Monday 15 July 2013
Susie and I started the day by searching for somewhere to print train tickets. It did not take us long to find a suitable place on La Calle Feria, which runs through a busy commercial district. On the way back to the apartment, Susie took a detour into a second-hand clothes shop, so I completed the journey by myself. Later in the morning, Susie and Ruby went clothes shopping together, and mercifully left me behind in the apartment to catch up on some blog entries.
It became clear to me that morning that I was unlikely to complete this blog while we were still in Spain, and that it would be very difficult to complete once we returned home. How right I was! As I am typing, it is mid-September; I am back home in Australia, overwhelmed by work, and our Iberian holiday is a distant dream. But this blog allows me to escape back into the dream from time to time, and so I am determined to complete it, even if some of the detail escapes me. I want us to have a complete record to look back on. That means I have to recount two more nights in Seville, three nights in Córdoba, and five nights in Madrid.
In the early evening, Susie, Ruby and I headed out from the apartment, away from the Alameda and towards a tower at the top of our street which houses a camera obscura. Unfortunately the tower was closed, so I will have to recount our visit to this wonderful facility in tomorrow’s entry.
We moved on to the nearby Basilica de Macarena. This is one of the most popular religious edifices in the district and it contains a particularly beautiful statue of the Virgin. I was struck by how bright the paintings were on the ceilings and walls, and then I realised that they were all recent. The basilica was built in the 1940s and most of the paintings date from the 1950s. They are somewhat cheesy, and they reminded me of small devotional cards that used to be on sale in the Pellegrino shop in Manuka when I was a child growing up in Canberra in the 1970s.
Seville must be one of the few cities in the world where you can wander around looking for a giant mushroom in the sky without inviting unwanted attention. One of the more recent additions to the cityscape is a vast sculpture the size of an entire city block that is fashioned from interlocking wooden modules. Its official name is the Metropol Parasol, but because it takes the form of a giant oyster mushroom, the locals refer to it simply as La Seta.
We wandered around the base of the structure until we found a small tunnel that leads to a ticket office and lift where you can join a walkway that allows you to view the structure from above. It also affords impressive views of Seville, which we enjoyed as the city was gradually bathed in the golden light of late afternoon.
At length we occupied a small table in a tapas bar located on top of the structure. We ordered some drinks and three or four small delights, one of which was an amazingly creamy mushroom risotto which Ruby thoroughly enjoyed. After the sun had set we headed back to the Alameda on foot via the trendy end of La Calle Feria, which sported a range of alternative bookshops and “retro chic” clothing boutiques.
Later in the evening we located a restaurant near our apartment on the Alameda that used to be vegetarian, but had since gone over to the Dark Side. It was called Arte y Sabor. We had read some reviews that mentioned they still served some of the vegetarian dishes, so we thought this might be good place to eat out with Ruby, who would be leaving us early the following morning. Although the service was a bit hit-and-miss, the menu was well worth exploring, and we ended up ordering quite a few dishes and whiling away the evening, observing the nightlife and trying to stretch out our last few hours with Ruby. This restaurant certainly had the widest selection of vegetarian food that we had yet found in Seville. It was a bit of shame that we had not found it earlier—but better late than never.