Posted by Daisy
I've been to Seville three times and absolutely love it. I've been jostled in the streets during the Semana Santa, watching the white-masked, pointy-hat celebrants struggle under the weight of huge gilt statues, swaying to the endless piping music. I've got lost more than once on the maze-like streets, and am in awe of anyone who can find their way home without knowing any Spanish. My friend lived there for years, and used to try fruitlessly to make me get up early to have a Sevillian breakfast - one weekend, I capitulated and made it to the cafe in time for churros and freshly squeezed orange juice - amazing!
(I wrote this travel feature for a newspaper a few years ago.)
A FRIEND who lives in Seville once told me that that every time she steps out onto her street in the Macarena district, it feels like she’s walking onto the set of a movie. People move purposefully through the cobbled streets, the pastry-shop puffs out sweet scents, an old lady with piled-up hair puts a perfectly round orange on the top of a display outside the greengrocers, and locals chat garrulously, inclining their coffee cups towards their mouths or dipping deep-fried pastry ‘churros’ into hot chocolate outside the corner café.
Even being lost in the old
Cruz area of
in torrential rain feels slightly glamorous. Around every corner is a huge
stone church door under which to shelter and read a soggy map by the dim light
of a street-lamp. Little clusters of oranges sit in puddles at the base of the
trees which line the cobbled streets. Seville
is simply gorgeous. In the 8th Century, the Moors came across the
sea and conquered the city. They built tiled palaces, and mosques with
intricate lace patterns carved into marble, and narrow, stony streets with dead
owes a lot to the Moors. Their influence is everywhere. In the architecture of
the cathedral and its tall Giralda tower. In the churches dotted all over the
city. And in the shops where Moorish tea-sets with ornate little gold rimmed
glasses and highly-decorated tin tea-pots are on sale. Seville
.For €32, the multi-level Arabic baths (rumoured to be the best in Spain) are mine to explore. I languish in the Jacuzzi-like bath, swim from room to room, float in the salt-water bath and paddle dazedly through the aromatherapy bath. Immersed inside the womb-like terracotta-coloured walls, I hear nothing but the sounds of gushing water, and catch a glimpse of daylight under huge wooden doors. A fifteen- minute massage and a snooze on the heated marble benches in the relaxation room complete the experience. Afterwards, I revive myself with a glass of mint tea and some sweet baklava in the upstairs cafe, strewn with coloured cushions and couches.
For her wedding guests, my friend recommended the following hotels:
She advised against staying in the Hotel Alfonso 13, emailing 'for anyone who wants to stay in the hotel where the wedding's taking place, its €300 a night.....I wouldn't bother.'
|'The Moment' by Douglas Kennedy|
Elevator Pitch: An American author divorces his wife, narrowly avoids suicide and buys a cottage in the country on a whim. When he receives a box postmarked Berlin, memories of his time there as a young man come flooding back, and he allows himself to think about the beautiful woman he left behind.
I've loved Douglas Kennedy since reading 'The Pursuit of Happiness'. I really enjoyed 'The Moment', and if nothing else, it was an excellent recap on the history of the Berlin Wall and what life was like before it fell.