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Segovia Spain - Volunteer Teaching English

sunny 16 °C

While planning out trip I read a blog about teaching English is Spain as a volunteer. Following up on this possibility, we discovered Vaughan Town and since Spain was on our itinerary applied to volunteer.
We had to pay for our own trip to and from Madrid but from Sunday to Friday our meals and hotel bill would be gratis. On Saturday night VaughanTown hosts a complimentary tapas reception at five pm at the same hotel the bus leaves from on Sunday morning. I booked us into this hotel for the Saturday night so we would be at the right spot on Sunday.
We made it to the tapas reception at the Eurobuilding in Madrid by five past five. This is where the Anglo contingent mee each other. We are the only Canadians in this group. There is a couple from Australia, fiveI or six from the states and the rest are from the UK. At least three of them seem to be living in Spain though. Several have done this before.
Two paid staff will accompany us to the resort and ensure everything goes smoothly.
I drank sangria, enjoyed the appetizers, this is supper. Our bus to El Rancho near Segovia leaves tomorrow at 10. We will meet the Spanish students then and we are encouraged to insist on conversing in English. No problem. Glad I have learned very little Spanish so it won't be a temptation.
The forecast for Segovia is for snow by Tuesday. Dress appropriately. Fine. I do not have room in my pack for more clothes, I will layer. And stay indoors as much as possible.
I do have a knit cap and gloves which came in handy in Finland in September. I guess we will be in the mountains. Today in Madrid was sunny, no jacket needed, just a long sleeved shirt.
25 November
We have a one bedroom suite with a small kitchen. I got up at 730, made coffee with the instant cappucinno pouches left over from Italy and enjoyed the view. The couches have such deep seats, like almost twice as deep as a sofa back home, really wonderful for tall people.
Our bus departed shortly after ten, every Anglo must sit with a Spanish person and chat. It must have been successful as I did not see much scenery and all of a sudden we were here. It is like a small village, el Rancho Resort.
I have my own room, in la posada el rancho, large room with floor to ceiling window with a study alcove. We had a three course lunch with wine and now get a two hour siesta break. Then more talking, supper is at 9. I have been voluntold for some kind of presentation maybe tomorrow night. It is a bit nerve racking, but we are all in the same boat. Everyone has been very nice, had lunch with two men from Spain and a guy from Scotland.
We are expected to mingle and eat with different people, 2 Anglos, 2 Spanish, all conversation in English. I had swordfish for lunch with fruit for dessert. The marzipan cake looked wonderful though.
Segovia is a province in the Castile Leon area of Spain. The Iberian Penninsula.
There is also a city called Segovia and Walt Disney's castles in Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were both influenced by the Alcazar Castle located here.
Isabel 1 was proclaimed Queen of Castile on the spot where the gothic Segovia Cathedral stands today. She promised the financial backing for Columbus to rediscover America in Segovia.
We are not in the city though, just in the general vicinity.
Alcazar Castle

