The tablao at La Casa del Flamenco is quiet just before the show begins

The weather today was a little cooler than yesterday and it stayed mostly cloudy. We were out at mid-day, but chose to eat inside.

Our apartment is on the ground (bajo) floor of an old palace in an older part of Seville. We had a “surprise” this morning in one of the bathrooms. There was a pretty unpleasant odor. I contacted the agency and they sent someone over within minutes. She literally sniffed around for a moment and told me that I was not to worry. This part of Seville is built on a river, she said, and often in the mornings, or when it rains, the smell comes up through the sinks. [That sounds like bad plumbing to me.] I will bring a spray, she said, but the smell will go away by afternoon. And, she was right; by the time we got back, no smell. All part of the experience.

From the guide to the Juan Martinez Montanes exhibit.

Our first outing of the day was to visit the Museo de Bellas Artes. We have been there several times before and our feet know the way. We discovered that there was a temporary exhibit at the museum that filled one of the largest exhibit spaces. That space usually displays large-scale painting by Murillo, a painter we like. Now, until mid-March, the space is dedicated to an amazing exhibition of works by Juan Martínez Montañés (Alcalá la Real 1568 – Seville 1649). He was a sculptor and his works were an influence on, and influenced by, the Baroque. Unfortunately, I was not permitted to take any photos, but I copied one from the brochure. That does not do the sculptures any justice. I should mention, despite what the picture may seem to show, the sculptures are not of stone, but are done in wood and polychrome.

The detail and emotion Martínez Montañés brings out of wood must be seen to be believed. The gallery was abuzz with people talking about the works of art in multiple languages. We spent nearly an hour-and-a-half in just this one section of the museum.

On the way back to the apartment we found I’ll Vesuvio, a nice Italian Ristorante just off the Calle Serpiente. We had a pleasant lunch there. It turned out to be a good thing that we hadn’t let the temptations of the many sweet shops we passed sate our appetites before we got there because the portions were large and the food was quite good.

We took it easy for a couple of hours this afternoon because we felt like we had been really on the go for the last 10 days. 

This evening we went to see some flamenco at a venue called La Casa del Flamenco. It is in one of the internal courtyards of a 15th century building in the Santa Cruz barrio and it doesn’t seat a lot of people. We did not really have expectations one way or another, but the price was right so we expected to be at least entertained. We didn’t even bother to look at who was performing when I was buying tickets before we left Santa Fe.

Fin de fiesta at La Casa del Flamenco

While we were standing in line, I looked at the list of performers for the month of March posted on the wall and recognized many of the names. That raised our expectations, because some of the names were people we had seen in Jerez just days ago. Tonight’s performers were Macarena Ramírez, Ramon Martínez (bailaores), Juan José Amador, Miguel Picua (cantaores), and Eugenio Inglesias (guitarra). We have seen Amador in Albuquerque and just a few days ago at a peña in Jerez. We saw a terrific performance and the artists really engaged the audience of 60 or so people.

The show ended just after 8:00, which now seems early to us, so we stopped for a bit of desert at a place called Altamira. We had a little bit of confusion when the waiter came back after we ordered and said (I thought) “I do not have what you ordered. ¿Especial Altamira?” So I said (in Spanish) “you do not have Especial Altamira?” thinking he meant they were out of it. He was confused and said that they did have it and did I want it. He meant, with his first question, that he did not have in his mind what I ordered and did he guess correctly. It turned out fine and the Especial—flan topped by orange sorbet and in an orange Carmel sauce—was indeed special.

We enjoyed anther good day. Tomorrow Patricia and I are taking a cooking class in Triana. I am sure Patricia will enjoy it, but I wonder how I will do.

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