Last week, it was time for a trip to Spain, starting off in Sevilla. I spent a semester of undergraduate study there 6 years ago and went back to visit my host family. I learned quite a few things about the city – mainly, that when the entire thing is not under construction at once, it can be kind of enjoyable.
Getting there was half the fun (sarcasm alert!). We flew out of Weeze airport, which offered affordable Ryan Air service to Sevilla and was listed as being in “Duesseldorf”. Turns out that they misspelled “almost in the Netherlands”. We got up at 3:30 a.m., walked to the train station in Bielefeld and took three trains and a bus to get to the airport in time for our 10 a.m. flight. Getting back was more of a pain since it was on a Saturday with less frequent bus and train service. Needless to say, I think we’re done flying anywhere using Bielefeld as our home point.
Once we got to Sevilla, we found the hotel, checked in and started walking around. First things first:
I have been dreaming of this coffee and these chocolate neopolitanos. This was at some chain cafeteria and it was still the best coffee I’ve had in six years.
After this treat, to the Plaza de España. The whole time that I lived here, the Plaza was under major construction and there was no water in the moat. Behold! Water! It makes a lot more sense as a tourist attraction when you see it like this.
On the second day, we went to the Plaza de Toros, something I had never visited before though I’d seen bullfighting rings in other cities, like Ronda. The tour was a rote script memorization in Spanish, followed immediately by English, and we were rather unceremoniously dumped out into the street at the end of it all. Photos are kind of cool, though:
We also stopped in to the Archivo de Indias, a building that houses the documentation regarding Spain’s
conquest extended friendly housestays in other countries. It was free and had some cool documentation on display; however, along with other moments in the weekend, it did illuminate something that always bothered me about Sevilla and its cultural pride. To be truly fair to your past and lend legitimacy to what you’re sharing, why not at least mention that there are negative interpretations of these things that you’re showing off? This is more about my low tolerance for B.S. than any particular social or political views, but we watched a 15 minute documentary about the Archivo de Indias without a hint that it stands for a colonization of millions of people. At the Plaza de Toros, there was no mention of controversy regarding the practice of bullfighting, but our tour guide rather adamantly told us that if it weren’t for bullfighting and the associated need to breed these bulls, the types of bulls that they use for slaughter would have gone extinct long ago. So bull-fighting is good…for the bulls. Yes.
Similarly, Sevillians are shocked to learn that there is an anti-Christopher Columbus movement in the United States – how could anyone have a bad word to say about their homeboy*, buried in their Catedral? Even at Monticello, they tactfully broach the topic of Jefferson’s slave ownership, rather than dance around the rather large elephant in the room (on the plantation?).
More photos to come on Sevilla, including helado, oranges and the Alcázar.
*And he wasn’t even Spanish. Bam. I went there.