Alcazar Castle

After our siesta we spent three hours talking one on one with Spanish participants. Supper was at 9, same drill as lunch, only choose different tablemates, 2 Anglos, 2 Spanish, talk. Both red and white wine are on the table, I drink water and sip a mouthful of red wine to be polite. I am exhausted. The Anglos are suppose to do 65 percent of the talking so the Spaniards can hone their listening skills. What does proactive mean, what is payoff, explain behaviour, wish I had lugged along a thesaurus to help me come up with synonyms. And a dictionary. Long day.
We get two wake up calls a day. The first one is at 815. Breakfast is compulsory. Then we go into our 50 minute assigned one on one sessions. It is really impressive how well some of the Spanish speak English. The lady I am with is a human rights lawyer. She started learning English two months ago. We have a complex conversation about her work with women in South America. I admire her for doing good works. She points out that by volunteering to teach English I help people like her go on to China or Africa to fight for human rights. Another man, 52, retired banker, is learning English so he can travel and talk to the people he meets along the way. He is very fluent, really good vocabulary and hardly any accent. We talked about Mark Carney leaving the Bank of Canada to head up the Bank of England. He was incredulous that the UK would hire a Canadian. Don't they have any good bankers in England? Apparently not. There are a lot of students here, recent graduates, mechanical engineering, business administration, there are no jobs, they are learning English to improve their chances, they are prepared to move, English will be their ticket. Interesting. Proactive and expensive. This will be one of four week-long retreats they attend during a ten month intensive course. It is costing them twenty thousand euros. I read our dollar dropped on the Carney news, you do the math.
Most of the Spanish are in something called the Master's program. There are four of these intensive "retreat" type events in the program. As the Anglos (native English speakers) come from a variety of countries the accents vary considerably. I can barely understand a few of the Anglos. We don't have anyone from South Africa among the Anglos or that accent would be in the mix. Thank goodness there aren't any Newfies or we would all be in a lot of trouble - well it would just add to the fun. We have a good group.
The youngest Anglo is from Wales and is not yet twenty. The oldest is at least my age. The Spanish are likely from early twenties to mid fifties at the most. A lot of people stay up partying til all hours but I am not one of them. I do not have that kind of stamina. The Spanish are great socializers and excellent dancers.
The challenges for the Spanish are daunting. First a fifty minute session with an Aussie. Then a fifty minute session with an American from the deep south. Then a Canadian. Then a Brit. We all sound different. They can party til two am and concentrate on English the next morning.

Also, among the volunteers is a young American woman who is married to a Spanish husband and lives in Madrid. She is a guitar player, singer, and composer and has entertained us in the evening, very good. She is, by the way, blind - but that does not define her. We are all impressed by her huge personality, and independence. So - if you are a decent human being and speak English as a first language you might like to volunteer. You do not need a hidden talent or be a ventriloquist or anything but if you can juggle or play the guitar you may well share your talent with an appreciative audience.
The second wake up call is at 430 pm. We get a siesta or free time from three to five. Anything between ten pm and nine am is free time.
Unemployment in Spain is over twenty four percent and the recent graduates blame the civil servants. Too many, too de-centralized, too much duplication. Of course if we trim all the fat from the public service there will be more people looking for work.
Did the USSR fail because they were broke, was the Ottoman Empire just too big to manage, where are the Romans now? Spain is in bad shape but Greece is in terrible shape. You would think Greece could use some tourists' dollars, why are the transportation workers on strike?? Why are shareholders more important than customers, how can Finland offer free University and free health care, why are Norwegians richer than Albertans, I ponder these questions before I go to sleep.
27 November, Tuesday
Chilly and overcast, it snows late in the afternoon. A group of us Anglos had free time so we went to the small medieval city of Segovia where a huge Roman aqueduct from the first century is the best preserved in all of Europe and the world. A very pretty, remarkably clean old town boasts a city wall, the last gothic cathedral to be built in Spain (completed in 1768) and the enchanting Alcazar castle.
Roman Aqueduct

Roman Aqueduct

Segovia Cathedral

Segovia Cathedral

Segovia is an easy daytrip from Madrid. Also, it would be a pleasant stop for one or two days relaxation.
A recommended restaurant for coffee, tapas or meals is Meson Jose Maria, located between the aquaduct and the town square. A local recommended it to us and although we only had cappuccino I feel confident it is good, with reasonable prices, it was very busy with locals.
Teaching English as a volunteer was a good decision. It gave us the opportunity to meet a lot of Spanish people from all over the country, different age groups, different occupations, very interesting. Now that Spain is in the EU speaking English is more important. They are very expressive people and our job is to converse and explain the slang, the way we really talk, so that they can pick up the rhythm and the meaning. "Horsing around" "back to the drawing board' phrases like that.
It is rewarding to see the improvement in the Spanish students' pronunciation and comprehension over the course of 5 days of total English immersion. A few seem to take it really seriously and allow no phone calls, texts, emails in Spanish, they eat, sleep and dream in English for the duration.
Also we sample a lot of different Spanish food, the meals are large and we have selections to make every morning, what do we want out of three choices for first course, second course and dessert. Meals are lively occasions, conversing, drinking wine, breaking bread, do not use butter on the bread, use olive oil instead.
Also drizzle olive oil on vegetables - it is the Spanish way.

