Seville is nicer than I remember. Our hotel in in the old part of Seville, an area which cars cannot access. The streets are no more than two metres wide, and everywhere you look, there is something beautiful and historic to see. I am starting to notice more of the Arabic influence of the Moors now - plaza names, architecture, Arabic scripture...
Whilst walking past the Alcázar of Seville last night, I heard beautiful Spanish guitar music that seemed familiar. I paused, wondering why I knew the style so well. As I got closer to the busker, I realised who was playing. A guitarist by the name of Carlos del Rio. How did I know this man? The last time I was in Seville in 2005, I heard him playing on the street then, and bought his CD, which I have added to my iPod. No wonder I recognised the sound and style. When he stopped for a break (to file his nails, which were almost as long as mine currently are), I asked him if the CD he was now selling was the same as the one he sold to me six years ago. His eyes opened wide - six years ago? Of course, his curiosity was piqued and I explained to him who I was, and how I knew of him. I got the feeling that he doesn't have many fans or groupies. LOL
It turned out that he spoke fluent English and French, having lived in Canada for some time. Therefore, our conversation was quite lengthy. We talked mainly of music. He seemed surprised that I, an Australian, knew who Paco Peña was. I told him that I was about to buy tickets to see his impending show in Melbourne in July. He then spoke of influences... Arabic, even the classical composer, Bach.
It was during this discussion that he started playing samples of each of the styles of music that influenced much of the traditional Spanish guitar music heard today. It was quite amazing hearing a composer such as Bach (who I never particularly liked too much), played in a Spanish style on a classical guitar, rather than on a harpsichord, or piano. I was very impressed.
So, there I was, standing for about half an hour or so, while I had a highly illuminating and fascinating discussion with a busker, who was willing to enlighten me on other famous Spanish guitarists, and their influences. Of course, it goes without saying that I bought another of his CDs. I can't wait to add this to my iPod when I return home in April.
All around the older part of Seville, there are orange trees fully laden with ripe fruit. I was starting to get frustrated that I couldn't reach any of the oranges, as they looked so large, appealing and ready to eat.
Before I go on, I should explain...
Throughout my trip through Spain thus far, I have had a total of three oranges with breakfast. They were the most perfect oranges that I've ever had... so sweet, and juicy. Nothing like the tasteless ones I've been having in Melbourne, which I have eaten in the past, begrudgingly.
So, you can imagine why I was always keeping an eye out for an orange in one of the trees that was within my reach. I wanted another slice of heaven. I thought that they were quite popular with the passers-by, as all the lower branches were always bare, and the higher branches that were just out of reach, were heavily laden with attractive, ripe fruit.
As it turns out, it's probably for the best that I never managed to pick one. Today, when we stopped for a coffee in a street cafe, we asked the waitress if we were allowed to pick the oranges from the trees. Perhaps there was a local law in effect that we weren't aware of as tourists?
She told us not to eat them. Not because we would get into trouble, but because they were all extremely bitter. Probably best used in a marmalade or something like that. She said that the locals always could spot a tourist, because they picked the oranges, and made the funniest faces when they ate what they picked. Thankfully, I did not become a source of amusement for the locals too.
Wandering around this city, I hear so many foreign languages being spoken. English, French, German, Portuguese... even a few that I have difficulty recognising. What amazes me the most is that I also hear the Spanish hotel staff speaking to their patrons in these languages. I often wonder how many languages they each speak. Very impressve.
Well, tonight we're off to a tablao... to see some raw, intimate flamenco being performed, accompanied by some sangria and some tapas. Should be a great night... and a late one. These performances can last until the early hours of the morning. I'm not sure I will too... as sangria tends to make me sleepy after the laughter and fun is over. Time will tell... and so will my future blog posts.
Before I sign off, thanks to those of you who have posted comments on my blog, and sent me emails, commenting on the things I have written about. I'm glad you're enjoying reading my paltry offerings. Hopefully, I will be able to bore some of you with the endless amount of photographs I have been taking. I can't help it - there is some beautiful detail in the things I have seen so far. I find it hard to pass them by without trying to capture what I found so appealing. I am intent on preserving memories of this beautiful country. Who knows if I'll ever have the pleasure and opportunity to return here. Let's hope I'm not the only one that appreciates the images I have snapped.
Hasta pronto, mis amigos!