And the rain continues…

March 5, 6, and 7 In Seville

When I last posted, on Monday, I mentioned a sudden squall. Since then the weather has been unsettled. It rained on Monday afternoon and evening, but we were able to get out. We dodged rain showers yesterday and were out for a good part of the day. This morning dawned bright, sunny, and cold. It was about 45 degrees—but felt colder—when we went out at 8:30 but it felt colder.

Courtyard of our apartment building in Seville

Monday was spent walking around in Seville. We explored places we had been before and found new places in Barrio Santa Cruz. Our apartment is in a building that sits next to a part of the old city wall and is a path for tourists. But it is not generally noisy in the apartment. The 4 floors (planchas) of apartments surround a nicely maintained courtyard and quiet fountain. Whenever the heavy wooden doors on the front of the building are opened tourists step up to the iron gate that blocks entrance and comment on the interior.

Pizza at a favorite restaurant in Seville

Monday morning we headed for a restaurant we have been visiting for a few years but since we have been there last they have expanded more and it wasn’t the nice intimate place we remembered. In contrast, the restaurant we revisited Sunday afternoon was just as we remembered it. We recognized some of the waitstaff (camereros) and the food was as good as ever.

At Casa de la Guitarra

Monday evening we went to Casa de la Guitarra for a flamenco performance. Last year we went there and it was a hike from our apartment. This year we were only 5 minutes away. I have to say that I was disappointed in the performance this year. The guitarra and cante were good, but the bailaora didn’t seem to be engaged. The performance finished early in the evening and we were glad to get home since it was raining a little bit.

Tuesday morning it was cloudy and cold. (Do you sense a theme about the weather in Seville?) One of the things about this area of Seville is that there is always a restaurant or bar/restaurant or pasteleria within a few steps of where one stops. The one we picked is probably less than 100 yards from the apartment. The food was OK, but we think we can do better. This place was just across callejon (back street or alleyway) from the Hotel Murillo. More about Murillo in a bit, but for now, know that Seville is celebrating the painter’s 400th birthday, so there is a bunch of Murrio-related stuff around.

Later on in the morning we walked to the Seville Fine Arts Museum. We really like the place and have visited it several times. We were able to get there without getting rained on, but when we were ready to leave, it was raining buckets.

The entrance fee for this museum is nominal, about 1.50 euro (about $1.80). People with EU passports get in for free. I got up to the ticket window and the attendant looked at me and gave me 2 tickets that said EU resident. I hope that means I am starting to look like I know what I am doing.

The museum had a large exhibit of Murillo paintings. They were all in one place in a church at one time but got separated or gifted or taken (France in the 1810s, I’m looking at you) but were brought together for this exhibit. The explanations, which were often in English as well as Spanish, were very useful and we even saw some of the technology used to look “under” the surface of the paintings to reveal how the artist altered as he was going. The pictures themselves were all on religious themes, which is natural given when they were done, but are all populated with people who look real and have real expressions. There are also stunning details where it would be easy to just blur something in. In all other parts of the museum, one is allowed to take pictures of the art as long as no flash is used. For this exhibit, unfortunately, no pictures were allowed at all. I would really have liked to capture those images.

Besides the pictures, a highlight of the visit were a few groups of very young schoolchildren, as in kindergarten and 1st grade. They were well-behaved and well led. I don’t know what they were being told, but they listened attentively. We wondered if we would ever see kids this young in an art museum in the U.S.

After waiting in the museum for a little while for the rain to stop, we walked over to the Plaza Encarnacíon where there is a food market inside the structure known as the “Mushroom.” We bought some olives and cheese—all done in Spanish—and had a nice afternoon snack. Needless to say, we dodged rain on the way back.

Wednesday morning we headed out at 8:30 to have breakfast at one of several places we have spotted that advertised “desayuno.” I think we discovered a cultural disconnect: most of the places didn’t open until 9:00 or 9:30, which seems a little late for breakfast for us. But we did fine. We walked up to Plaza Alfafa (not to be confused with Plaza Alfaro, where we are staying) and at a pastry shop we have visited before.

Some of the restoration work at the cathedral

Wednesday afternoon I headed over to the cathedral, which we visit regularly. There is a discount entrance fee for people over 65 and in the past I have had to show my passport to get it. This time I said “Soy una pensionista” and the attendant looked at me and said “Sí” and no further verification was needed. Hmm. In addition to the restoration work going on outside, there is a good bit of work going on inside. The scale of the cathedral, like that of the Mezquita” in Cordóba, can’t be described, but has to be experienced. I try to take pictures that capture the immense space but I am never successful.

Interior of the cathedral

While Wednesday started out sunny, it clouded over in the afternoon and at 7:00pm, as I write this, the rain has begun again. And today was supposed to be the good weather day of the week. Patricia and I can laugh about the inconvenience because we are on vacation, but there has been real damage from the rain throughout Andalucia over the past couple of weeks. We saw news reports last night of damage on the beaches and in towns where one report said “The streets ran with water like rivers.”

Still no useful internet here.  The host is very apologetic, but that hasn’t fixed the problem. But I will try to add some pictures to this post even if I can’t upload very many to the pictures page.

Here is a map that shows our “trail” on Wednesday.

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