needed.

 

 

Above: a couple of examples of grand Sevillan architecture/casas of old


 

Above: spices and produce of Sevilla



Above: the remains of old Roman acqueduct, surrounded by 4 lanes of traffic



Cervantes (1547-1616) remains a towering national figure in Spain. I am still only part way through reading Don Quixote (a project I started years ago) - a wonderful but very hard to read tome. It is likely that Cervantes lived in Sevilla in his earlier life, but that is not entirely clear. The top photo is of a bust not far from where we are staying, and the bottom is an intriguing plaque I saw on a wall down near the Guadalquivir. The inscription appears to read:


The prince of the Spanish ingenious, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, mentions this gate called a time of “the customs” and before the "azacanes" imagined that through it they entered Seville

Rinconette & Cortadillo

Characters of the exemplary novels thus titled


I'm not quite sure what all that actually intends to mean, other than the "arcazanes" were ancient water carriers and that they appeared in Don Quixote. There was no obvious "gate", this plaque simply appearing on the side of a somewhat nondescript building.


Above: looking into the ancient shipyards of Sevilla (13th-15th century). Presently under repair (and inaccessible), they also featured as dragon dungeons in Game of Thrones.

 

 



Some Sevillan architecture:

Top - La Torre de Plata - I'm not sure why this is called the "Silver Tower", but since we are walking the Via de la Plata it seemed sort of appropriate to include it here

Middle two - a couple of views of the stunning Plaza del Cabildo. In the second photo you can see the Moorish city walls dating back to the 12th century

Bottom - the grand casas of the city centre are to be admired everywhere


Above: bars and cafes abound ...


Above: on the rooftop patio atop our apartment.







Above: various of the very special birthday dinner at Cañabota


And finally, as I mentioned, today was our final logistics day ...


Our credencials ready to go, and our first sellos, courtesy of a very friendly senora at la catedral


Tomorrow's start point


Tomorrow's start point with today's feet ...


Free!! All spare gear despatched via Correos to suitable collection points



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