Primavera en Sevilla

"half shy, she is half joyful." wei zhuang

Adios Sevilla


Adios to the neighborhood I lived in,

my favorite calle Prosperidad where Iglesia Prosperidad is located,

the Intermedio class I learned with all semester,

the Spanish food,

and Chata, my Spanish Senora, with her grand-daughter Isabel.

With my prayer group leader Heather and Sarahjane at Italica.

Patricia and Isabel, the two girls I tutored English throughout the semester.

Wonderful girls that I met during my semester.

My roommate Sarahjane and I.
Walking across the river every day and seeing the Torro del Oro of Sevilla, Espana.

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Feria

Feria might very well be one of my favorite experiences that I have seen in Sevilla.

Throughout the entire country of Spain, Sevilla is namely known for their Feria- people from all over Spain come to Sevilla for their Feria. According to the news, around 7,000 people were claimed to be at Feria in a given day. Feria is basically a large fair with hundreds of casetas (tents) lining the streets named after famous bullfighters. Sevillianos purchase these tents for the length of Feria with friends and family. From the outside, it looks like hundreds of simple tents, however, upon walking inside one of these tents you quickly feel as if you have walked into a highly decorated home. Some Sevillianos even have catering companies and servers for their family, friends, and guests of their tents. Sevillianos enjoy Feria by wearing Flamenco dresses, dancing the Sevilliana, eating, and drinking. Sevilianos begin celebrating as early as 2 in the afternoon and seldom don’t go home until late after midnight. My house is very close to the Feria; therefore, Chata’s son and daughter-in-law, along with their daughter stayed over at Chata’s during Feria week, and wouldn’t arrive back home until 4:30 am on certain nights- even with their 4-year-old daughter! Feria is definitely a huge deal around Sevila- the construction for Feria starts as early as December! 


T
his was one of the favorite flamenco dresses I saw.

A coach of 5 horses- the horse carriages are out during the daytime. 


Inside a tent- make note of the pictures hanging on the walls and other decour. 




A street sign named after a famous bullfighter.





There is an amusement ride section along with the Feria as well as a circus. 


Fireworks were the perfect ending for Feria at midnight. 

Semana Santa

The week preceeding Easter, Semana Santa takes place, known as Holy Week. Semana Santa came across as very unique. For days, “pasos” take place, which are processions with floats of highly ornate wooden sculptures that are carried by costaleros- volunteers who carry the life-like sculptures. From 24-48 costaleros are needed to carry these pasos because they are extremely heavy! The pasos are very old, and unfortunately many processions had to be canceled during the week of Semana Santa due to the rain. Ironically, it was the first time I’ve seen Spain get rain since I arrived in January.

Here is a nazarene- dressed in tunics, they aren’t allowed to eat, drink, or talk all day long. The colors of the nazarene’s outfits vary from color to color. They are the ones who mainly lead the processions.

Walking by the nazarenes- they are all over the city during Semana Santa because anyone can volunteer to be a nazarene.

Sarahjane walking alongside a nazarene- it got to be pretty funny seeing these guys everywhere.

Waiting for the paso- the streets were packed like you’d never believe. The paso can be proceeded by a marching band, nazarenes, and/or the carrying of the crosses as you can see above.

The paso I witnessed was on Good Friday- the Virgin Mary was paraded throughout the streets all day long.

The streets are crowded day and night, as the crowds anticipate viewing the processions pass by.

Children nazarenes.

After a week of watching these processions, I was really looking forward to an Easter service at the evangelical church. However, I quickly learned that Good Friday is celebrated more than Easter day, and the most I got from sunday service on Easter was “Feliz dia de Pascua”, “Happy Day of Resurrection.”

So to make up for not being with family on Easter day- about half the group got together at the park, sang songs, played cards, and had great community together.