Posted by CherylGypsyRose 16:12 Archived in Spain Tagged churches buildings history castle budget teaching_english_with_vaughanto Comments (0)

Madrid Spain

sunny 17 °C

We flew from Rome to Madrid. Our ryanair flight has been booked for months. Five euro to take a direct bus from Rome Termini to Campiano pronounced champano, from MAD we took a bus and two subways to our hotel. We pass churches that look like wedding cakes, they are iced with elaborate detail, lots of spires, Rome was more into domes.
We feel we are in the lap of luxury, nice hotel, less than a block from the metro station, TRYP Washington, 52 Canadian a night on Expedia, Since I have been up since five all I want to do is rest today. It is November 22, gorgeous sunny day, but I am worn out from all the walking in Rome for the past four days, plus my right shoulder and right knee are bothering me, taking some kind of pill from Turkey for it but not as good as ibuprofin. So for the first time in two months I have a hot bath. Luxury. Showers are quick and efficient but a hot bath is heavenly.
There is a bakery right next door so Jeff brings us coffee and cheese croissants, and we watch the news on BBC. I have a little nap and then we go out for a tapas supper. To a neighbourhood Tapas bar. I have a wineglass of beer and wish I had ordered a bigger one. The owner cuts us off a slice of ham from a big hanging ham, looks like a side of pork, it is good. The whole thing, plate of olives, some meatballs, bread, backbacon, salami type sandwiches was twelve euros. On budget. We stop at the bakery and eat our dessert in the hotel.
Our room is large and quiet, does not face the busy street, there are lots of towels in the bathroom, the linen is nice and the bed feels softer than the board I was sleeping on in Cristina's Residence, that bed was so hard.
Nov 23
We are going on the free three and a half hour walking tour at 11 am and tonight, when the galleries are free we will go to see Goya, Valesquez, Titian, el Greco and Picasso. The Prado is a world class museum and I am getting wiser and have our route all planned out. Las Meninas, Death of a Virgin and The Garden of Earthly Delights are on my must-see list, then on to the Reina Sofia to see Picasso and Dali. Guernica and Woman in Blue are my must sees there.

Alfred Adler said, 'The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.'. Quitting my job, moving to Victoria and going on this trip may be a new leaf for me. Throw caution to the wind, life is short, reality will set in come January. 'Freedom's just another word for...nothing left to lose' ..... rock on Janis Joplin, your song is stuck in my head.
Well she didn't write the words, but her version is great.
TRYP Washington Hotel does not include breakfast but has a good coffee machine and is walking distance to Mayor Square. Right next door is a nice deli restaurant/bar with good and cheap food and we are eating a lot of tapas, appetizer type food, so are on budget.
Yesterday on the plane from Rome I set my watch ahead an hour. So today we were an hour early for the free walking tour because the time did not change. We started out in Mayor Square which is all set up as a Christmas market. During the Spanish Inquisition they used to kill people right under Mayor Square. The Spanish Inquisition gets a bad rap though, as in 350 years they killed, at most, 3000 people. Various methods were used, one was the garotte, a wire placed around the neck, tighter, tighter.
The last time Spain used this less than humane method was, can you believe this: 1974.
1492 was a banner year in Spain, they got rid of the Moors (muslims from northern Africa), Columbus rediscovered America and the Spanish Inquisition started. One reason Spain has such good pork and ham is a result of this. To prove they had converted to Christianity the moors and Jews remaining in Spain would hang up legs of pork. Now there are numerous delis and tapas bars with hams hanging in rows.
Hams behind the bar

