Saturday, October 4, 2003

Spain - Sevilla

Sevilla...What comes to one's mind?
Passion of Flamenco...At least that was in my mind. Of course, other than that, I did not know what to expect.
I was quite pleasantly surprised... 
We arrived in Sevilla at night and was introduced to the flamenco on our first night.
I've studied little bit of Flamenco and had seen a number of performances, but what I saw in Sevilla was entirely different...both good and bad.
For few hours, we let ourselves go to the passionate gestures, fast stomping feet and the swirl of fans and sounds of castanets.
The one of the few downsides to the whole show was that more than half the people in the theater smoked...! is possible that one might need gas mask when going to Spain.

Who says it never rains in Sevilla?
But that is a rumor...except on our first day, we saw rain. What is the chance of that? Thankfully, it slowed to a minor drizzle at best when we started from our hotel and arrived at this beautiful plaza built in early 1900s for Ibero-American world fare. 
Plaza de Espana
Through the minor rain, we walked past the vendors selling postcards and castanets toward this seemingly ancient structure.

Plaza de Espana
Despite its short history, Plaza de Espana was a worthy photo spot.
It is a wonder that we did not get lost through all the distractions of photo taking...especially a group photo in front of water fountain where it was so dark that only my fluorescent orange umbrella was visible...
Plaza de Espana
Barrio de Santa Cruz is where the Jewish advisors to king lived...
The windy small streets, street musicians...somehow we found a coffee shop that that is too large for this little quarter. One would expect everything to be small.
More Cafe solos and we were ready for the next surprise...

Barrio de Santa Cruz
Right after the blind walk through maze of streets in Santa Cruz, this is the site we see. Suddenly there is a large plaza and the back of Cathedral.
The quietness of the Barrio gives over to the noisy plaza. Our guide was plagued by a local newspaper interviewer amongst all... 
This Cathedral also has Muslim origin. It is easy to be seen from the round dome in the midst of pointy towers on top of Cathedral.

Cathedral Bell Tower
My usual crazy angle of this pretty Cathedral. It is perhaps easy to imagine how large this Cathedral looms.
Cathedral Angle
Tall columns...streaming sunlight.
The day had completely turned around from the drizzling rain to the sunny normal day in Sevilla. The weather had warmed considerably since we entered Sevilla...actually since we crossed the mountain.

Inside Cathedral
Personally speaking, I would really not want my decaying body to be encased in a coffin standing on top of statues inside a very popular tourist spot Cathedral.
I suppose Christopher Columbus really had no voice in the matter, but happened. Of course, Spanish government and others are still somewhat fighting over whether the real one is inside or not. They are even doing a DNA testing...which I think is somewhat ridiculous. Poor man, must one suffer even after death to satisfy pride of others? 
Tomb of Cristopher Columbus
This Moorish door is actually one of the entrance to the courtyard into the Cathedral. The architecture in Sevilla is heavily influenced by Muslim architecture...

Cathedral View through the doors
The term Almohad refers to the architecture influenced by Moorish artists. Once both Christians and Muslims lived together here...
Many towers of Cathedral
Used as the palace. This was built in Moorish fashion as well. Just looking at the front building, it is hard to believe that no Moorish royalty lived here.

This Alcazar was my introduction to the beautiful Moorish architecture. Until then, I had no idea...My imagination did not even run this far.
Inside Alcazar
It is amazing how this gold and bluish hue survived over time...

Inside Alcazar
Of course, it would not be a truly Moorish architecture without such little courtyard. If I were to be given a chance, I would like to have one such courtyard in my own private house.  
Private courtyard inside Alcazar
No matter which angle one looks, one appreciates...
I wonder what inspired such beauty?

I took many photos to capture the moment I stood in the midst of these columns, but can one really capture a moment in time? What I felt there, I keep within...
After weaving through the insides of building, we came out to view the garden. Surprisingly, it was quiet and serene despite numerous tourists. The garden seemed to have a listened, but never echoed.

Garden behind Alcazar
This is where a real bull fighting occurs during certain months of the year. As I walked in, I faced what I did not expect...silence. No matter how loud one talked, it was swallowed by the atmosphere of this arena. 
Bull fighting...
After the customary shopping and dinner and also cafe solo, we picked up for ice cream and found the Cathedral again.
Cathedral at night
We talked sitting at now quiet plaza, eating ice cream, writing many postcards. I found the post office next to the ice cream shop. It was unbelievably strange that post office had holes on the sides of buildings used for mail.  

Cathedral at night
Books and DVDs about Sevilla and Flamenco:
Seville & Andalusia (Eyewitness Travel Guides) The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain Music and Gender: Perspectives from the Mediterranean (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology) Mel Bay Flamenco...All You Wanted to Know Eclipse Series 6 - Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy (Blood Wedding / Carmen / El Amor Brujo) (Criterion Collection)

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