*pictures by Sarahjane

Un Cumpleaños en Granada y Montar de Caballos

I spent my birthday in Granada, Spain at the Maktub Adventure Hostel with two lovely friends of mine, Sarahjane and Tori. There we met Francois, the guy in charge of the hostel and who took us to the Sierra Nevada Mountains for our horseback excursion. Francois is from Montreal, and married with two children, running the hostel on his own because his partners just up and left him only a couple weeks prior to our arrival. We all felt sorry for him; yet, nonetheless, it was great to get to know him during our ride to the mountains, and he was happy to get away from the city for a while as well. The hostel was very neat and eclectic- and was an overall great first hostel experience. The girls in my room all spoke different languages: German, Italian, French, etc. It was very cool in the sense that all of us girls found Spanish to be the only way of communication among all of us.
Granada is definitely my favorite place that I have visited in Spain. It is very muslim influenced and I loved all the shops. Smells of incense filled the streets and tapestries were for sale abundantly. Colors were jewel-toned in ambers, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. From hookahs to tea sets to leather bags and arab clothing- Granada had it’s own charm of character fresh from the monotony that I felt I was finding in previously visited Spanish cities.

Sarahjane and Tori- the two girls who came to Granada to celebrate my birthday with me. Behind them is the magnificent site of the Alhambra- an Arabic Palace.

Taking a long stroll through Granada- walking uphill on Calle de Sacromonte, popular for it’s “cuevas”- caves.

I loved the styles of homes in the rural area of Granada.

Tori, Sarahjane, and I found an Arabian restauraunt where we enjoyed sweet cous-cous with cinnamon and hummus with pita bread finished with sweet mint tea.

How I love sweet mint tea : )

Tori in our awesome hostel room.
On the morning of my birthday no one was up- partially due to the fact that the night prior was just daylight savings- hence making my birthday a 23-hour day- the shortest day of the year! Francois finally got up and made some amazing, homemade, hearty bread which I greatly enjoyed in comparison to the white bakery bread so commonly had for breakfast in Spain along with a big cup of black Arabic coffee- freshly brewed : )

Shortly after breakfast Francois took my friends and I to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

There we went to a farm where people live a simple lifestyle and enjoyed the privileged experience of riding horses.

I greatly enjoyed the fresh air and sights of natural beauty.

Yet I mostly enjoyed the tranquility of it all.

My horse, Milana, took me through the Granada mountains- through trails of marvelously smelling rows of almond trees and through mini farming communities.

Riding through the almond trees- the flowers of the almond trees smell remarkable.

There’s definitely something to be said about riding on a horse- and it was a fabulous start to a 20th year as well as a new decade in my life.

La Catedral de Sevilla

Despite all of the cathedrals I have visited since arriving in Spain, I figured that I could not leave here without visiting Sevilla’s very own cathedral. Sevilla’s cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest in the world.

Yes, the cathedrals are nothing short of magnificent, but I am only being honest when noting that they all tend to look the same after a while. That is why I would like to point out the stained-glass in Sevilla’s cathedral. After viewing many cathedrals you begin to search for what sets the one cathedral apart from the others, and I love stained-glass.

The main attraction of Sevilla’s cathedral is La Giralda- the bell tower.

Many, many bells.

Every cathedral is built in cruciform- the shape of a cross. Can you distinguish the cross?

The courtyards are usually perfectly lined with rows of trees.

A view of Sevilla from La Giralda.

Sevilla’s bullring- the most famous in Spain. Bullrings are constructed to be a perfect circle; however, Sevilla’s bullring is the only one that isn’t a perfect circle and is off just a tad bit in it’s dimensions.

La Primera Plaza de Toros

In mid-March was a group excursion to Ronda- the city in Spain with the very first bullring. Below is the statue of a bull directly outside the bullring.

In my Spanish literature class I recently finished my very first Spanish novel, “Sangre y Arena”- (Blood and Sand), a fictional story about a bullfighter, Gallardo, from Sevilla who lets his pride in fame become his downfall. Bullfights are a large part of the culture in Spain, and continue to be currently. The season is just about to begin in Sevilla for bullfights, in which costs can vary from eight euros to hundreds of euros depending on the seat and whether the bullfighter is a novillero or a torero- novilleros fight young bulls whereas toreros fight grown bulls. According to “Sangre y Arena”, a bullfight consists of three matadors (bullfighters), each of whom have two bulls to fight- for a total of six bullfights for the audience to witness.

Inside the bullring- can you find the door where they release the bulls?

The vintage paint designs- I love the muted blues, greens, and reds and how they contrast against the sand of the bullring. 
According to “Sangre y Arena”- each bullring is different throughout  various Spanish cities due to the color of their sand. The color of the sand in Sevilla is called “grana”- a muted reddish hue.

To only imagine that this bullring has seen it all and has rarely had an empty seat in it’s stadium!