Hams behind the bar

The Austrian empire ruled Spain for centuries and the Hapsbergs were the royal family. To keep the bloodline royal they would marry their cousins. Finally they produced a king and heir who had numerous health problems, and besides being mentally retarded was also impotent so then the Bourbans took over.
Palace in Madrid

Palace in Madrid

We saw the oldest restaurant where Hemingway and Goya hung out. We did not dine there, but we did have paella for lunch. Very good.
The weather is good, lots of buskers, street entertainment, etc. How do they do this:
Tonight, 23 November, we spent three hours looking at art. At the Prado, saw all the works I listed and also Raphael's The Cardinal.
The Reina Sofia took the longest as it doesn't have as good of a map and list of favourites like the Prado. Besides The Woman in Blue and the Spanish Civil War Guernica masterpiece we saw Dali's Woman at the Window and several other works including Picasso's Woman with a Handkerchief Crying and Table With Musical Instruments.
We have now seen enough art to hold us for awhile. What is so amazing about these galleries is how close you can get to the paintings. You are close enough to touch them. And both are free in the evenings. Amazing. We just saw the highlights, it would take a whole day to see everything.
My favourite for some reason was The Cardinal. It was small and very vivid. Of course, Rome was loaded with Raphael but for some reason this painting was so personal, probably because you could get right up to it, so close.
The weather has been wonderful. People are still sitting on patios and outdoor cafes. They do provide a kind of fake fur blanket at some. Pansies are blooming. A lot of deciduous trees still have green leaves but the maples have turned to gold and lots of leaves crunch underfoot.the
The subway system in Madrid is great. Second only to Stockholm on this trip. People speak with a lisp. Grathiouth.
The streets are alive at night. Old, young, all walking around, eating in tapas bars, going out, kids on skateboards doing ollies off ancient steps, two words that are important here, siesta and manana.
The siesta gives them the energy to eat late and stay up to enjoy a visit. Supper starts at nine pm, friends meet up at 11 pm, the clubs are open all night, hot chocolate and churros in the early morning, energy to get back home.
Starting tomorrow we will be teaching English as volunteers. We have been accepted by Vaughantown to participate in their program. In return we will receive free upscale lodgings and meals for five days at the ElRancho resort near Segovia. This works for us because our trip is lengthy and Spain was on our itinerary. 17 Anglos and 15 Spanish will spend time together speaking English. English must be your first language to qualify as a volunteer. We learned about this on the internet completely by accident and decided to register.
24 Nov - We do not have to check out of TRYP Washington (near Spanya station in Madrid) til noon, so we sleep in. This is Saturday. We move hotels today and since we missed the hotel's laundry service yesterday we must do laundry. We are going to be with the same thirty odd people for six days so we need to start out clean. At noon we trundle off on the subway with our packs and get off at Via and by 130 we have located the laundromat. It was not that far from the station, just hard to find. We asked for directions a few times and did a bit of sightseeing along the way.
Almudena Cathedral is a newer church, started in 1882 and completed in 1993 it gives a whole new meaning to manana. In front of the Cathedral you can see the old city wall from the ninth century.
Madrid Cathedral and old city wall

Madrid Cathedral and old city wall

When we finally arrived at the laundromat we threw our jackets in with everything else, they have not been washed since we left home.
We drink take-out coffee and eat pastries while we wait.
A lady from Boston, of Japanese decent, strikes up a conversation so the time passes quickly. She is in Madrid to take flamenco lessons. She tells us the highest quality flemenco shows are in Madrid. The shows in Saville are very geared to tourists. Who knew? She gave us some good suggestions of where the best flamenco dancers could be viewed, quite close to this laundromat actually. I will try to book tickets for next Friday. Flamenco is really popular in Japan.
At three our laundry is all packed up, two trains to Eurohotel in the embassy district, by now it is four and the tapas reception is at 5. This is the most expensive place we have stayed in, 77 Canadian. It is a suite. Huge. Living room, dining area, six closets, mirrors everywhere, cute little kitchen. Bigger than my last apartment, on the thirteenth floor, great view. Now I dye my hair. I am not about to meet 30 strangers with an inch of grey roots. The fact that I traipsed across a continent this way didn't bother me.

