This is from a friend I met in Seville, southern Spain, in December-January 2007-08. His name is Will, from France. He is a cool guy. He is currently travelling Australia and now looking for work.
Enjoy his stories.
17,46, the mobile phone vibrates, a new message received… After a whole day spent sleeping, it’s this damn phone that wakes me up, the headache is really present, but I also want to do something else of my day than just recovering… Good coincidence, the message asks me if I’m available for the evening. I reply, get up, get prepared (having a shower etc…), talk for about ten minutes with my flatmate who also spent a big part of the day sleeping, and I head to the meeting place: a Starbucks Cafe in the centre where I’m supposed to be at 7:30pm. The lady is still not there, whatever, as I’m here, I order a coffee, and even before it’s ready, she arrives. It’s the beginning of a night that, from the first sight, doesn’t seem exceptional, but will actually be full with surprises.
Three weeks I hadn’t seen her, we stay for a while sitting on the terrace of the Starbuck in the San Fernando street to tell each other what happened in our lives in the meantime. Then I remember that I haven’t eaten anything since the afternoon of the previous day, I recommend a small tapas bar, but on the way, the Flaherty’s is calling for us, and after all, at 8:30pm, it’s still a bit too early to eat. So we walk into the Irish pub where some customers already lost their freshness, and we order while keeping on talking. It’s breakfast time for me, but as I’m used to do in Irish pubs, I order an Irish Coffee. Once again, we stay sitting there for a while, we still have many things to tell each other, and the bartender passes next to us with a particular smile on his face, the kind of smile which means he understands French. It makes us laugh, we keep talking, a bit surprised to be heard in spite of being in a foreign country. Then we move on in direction of Plaza Alfalfa through the small streets where walking around is always nice. And the temperature is still enjoyable for a beginning of December. The terrace of the Bar Manolo calls for me once again, that’s good timing, I’m still hungry, and I have my habits there. As usual, their Solomillo al Whisky is great, with a small Kas Limon, that’s perfect! That’s true, I hardly expect to start drinking again after last night having rum and cokes. So I take it easy, I eat that small tapas, and we head back to Santa Cruz using another way. Of course we get lost, even better, it allows us some time to chat. We avoid a pretty crowded tapas bar and we do a loop passing in front of the Carboneria (a very touristy flamenco bar, quite cheap but always packed, and overall a very average show when we have a minimum of comparison points), just to show her where it is because she’s been looking for it everywhere in vain the other day. While we’re here, we sneak in a tiny street, I know a patio we can’t access, but we can see it from the street and it’s a wonderful place we find walking by going nowhere when walking around. No guidebook describes that kind of place. Water and plants are coexisting with much taste. We get back to the way after getting lost once again. Passing in front of the bar Las Terasas, I tell her I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s even in the Routard (famous French guidebook). With no hesitation, we’re having a tapas there, I stick to fruit juice but we leave the place a bit disappointed. Despite of being cheap, the quantity served is ridiculous. We will avoid it in the future. Walking towards the Avenida de la Constitucion again, a furious envy for cheesecake assails us. Passing in front of the Café de Indias, we have a look through the window, but they have very few pastries left. It’s no big deal, we’re heading to the district of Triana, the other side of the river, because we want to check if the bar she told me about is open anyway. The last Café de Indias we still haven’t checked is packing everything when we arrive, bad luck, but across the street is another Starbucks, and even if it’s more expensive, their cheesecake is always awesome. We enjoy the comfort and the heat of the Starbucks to eat our cakes, then we’re back in the streets towards the Mannigan’s, another Irish pub where the TV is always tuned on a music channel. The conversation is around Spanish pop, and Shakira and Ricky Martin’s incredible longevity in Spain, actually served with a pint of Murphy’s. Whatever is said, even the bad memory of an awkward headache is blown away with a good Irish beer.
So now comes the time to check if the bar we wanted to visit is open, but unfortunately, Seville on a Sunday night is quite limited. Not a problem, the Elefunk is open and on Sunday nights there’s a jam session. A bit crowded, but not too much neither, the blind goldfishes are still swimming around in their jars hung on the lamps over the bar, and the concert is quite good, some great jazz classics well interpreted.
It’s really sympathetic while we’re having a beer, but we escape to the Anima, a more typical bar near her place. Typical, that’s the least we can say, Azulejos all on the walls, the owner is a sympathetic grandpa who warmly recommends his excellent sangria to us, and despite it’s a tiny local bar, we find there a surprising diversity of people. Not only coming from all over the world, Colombians, Spanish, Canadians and us, frenchies lost in this sympathetic melting pot, but also original and open-minded as the music a group of 7 or 8 young Spanish are playing right in the middle of the bar: from violin to tin whistle, to Bodhrans and guitars, everything is there to play a perfect Irish music as I’ve never heard in live so far. She meets her friends, talks to them, and I get to know a few people in this so charming and unusual place, marvelling at that band whose music bewitches and fulfils the bar with good mood. I stay a whole hour on my own, paying attention to that scene, even watching original strangers who would be old enough to be my dad rolling their joints and dancing with no shame. I eventually decide to catch up with the miss, and meet her friends. We chat for 20 minutes before hitting the road again. It’s two in the morning, I would have never expected walking everywhere across the city and staying in so many place at a time in only one night.
An evening totally improvised but actually really pleasant with a cute blond I leave on my way to a Sevici station before I get back to my flat.
Who would have known Sunday nights in Seville were not dead?
The return to work on Monday brought me two good surprises: Tony, the independent blind traveller who was here for New Years’ Eve came back to visit us, and Mark, a totally crazy Californian who also stayed twice in our hostel during the last few months is back too.
So I enjoyed the opportunity to come along this morning with Tony for a tourist walk, and I must reckon it’s the best tourist experience I’ve had since I’m in Seville.
We went to the Plaza de Toros (the Bullring), crossed the bridge of Triana, walked to the cathedral where we entered for free, climbed up the Giralda, and overall, paid attention to so many details I would never have noticed before such as the smells, the sensations, and even the sights, because I wanted to describe him everything, and despite he didn’t ask too precise questions, I tried myself to enrich the descriptions, the colours, the forms added to the significations of the places.
So, this is another point of view upon Seville, walking with a blind friend at my arm. This guy has a heart big like that, and when you get to know him better, he’s really cool, I really laughed a lot, he told me some cheeky jokes, and softer ones, sometimes involving his blindness. It was really a great day.