After eleven days of flirtation with Africa in Vejer, we drove north to Seville to spend two nights before flying back to the good ol’ USA in time for Folly Beach’s 4thof July festivities, which include, drinking, eating, drinking, watching people compete at cramming hotdogs down their gullets, drinking, fireworks, and drinking.
You can experience Folly on the 4th by clicking here (and also groove on bartender Charlie Neely’s classic dance moves: https://wlm3.com/2015/07/05/celebrating-the-4th-on-folly-after-the-alcohol-ban/
Anyway, Seville is a beautiful city rich in parks, architecture, and history. In fact, its history is essentially the history of Western Europe writ small.
We stayed in the Jewish quarter, once a walled city within a city where abandoned Moorish mosques had been transformed into synagogues. At the Jewish museum, we learned that under benevolent governance, the Jews of Seville flourished, working with the monarchy in managing the realm’s finances and also by contributing to science and the arts.
Unfortunately, thanks to a plague that killed half the city’s population and the scapegoating of fanatical priests spewing hate-filled sermons, in 1391 the Jews’ were forced to either convert to Christianity or face exile. It was a melancholy sight to see the arrows tracing the Jews flight from Seville and to contemplate their descendant’s fate in places like Eastern Europe and the Netherlands.
So the converted mosques that had become synagogues were transformed into cathedrals.
A 100 years later, after Columbus discovered the Indies, Seville became the exclusive site of New World trade, and, of course, became incredibly wealthy.
We didn’t have time to see much of its glories, however. The lines stretching to get into Seville Cathedral (The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See), the world’s fourth-largest church building, conjured images of multitudes waiting to board Charon’s river transport so we missed out on what probably was some wondrous head craning.
Of course, Andalucía is Flamenco Central, and we took in two more shows. I really dig the guitar-playing, the percussive hand-clapping, the foot-stomping, and back-bending, but the vocals just don’t do it for me. The singers don’t so much sing as screed plaintively in a limited vocal range that to my ears lacks nuance. It sort of sounds like I did when my brother Fleming removed stiches from my back with pliers a year after they were supposed to removed.*
*Long story, near fatal car crash, hazy memory re. doctor’s instructions.
Ayyyyyyyy ayyyyyyyyyyyy ohhhhhhhhhhh ayyyyyyyyyyyyy noooooooooooooo.
However, The lyrics are pretty cool, if you’re into self-pity/flagellation. Here are some lines I copped from theartsdesk.com:
Cuando yo me muera, te pío un encargo, Que con las trenzas de tu pelo negro me marren las manos.
When I come to die I ask of you one favour, /That with the braids of your black hair they tie my hands.
Reniego de mi sino, reniego de ti, Como reniego de la horita en que te conosí.
I curse my fate, I curse you, As I curse the hour/ In which I knew you.
They say just before daylight is the darkest hour.
Anyway, the sun did rise on 2 July; we packed our bags and drove to the airport, my co-pilot Caroline guiding me around the roundabouts, Brooks patiently sitting in the backseat. We endured the Kafkaesque return of the rental (some idiot had accidently thrown away the keys when cleaning out the car at drop off point), the propeller plane from Seville to Lisbon didn’t crash (though some idiot left his carry-on bag on the plane), and the trans-Atlantic flight went off without a hitch.
So ole, Espana!
Now, I’m back at Folly, urging the clouds away so I can indulge in some American culture for a change.
“Eat that dog!! Go! Go! Cram it in there. Ole, ole!