Posted by CherylGypsyRose 13:56 Archived in Spain Tagged art history budget backpacking Comments (0)

Cordoba and Seville, Spain

sunny 14 °C

Cordoba is 244 miles south of Madrid. It is the capital city of the province of Cordoba, in the region of Andalusia. We arrived on the AVE, high speed train from Madrid, at 917 pm on 30 November. Travel time was just under two hours.
Note that we sometimes in English refer to this as Cordova. Locals can not distinguish between the ‘b’ and the ‘v’ sounds. Victoria, Bictoria, sounds the same to them,
Cordoba was founded by the Romans in 164 BC. Seneca, the Roman philosopher, was born here. The Moors, medieval muslims from North Africa, arrived in 711. Moorish Cordoba became the wealthiest, most opulent city IN THE KNOWN WORLD and was made capital of al-Andalus.
The territory of al-Andalus took in most of Spain, Portugal, Gibraltor and part of France.
In 1236 the Christian army from Castile took Cordoba. The Mosque, the most emblematic monument of the Spanish/Moorish culture, became a Christian church. Later a Cathedral was erected in the centre. It may be the third largest mosque in the world.
On one side of the Mezquita-Catedral is the Guadalquiver, Andalusia's largest river, and on the other side is our budget hotel. Great location. We walked across the Roman Bridge, built in the first century.
Puente Romano, Roman Bridge, Cordoba

Puente Romano, Roman Bridge, Cordoba

The streets are narrow and twisting in the old town. Numerous small souvenir shops selling tiles and flemenco style aprons. Lots of engraved leather, tooled leather, a craft passed down from the Moors.
We are adjusting from the four star hotel in Sagovia to this one??? star hotel and from our three course meals in a dining room with linen to tapas bar fare. Do not order pizza, it is nothing like pizza as we know it, not a drop of tomato sauce, the one we had as a quick meal option at midnight was awful. We are staying two nights at Los Patios right across the street from the mosque, the location is excellent, rate for room with twin beds and private bath including tax is 33 Euros per night, no breakfast.
Do order tortilla (egg and potato omelette), or paella, rice with saffron, vegetables and either meat or seafood. You cannot go wrong with these two dishes.
Tortilla in Cordoba

Tortilla in Cordoba

Now it is December 1. The days are short. Two words I know in Spanish. Manana and siesta. There are a lot of orange trees here. I think they make marmalade with the oranges, which are in season
There are a lot of orange trees in the courtyard of the mesquita.
On Dec 2 we move hotels in Cordoba. Los Patios is very well located and less than forty five dollars a night, but our room was just over an enclosed courtyard where food is served so two things, noisy and the window did not face the outside, it faced the overview of the courtyard. Not good for me, I like quiet and the opportunity to see blue sky and the streetscape. So this turns out to be a one star, very good reviews by the way, and we are moving to Cordoba Centro, a three star, for only a few dollars more. 35 Euros per night.
Salmorejo is the signature dish of Cordoba. It is a cold soup, some similarities to gazpacho, they both have pureed tomatoes, did I say that? However, it is made differently, has a garnish of ham and chopped hard boiled egg and it is good.
Signature dish of Cordoba

Signature dish of Cordoba

We had hot chocolate with cake doughnuts while waiting to check in. This is Sunday. Our room is nicer, has a big window, therefore, lots of chilly air comes in through the glass. Nice heavy draperies though so ok, if I peak through the drapes, the sun is shining and the sky is blue.
I had bull's tail and veggies for supper. It looked like a whole pot roast on my plate, lots of potatoes, but actually was not all meat, of course. The meat was tender and flavourful, I do not know if the bull was killed in the ring. Ole.

