Cousins Trip. 4 days in Seville, Spain.
After 6 days in Barcelona we reached Seville and finally found what we were looking for. Not to say that we did not enjoy Barcelona, however, it was easily comparable to a big city feel. Seville enabled us to embrace the Spanish culture. The air was much cleaner but hotter, the people were friendlier and distinguishably more beautiful, accents were stronger and traditions more apparent and valued.
Seville, being the birthplace of bullfighting and flamenco, we envisioned being sardined in a circular stadium witnessing an authentic Spanish sport and sitting at a fine dining enjoying paella with red wine while being entertained by flamenco dancers dressed in vibrant red, stomping their feet, clapping their hands followed by graceful arm movements. What we experienced was a tad bit of a variation.
The first night in Seville we randomly stopped at a bar to get a drink before dinner. We noticed a group of locals hanging out. One guy was playing the guitar, another was singing, a lady was dancing and the others took turns taking the spotlight. They called us over to join them. Before you know it, they were serenading us with their singing, performing flamenco and teaching us how to dance and sharing stories. At some point in the night we found out that they were a group of Gypsies. The night ended with the restaurant owner shutting down the place and locking it up with us inside, a few of the locals and the Gypsies. We continued until early morning drinking, dancing and singing while absorbing the Spanish culture. We walked away with the understanding that flamenco isn’t just a dance but it’s equally the music and singing, it’s the passion which drives all three and the catalyst for this expressive art. This was our “flamenco show”.
One of the locals we met at the bar invited us over for dinner the next night and insisted we try his mothers cooking. We took him up on his offer. We ravished over the home cooked Spanish cuisine, for it was one of the best we had so far in Spain. As we talked with the family we learned the brother was training to be a bullfighter or a matador. They showed us pictures of his brother dressed in the traditional bullfighting gear, gold-embroidered jacket and knee breeches, along with his actual sword and cape. He then displayed how he taunts the bull by holding the sword concealed under the magenta cape while beautifully swaying his body. His moves were artistic and magnificent to watch. We were told that once in the arena the match is not over until one dies, the matador or the bull. In Spain they do not look at it as a sport but as an “artistic discipline”. I always viewed it as a violent fight between man and bull but now I can see the art form in this “dance of death”.
They made us feel a part of the family in the short time we spent with them. After dinner we sat around their living room playing guitar, singing and dancing with the rest of the extended family. The next day they showed us around town and took us to their favorite hang out spots. Our experience couldn’t be more authentic, we learned so much about the the place, culture and the loving nature of the people in Seville. We hope to go back one day and experience more of what Seville has to offer.