Friday, June 25, 2010

Keeping it Cool in Cordoba and Sassy in Sevilla

I’ve been in Granada for just over two weeks and given the size of the city and the number of hours in the day I have for wandering the town, I’ve started feeling a little claustrophobic. I mean, it’s no Williams, but as Spain’s 17th largest city, there’s not much to keep you occupied if you’re a total spazz like me who finds lying around in parks for hours on end and leisurely walks by the river stressful. I decided to take a little “break” from all my “work” and head off to Córdoba and Sevilla for two days for a whirlwind tour of the other two mainstays in the Andalusian triumvirate. I headed out to Cordoba on a 7:30AM bus, getting there just after 10. I spent the morning and afternoon wandering the streets of the Judería (the old Jewish quarter), visiting the Mezquita-Catedral, the Roman bridge and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. It would have been a pleasant visit had it not been for the unbearable heat that descends on the city every afternoon (I’ve been spoilt by Granada’s strategic position at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada that keeps it cool). I walked around panting and sweating like an old dog, finally thrilled when I was the air-conditioned train to Sevilla.

Sevilla. Oh Sevilla. Say it with me now: Se-beeh-jsya (forget that anglicized Seville nonsense). Sevilla is one big ball of sass. It’s a city with spunk: the clickity-clack of Sevillanas’ high-heels, the iridescent brightness of the afternoon sun and the Guadilquivir river curving around fountains, bullrings and palm trees. It suffers from the same intense heat of Cordoba, but even in the short 26 hours I was in city, I realized that this was a town that packs a punch. I enjoyed sitting in the unexpected squares of Barrio Santa Cruz as much as I loved walking by the whizzing trams of the city center, popping into Starbucks to cure a bout of homesickness and stopping off at a 4-storey FNAC where the Dreamgirls DVD was on sale for 7 euro (way to undervalue your merchandise… but hey, I’m not complaining). Though Sevilla has two H&M stores within walking distance of each other, the city retains a distinctive character and it was that perfect blend of the Andalusian with the international (it is, after all, Spain’s fourth largest city after Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia) that I found strangely comforting after being alone in this province what seems like a lifetime.

But I’m back in Granada now and there are 10 days left to go. My best friend from school and her brother are visiting me for a week (they get in tonight) and I’m so ready to be tour guide. I’m also ready for a week of pure, hedonistic Spanish joie-de-vivre. There are only so many nights I can fall asleep while watching The Simpsons in Spanish.

P.S. Photos from Morocco are up on Flickr for your viewing pleasure. Marrakech and Fez/Meknes/Volubilis/Meknes are found in two separate streams.

P.S. Watched the season finale of Glee yesterday night curled up in bed in my PJs. Some joys are accessible everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Sayantan!! In my blogging treks through the depths of the internet I stumbled in here!
    How goes it? And how awesome that you get to go to such awesome countries!!!
    Hope to hear from you soon!!
    Sara Soliman xx