We toured the mosque (Mezquita) on 3 Dec, it is huge, converted to a Christian church, has a massive pipe organ which was played for a time while we were there. The mosque interior is free to the public between 830 and 930 am. You must arrive well before 930 though or you will not be given access. Very impressive by the way, it has 856 pillars. We are heading out for Seville today ( Monday), by train.
Cordoba has a population of 325,000.

We caught the 1255 pm high speed train from Cordoba to Saville on Monday 3 Dec 2012.
The AVE can reach speeds of 280 km per hour.
We arrived in Seville at 140 and were soon checked in to our 'boutique hotel", very clean twin room with private bath, friendly staff, no breakfast but well located and it costs 32 Euros a night, Callejon del Aqua..
A short walk, lunch at a tapas bar, stroll around the neighbourhood and then at 645 pm set out for the only flamenco museum in the world which happens to back onto our hotel.


We wanted to see a flamenco show, and with a twenty percent off coupon which I stumbled upon in the 'The Tourist' magazine, we got tickets for 16 euros apiece. The set up was intimate, three rows back from the stage, a singer, a guitar player, a female and a male dancer.

When i was about five my grandfather gave me a little plastic doll, maybe six inches high. She came in a clear cellulose tube with her name printed right on the container. Carmelitta. She had long black hair, done up in a twist, and a bright red satin dress with ruffles in the long skirt and she was soon removed from her home in the tube. She was constantly waving as one rigid arm was permanently held over her head. Her other arm was behind her back and she carried a little fan. She was a sultry observer to my games of hopskotch and jacks. When I attempted to give her a new hairdo, her fine raven coils let go from her head and now Carmelitta was bald. My mother tried to glue her hair back on, but she was never the same.

In the first dance the female wore a black long sleeve pullover and black ruffled skirt. I was engaged by the hand movements, the clapping, finger snapping and the intricate footwork as well as the interaction with the male dancer who looked like Gene Wilder crossed with Nickolas Cage in tight pants and a bolero.

In the second number the female dancer wore a long red dress, ruffles, a train. Carmelitta had come to life with rooted hair. There was passion, turmoil, salvation, determination.
She was fierce, defiant, beaten, triumphant, omg she was every woman, the tears were streaming down my cheeks. I do not know if I got it....sort of shades of The Tin Soldier and the one legged ballerina, forgive me Hans Christian Anderson!! but if flamenco is music, dance, rhythm and that something else that has no name, then for me this was a moment. As my tears dried and pulled on the skin of my cheeks, I pondered this.
Seville is the beating heart of flamenco which was created by gypsies after they arrived in Andalucia in the fifteenth century. It is believed they came from a region in northern India called Sid, now in Pakistan. Guitar music and the tapping of feet were added later, and many cultures including Castillian and Arabic contributed. Fusion music and dance.
Seville, el flamenco

Seville, el flamenco

4 December
A fine sunny day, good weather for the free walking tour that started from the square near the giroldo/cathedral at 11 am. Our boutique hotel is well situated, walking distance to everything we plan to see, no central heat, very drafty. So I slept in two jackets and with my hood up, not cool. I was frozen. Note to hotel owners:. If you provide a hair dryer and a lousy space heater the hair dryer may be used as a heat source. In the morning as I bent my stiff fingers around my toothbrush I had a eurica moment and used the hair dryer to thaw out my hands. Then I shot hot air up the sleeves of my jackets, warmed up a scarf, and wearing four long sleeve tops, a fleece and a jacket set out. It was warmer outside.
First we booked our bus tour to Morrocco, leaves from Tarifa, three nights in a four star hotel in Marakesh, stops in Rabat, fine. Company name is Calin, we found it online and totally coincidentally their office is a block from our hotel.
Churros and Hot Chocolate

