Friday, 19 August 2016

Seville, day four: Manuel and the Many Meanings of “Well!”

Seville, Spain (Sevilla, España)
November 2015
Arriving into the centre at our usual time of early afternoon (we so lazy), we took a trip to Casa de Pilatos. According to Yannick, the palace was "apparently named after Ponchas Pilot who killed Jesus or something, so he's pretty famous". Yeah nah, mate. To start with, his name was Pontius Pilate, and he actually tried to stop the crucifixion of Jesus, but he didn't try all that hard because he didn't want to be condemned himself.
Anyway, it still serves as a palace to some dukes so we were forced to pay for a guided tour in order to see the top floor.

The tour was executed in Spanish, so we stood around looking at tapestries as the guide's voice washed over us in a nonsensically melodic tide. Shuffling around behind a throng of middle-aged emphysemic women, we took in a series of beautiful rooms with intricately carved ceilings, delicate wooden furniture and faded frescoes from centuries past.

The audioguides that had been provided to us for free ceased to function once the tour ended, so we headed back to the ticket booth to kickstart them again before exploring the ground level. The courtyard was ringed with busts of Roman Emperors, and guess who I spotted! Good ol' Hadrian. Marcus Aurelius was there, too.

Quickly growing tired of the long-winded audioguides, we just walked around looking at stuff. The rooms on this floor were just as decorative on the ceiling and walls, but were severely lacking in furniture compared to upstairs. 

Even this room, which had some modern chairs and tables with impractical golden balls were far less furnitured than the dukey rooms. We had felt uncomfortable taking photos during the tour, so just imagine this room with ten times more furniture, except that the furniture is super old, and there are rugs and paintings everywhere, and all the sofas have too many cushions. That may give you a sense of what the upstairs rooms looked like.

There was one painting hidden down in a smaller room which really stood out that depicted a man with his boob out. The story goes that the centre figure is in fact not a man, but a bearded woman. I like the care that the artist put into this work, but I also think the artist had never seen a naked woman, as her boob is coming out of the centre of her chest and is far too high up. The painting was so bizarre I had to include it here.

Out in the gardens, the ceramic tiles got colourful and we appreciated the Roman sculptures, grottoes, low hedges and decorative benches.

All the foliage was immaculately groomed. Even the ivy, usually an untidy and rebellious plant, had probably been tended to with utmost care.

How cool is this place? Red walls, yellow decoration and green climbing plants. You don't see that kind of bold colour combo nowadays. 

Needing a mid-afternoon boost, we made straight for Bolas. Unluckily my two scoops were just average (strawberry and mango sorbet), but was given a free spoonful of passion fruit which was so flavourful and tangy!

Thanks to a recommendation from our AirBNB host Manuel, we went to see the Plaza de España. A semi-circle of buildings cups a moat, in the middle of which is a large island.

Part of the Parque de María Luisa, the plaza is a popular attraction and has horse-and-carriage rides available, as well as hireable rowboats so you can lose your iPhone at the bottom of the moat. The boats seemed to be especially favourable with high-school-aged groups of friends who relished in rocking from side to side.

On the steps of all the bridges, hawkers advertised handheld fans for some reason (someone should tell them it's winter), except for one lady who showcased her castanets by rapidly clicking them at passersby like a capitalist rattlesnake.
That night, our last in Seville, we dined on tapas and sangria. In the morning we woke at the ungodly hour of 9:30am and the rest of the city was still asleep. We said our goodbyes to Manuel, who was a good guy and a good host. He liked to say "well!" meaning all manner of things (it was translated from the Spanish word "bale" which seems to generally mean "okay" but is used in so many ways), was proud of his beer collection, and used the word "curious" instead of 'interesting'.

Today's post was almost called: Too Many Cushions Spoil the Couch