This weekend I had the great opportunity to show off Sevilla. One of my friends from IU came down from Madrid, where he’s studying, and brought some of his Madrid friends with him. As a result, I took the role of tour guide. It definitely reaffirmed my decision of picking Sevilla over Madrid as well as enjoy the little things.
For my friends, they loved Sevilla, minus the accent.
“It’s hasta luego, not ha luego; it’s mas o menos not ma o meno; and finally it has an /s/ don’t drop it, vamos not vamo”
We did everything touristy possible. However, it was really funny that on the weekend they came to Sevilla, it was Dia de Hispanidad (Spain’s equivalent of Columbus Day). Side note, according to Spaniards, we Americans are weird and celebrate Columbus Day way to early. “We are overzealous when it comes to celebrating Columbus Day,” according to the security guard at the US Consulate. Anyway, it seemed that everyone in Spain went to Sevilla this weekend. According to my señor, every hotel in Sevilla was full. After considering myself to have fallen out of the “tourist” category here in Sevilla and be a student/Sevillano, I rejoined the ranks of tourists and visited all the touristy sites. It was incredible to see the amount of people in Sevilla.
During this time, we saw the best parts of Sevilla. We went to the Plaza de España. This is where the Palace of Naboo in Episode I of Star Wars was shot (which may be the only good part of the movie…), the palace in The Dictator, and makes a cameo in the movie I never saw called Prince of Arabia. Since I had planned on studying in Sevilla, I knew it was there but the Madrid people were astonished. Viewing it with them brought me to the same level. It’s just unbelievably ornate and awesome. It’s all ceramics and actually has a cool significance. It is in the shape of a body with two arms reaching out hugging those who would come to the city from the river.
The Cathedral and Giralda was also on their list and once again. It’s the third largest by volume in the world and largest in area in Spain. Finally, on their list was the Real Alcazar, or the Royal Palace for when the King lived in Sevilla. The gardens are huge and magnificent but the walls and interior are decorated with ceramics and intricate designs.
While all this was cool and reminded me how awesome Sevilla is, it proved that Sevilla is a definite must for the visitors. They didn’t know much about Sevilla but fell in love with the city. They plan on coming back at least once more in their lives (probably more than that since they’re lucky enough to be in Spain for a year).
But for me, that wasn’t the best part of the weekend. My friends stayed in a hostel in Triana. Triana is a small neighborhood next to mine, Los Remedios. However, it’s on the opposite of side of the river of the Cathedral and Triana is known for its ceramics. It’s definitely still the small, quaint area where you can and will get lost in the cobblestone streets. On our way back to their hostel, we ran into what we thought was a parade. Of course, we had a schedule and had to meet a few of my friends for tapas, and the parade was going to the exact same way we had to go. However, one of my friends said probably the biggest piece of advise when traveling or in life: “Plans change, just go with it”.
We stayed and watched for a while, and this “parade” was really incredible. First off, Spain is very religious and they have a lot of festivals, holidays, and events revolving around religion, like Semana Santa (Holy Week). This procession was for the church nearby and their patron saint’s feast day was that day. So, to celebrate this, the entire church lines up and proceeds through the streets. Behind them is a float with the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by flowers, candles, and decorations. This is carried by men underneath the float. Behind the float is a full band and incense. It took them 30 minutes to go probably 20 yards.
When we returned two hours later, they were just finishing at the church. Then the next day, by the Cathedral, we ran into another procession for a different church which is funny because the day before was the first time I’d seen or heard of this happening but my señor tells me it’s very common.
Through all this, I came to appreciate my city, Sevilla, even more. It’s always full of surprises. My friends enjoyed the visit to the city as did I enjoy showing off all that Sevilla has to offer. It’s reminded me to expect the unexpected. There’s always something new to find or see and regardless of what is going on, plans change, just go with it. Stop and smell the roses (or in this case, the incense).