Churros and Hot Chocolate

La Giralda was converted to a steeple from the original minaret. When the Christians added the Giradillo, a weathervane shaped like a woman, atop a Rennaissance style belfry, the giralda reached almost one hundred metres. There are 35 ramps to climb to the top. When the Moors used the minaret the muezzin, the guy who did the call to prayer five times a day, road a horse or donkey to the top. When the Christians took over the only part of the mosque they retained was the towering minaret and then they built the largest gothic cathedral in Europe around it.
Near the converted mosque is the alcazar, fortified palaces with orange groves in the courtyard. Clever little canals in the brick pavement provide irrigation.
Queen Isabel was married to Fernando, her cousin, a marriage based on convenience. Fernando was impotent and Isabel lusty. It is speculated she had an affair with Christopher Columbus. She had a sewing house in Seville where she sewed one month a year. In seven years she managed to sew one dress.
Christopher Columbus is buried in the Cathedral. He died thinking he had discovered the passage to India via the West Indies. He may have brought an std back to Spain, it is said Fernando had syphyllis and that stds came to Europe from America.
All of the potatoes, gold, cocao brought back from America came through Saville, a tax was levied from the gold tower. Tiles on the roof of the gold tower sparkle in the sun. Torre del Oro was built as a defensive tower in the thirteenth century, its arabic name, Bury Al Daheb means golden tower. Now it is Saville's Naval Museum.
The Golden Tower

The Golden Tower

When the Christians defeated the Moors all residents were expected to convert to Christianity. The Spanish Inquisition looked after this.
The Plaza Espana was built in 1929 in a kind of semi circle facing west like an embrace to the Americas. It was not the huge tourist draw anticipated due to the financial collapse on Wall Street. Today it is the most appealing square in Seville, five degrees warmer than the rest of the city. The temperature is about forteen degrees C today, but the humidity is high. It must be an oven in July.
A lovely city park, Parqe MariaLuisa, is adjacent to the Plaza Espanya, still green in early December.
The University of Seville used to be a tobacco factory and it was the setting for Carmen. (Carmen was a beautiful gypsy, worked at the tobacco factory, she seduced a French soldier who was guarding the factory so she could smuggle out tobacco and sell it on the black market, Napolean was running the show at the time, had an affair with a bull fighter, the soldier wasn't happy, etc).
Across the river from the Golden Tower is the district of Triana, the birthplace of flamenco. In the old days there was no bridge connecting Seville with Triana, Seville was rich, poorer people like the gypsies lived in Triana.
Note if you want to take flamenco lessons go to Japan. They have over 2000 schools of flamenco.
Spanish includes over 10000 words derived from arabic. The Moors ran the show for 700 years and their influence is apparent in the architecture, the cuisine and the language. Any word starting with al is arabic origin, alcazar, for example.
Right across from the town hall is a park with a statue of the Duchess of Alba. She is currently famous for marrying a man thirty years younger, if you see her picture you will decide to grow old gracefully, google her. She is extremely rich and has a lot of special privileges. For example she can enter the cathedral in a horse and buggy, has more titles than the queen of England, quite an intriguing old girl. She is something like 85 years old, her new husband is in his early fifties. Love match.
There was a demonstration at the Town Hall, seemed pretty peaceful, clapping and singing, several police on the scene. If they were civil servants wanting more money they do not have much public support with unemployment over 25 percent.
It cost seventy euro each from Madrid to Cordoba, 19.50 e each from Cordoba to Seville this was a deal, reg price on AVE is 35 and 18.50 from Seville to Tarifa by bus.

We eat several times in a tapas bar a few blocks from our hotel. I like the tortilla, served cold in a pie shaped wedge with a dollop of mayo maybe its aioli on the side and Russian Salad, potato salad with tuna. This bar closes for some hours in the evening, reopening at eight pm. Good for a late lunch or late supper. Tapas are like appetizers, we make a meal of them. In Granada the tapas are free with your drink, not so common in Seville. But at two euro each you can have a nice supper for eight euro.
Shopping - hair combs, fans, Lladros, tiles, shoes and leather.

Seville has a population of about 700,000.

Posted by CherylGypsyRose 13:38 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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