WHOOPS, wanna know what I did in Sevilla?! Read on.
Third city in 5 days already. This hotel life is starting to get to me because I am eager to get to Madrid already! But I also am LOVING this seminar. Imperium was for sure the way to go. However, I am super excited for Sevilla (Se-VEE-yah) because that means we get to meet up with another SU Madrid group, Azahar. My roommate in Madrid, Anna, is on Azahar, and so are a bunch of friends and friends of friends from ‘Cuse, so I know it will be a great time. We are overlapping for two nights, which means double the seminars, double the fun.
After our 5 hour bus ride, we arrived in Sevilla around 6 pm, napped til about 7:30 pm, and then had a lesson about the Spanish Empire in America before a delicious hotel dinner. (Finally! A place that has normal ketchup, but not up to par dessert.) We connected with our Azahar friends, then hit up the club Terraza Bilindo to celebrate a guy on the trip’s birthday (read: free sangria and VIP access, gracias). I was told by a Spanish man, Jesus, that I speak English too fast, and that it would take me about 6 months to become fluent. Well, I have three, so let’s gooooo.
The next day, we went to the Monastery of La Rábida where good ol’ Cristobal Colon prepared to set sail in 1492. We got to tour replicas of the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, and all I can say is this is the last time I will complain about a 5 hour bus ride when those guys had a 72-day
booze cruise journey from hell across the ocean. Talk about seasick. The monastery was so beautiful and peaceful, and it was such a strange feeling to consider that the land they stumbled upon happened to be where I’m visiting from. I kinda felt like I had come full circle.
After the history, it was time for the beach! Specifically the beach of Mazagón in the south of Spain. Shout out to my San Fran best fran Allison for her first dip in the Atlantic Ocean! For the first time in Spain, I truly felt at home, laying in the sand with Zac Brown Band blasting through my iPod. Aside from the children chattering in Spanish and the creepy men trying to sell us fake Ray Ban sunglasses, it was just like a US beach. The water was so clear and so blue, and SO WARM. I didn’t want to leave…
After the housing meeting with Jose Luis, I am feeling so excited about my host family! I have one madre named Emi who has an apartment close to school, and Anna and I each have our own rooms. She got great reviews from previous students, and apparently she makes really good healthy food. SCORE. That night, Anna, Rhiann, Hailee, Allison, and I got helado (ice cream) for the
8th 2nd time this trip and wandered around Sevilla. I can’t believe how many little kids are out and about so late at night!
The NEXT day (we were here a while), we went to an olive oil tasting session in Carmona at Almazara Basilippo! It was so unique and a nice break from religious turmoil and destruction. He showed us how to harvest the olives from the tree, when to start, and some other tips and tricks about buying the right kind. During the taste testing, we warmed the oil through the vase in our palm, then smelled it (it should smell like fresh cut grass, vegetables, or fruit). Then, we tasted a little at the tip of our tongue for sweetness, sides of our tongue for dryness, and then down the back of our throat for spice. It was so cool! He also told us olive oil can be infused with vanilla or orange, and the biggest surprise of all was when he gave us a cup of vanilla ice cream and had us taste it with plain olive oil right on it! Move over, hot fudge. The mix of sweet ice cream and savory oil was the perfect treat on a hot summer day.
After (I swear Spanish people never sleep), we took a walking tour of Barrio de Santa Cruz to Sevilla’s Cathedral and Giralda. This incredibly old cathedral has a tower that you have to walk up 35 ramps to get to, but the view of the city is 110% worth it. Looking out into the distance and seeing mountains miles away with bustling downtown directly below transported me back several centuries. What was it like 50 years ago? 100 years ago? 500 years ago? More? Every year, whoever stood in the same spot saw a completely different view as the world changed. Talk about perspective.