I had a free day in Sevilla before a French friend Valerie was due to join me. I still had to see the interior of the cathedral but chose instead to do what I enjoy most namely to wander around the city going wherever I choose.
I set off in the direction of the bull ring. I have mixed views on bullfighting. On one hand I do not see anyone has the right to impose on the traditions of a country but on the other hand the way the bull is gored and the horse blindfolded classifies it as sport of extreme cruelty to animals. The bull ring the Maestranza is a handsome building in yellow and white.
I then followed the river turning into a maze of streets but still stumbling on the Museo des Belles Artes. Here the trio of Spanish Grandmasters – Diego Velazquez, born in Sevilla, El Greco and Francisco Goya – were represented with portraits.
Religion and aristocratic portraiture featured strongly throughout the permanent collection.
My favourite Velazquez is not las Meninas but his picture of 2 fried eggs sizzling in a pan. One wonders how these three would have developed if Court patronage had not resulted in portraiture, good as it is.
I stopped off at a cafe restaurant for a beer as the 32 degree heat tired me. It as clearly a touristy sort of place but in choosing some tapas I knew it would be good and reasonable but in price. I now also understand the Spanish need for a siesta. Southern Spain is on the same latitude as North Africa and it’s easier to function first thing or after 6 pm when it’s cooler.
My friend duly arrived. We had dinner at la Girandola overlooking the cathedral. This was the first dinner that approached London prices, €120 for 2 but really good.
Afterward we strolled around the cathedral and chanced upon another less gory feature of Spanish and Andalusian culture, the flamenco.
Possibly it was the sangria inside me or the genes of my great uncle Don Miguel Ticklos but, grabbing some castanets, I too gave an impromptu performance of some brio.
Our evening ended in a piazza opposite the hotel with iced red wines and a plate of manchego cheese.
My friend, both a traveller and foodie, certainly enjoyed and appreciated her first evening in this enchanting city.