Here’s a sneak peek to my Spanish doors collection that I have been “digitally” collecting throughout my stay in Spain. Nonetheless, this isn’t just any Spanish door- it’s a Spanish bullring door!

White houses are very common throughout Spain. Make note of all the pots on the bottom right in Spain’s colors- red and yellow. There’s some Spanish pride!

Ronda is a city known to be built around a canyon which made for some really neat pictures.

The depth perception is not easily captured until you travel to the bottom of the canyon.

Therefore, we traveled to the bottom to reach the river- a few hundred steps downward,

only to look up at the sky or to  see the city of Ronda in the water’s reflection.

El Resto de Toledo

In the beginning of March, my group and I took a second group excursion to Toledo- which consisted of a 6 hour drive north through Spain. Toledo is very close to the capital of Madrid and is famous for it’s swords. Toledo is also known for making swords for movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean and is also the site of where the ring was made for Lord of the Rings.

Un Feliz Cumpleaños a Chata

Friday was my Señora Chata’s birthday! A bit unfortunate for Chata- a birthday consisted of her cooking all day for various family that continued to visit her throughout the day. Since arriving in Spain, I have noticed that Chata has two married sons who have specific days of the week to come over for lunch. Chata never seems thrilled on the days her sons come to visit- because it means she has to cook more! Chata does not like to cook all day- it simply stresses her out. I told her that on her birthday it should be the other way around and that she should not be the one cooking! Nonetheless, it does not seem to work that way in Chata’s family.
Sarahjane and I wanted to do something special for Chata- so we bought her flowers and made her a dessert with a special pan called an “aebleskiver” that Sarahjane  brought with her as a gift for Chata. We figured that Chata would not know how to use the aebleskiver pan unless we made her something with it. Successfully, Sarahjane and I found whole wheat pancake mix to make “aebleskivers” with nutella and bananas.

Sarahjane was excited to cook, especially to make something familiar. She makes aebleskivers frequently at home, so she knew what she was doing, and I was more than happy to help!

Chata can be a little impossible when it comes to taking pictures. However, this was one of the first times Chata has allowed me to take a picture of her, so I took the opportunity since she finally consented. This is the best picture I was able to get out of her! We hope that Chata enjoyed her first aebleskiver.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños a Chata!

Los Molinos de Viento de Don Quixote

Above are the famous windmills in La Mancha, Espana.

The windmills are known from the novel Don Quixote- written in the early 1600s. Don Quixote can be compared to reading the language of Shakespeare. Advanced students at my school have the option to take a course in reading Don Quixote.

On the way to a two-day excursion in Toledo, my group made a stop in La Mancha to take pictures of the windmills.
La Mancha is about an hour outside of Toledo.

I found La Mancha to be a rather beautiful countryside in Spain.

“All kinds of beauty do not inspire love; there is a kind which only pleases the sight, but does not captivate the affections.”
Don Quixote

“No todas hermosuras enamoran, que algunas alegran la vista, y no rinden la voluntad.”
Don Quixote

“Not with whom you are born, but with whom you are bred.” Don Quixote

“No con quien naces, sino con quien paces.” Don Quixote

Destacados de Febrero

A few friends and I went to Zaragoza- in the Aragon province of Spain for a weekend this February. Look closely, and you'll see that the city was under a lot of construction! Plus, we weren't so smart in going to northern Spain in the beginning of February. Nonetheless, it was a great trip that only made me appreciate my southern city of Sevilla all the more.

I officially tried my first tapa when our tourguide took us out for tapas. "Going out for tapas" is very common in Spain. Tapas range from many types of food, and are typically small portion sizes of different Spanish foods. This tapa shown above would have tasted much better if it was warm- however, it was served cold. I much preferred the espinaca with garbanzo beans and bull's tail.

I witnessed my first protest in Spain. There tend to be a lot of protests in Spain- it's all I seem to hear on the television. In this picture is a little boy writing with chalk during the protest. My friends and I went to see what was going on, only to be given pieces of chalk to take part in the protest. Many protests are occurring because of the lack of jobs in Spain.

I attended my first Flamenco show. It was very difficult to get a clear photo while the Flamenco dancer was dancing. Flamenco definitely shows the spirit of a typical Spaniard woman, full of power and emotion.

Learning how to navigate around Spain can be difficult, yet has become more successful throughout the month- especially since road names are typically on the sides of buildings. Unlike the United States, there are no street signs.