The Tale of a Jacuzzi, Christ’s Blood and an 8 Foot Man

Sevilla Travel Blog

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I feel like I have started another Camino - my feet are not doing so well in the heat and cobble stones of Sevilla. Yesterday was a day of walking, buses, walking and yet more walking. I started with a tour of the Plaza de España. What a gorgeous visual as I came to face the enormous grounds!

I am not sure of the history but the building itself is a giant semi-circle comprising a multi-storey ‘palace’ style structure (now housing some local government and immigration offices). The exterior is generously decorated with beautifully mosaic tiling and small individual alcoves. These are each decorated with intricate story-boards also in wonderful colorful Sevillian hand made ties. Each one represents a different region of Spain and also shows the location on a separate tiled map.

There are numerous moats and waterways weaving around the complex but unfortunately due to renovation work, all the water has been drained. Legend has it that these waterways have been the scene of many an upturned tourist boat in the recent past (sometimes over-full with up to 20 people). The mind boggles at the scene of 20 tourists floundering in the moat while holding cameras aloft.

Sarah met me just after noon and we walked to the bus station to purchase her ticket for Cadiz, a nearby beach ‘resort’ town. How I wish I still had a few days up my sleeve before I start my life as a student again, I would have joined her.

A bus adventure followed primarily to explore the barrio (neighborhood) of Nervión. I had been advised that this might be a suitable place to look for accommodation when I return to Sevilla to set up house. Unfortunately it was too bland and lacking the atmosphere of the city centre for me so that has at least narrowed my search. The bus trip back into the Centro was lovely and we were dropped of at a pretty plaza with loads more potential. Only about 10 minutes from my hotel, it was distinctly Spanish, plenty of apartments for rent, many other leafy plazas abounding and it FELT like home. I think I have settled on an area.

We continued to walk in the hot afternoon sun but were spared the searing heat of last week. It was only about 28-29C so a pleasant meander under the shady trees to find a little tapas bar for lunch and a rest. Bacalao (salt cod), pollo (chicken) and patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) washed down with a refreshing cervesa con lemon (beer and lemon) had us rested, refreshed and ready for siesta.

Walking back to the hotel I noticed the hot spots on the soles of my feet had now turned into blisters - damn. After two hours resting horizontally, they felt significantly better but not ready for the peculiar night’s activities to follow.

I met with Edu and Sarah outside my hotel at 7.00pm and our local guide for the night (Edu) took us to a gorgeous open air bar on the top of a 4-storey small hotel. The entrance was typically Spanish with delightful Moroccan inspired tiling caressing the steps up to the first level, opening to a cool inner garden portico. A short lift ride to the roof-top and we were in an oasis of several levels, each with a few rustic tables or daybeds swimming in pillows to recline in the sun or shade. Although 8.00pm, it was still pulsing with the heat of the day and did not start to cool down until much later, once the sun had finally tucked itself below the rooftops.

The top level housed a small but inviting jacuzz! With tinto veranos in hand we headed for the sumptuous day bed and avoided Edu’s insistence to get into the jacuzzi naked.
Note ¨Tinto Verano is a typically Spanish mix of red wine and lemonade -Sangria is usually drunk only by tourists.

Two brave young men joined us and hopped in the jacuzzi (board shorts) followed by Edu. Sarah and I did the only sensible thing and followed their lead but shyly dangled our legs in the inviting swirling water. Qué bonita¡ (how beautiful) to be in this magic place with wonderful company. The conversation was now a mix of English, Spanish and Spanglish¡ I think I have a new student when I return to Sevilla though.

The night wore on, the sun turned to a near full moon and we dried off our shrivelled feet to head to a lovely lively plaza and open air bar nearby for dinner - vino and raciones. It was so precious, I decided then and there to make this area my prime choice for home. I just loved the atmosphere.

Close to midnight now (a Thursday night and everyone is still out enjoying company) and Edu eagerly led us down narrow alleys through the city centre to our next destination. The little street, lined with 3-4 storey dwellings looked curiously residential. And then we saw the entrance to a very unusual little bar. I first thought it was a tiny church (without pews) as there were religious statues and iconography everywhere. It was dim and intimate with swathes of fabric and chandeliers dangling from the ceiling and walls.

Apparently this little-known bar is a secret haunt and stars often come here when visiting Sevilla. Even many locals do not know of it’s existence.

The speciality of the house is a cocktail called ‘Sangre de Cristo’ (blood of christ!). I have to say, it packs a serious punch and looked very scary - blood red. What fun, what a night the three of us were having. I noticed that Edu’s English seemed to be getting much better and Sarah and I were really improving our Spanish (as if!).

Close to 2.00am I was getting nervous about my impending bus trip to Granada the following morning but as I have to become a Sevilliana now, I had better get used to late nights - we coined the phrase ‘fiesta then siesta’ last night to explain just how to cope with little sleep. Just make up for it the next day with a lovely siesta.

Edu had another surprise in store for us necessitating another long walk back across the city (at least it was now closer to my hotel). We rounded the final corner and literally fell into a small but raging gay bar, timing it perfectly to see the drag show. Oh dear! Very different to Prahran, Melbourne. The show was not the best I have seen but it was certainly creative and entertaining. The star of the show was a very tall ‘queen’ with a massive afro wig and wearing yellow platform patent leather boots with about 40cm platforms (I kid you not!). Another ‘treat’ was a solo song by a 70-something queen wearing a pale blue synthetic trouser suit - straight out of the 70’s and way too much blue eyeshadow to be acceptable.

I have certainly had a night to rival no other. Where in the world would you get to spend 8 hours in the company of two delightful companions in a jacuzzi, eating al fresco, drinking the blood of christ and observing an 8 foot man miming to Diana Ross?

Post Script.........
Just arrived in Granada. I had a slight accident while walking from the taxi drop-off point to my new digs. While navigating a steep cobbled lane I slipped, fully loaded with backpack, handbag and computer. I think I have broken my toe and my knee (YES - the one I have recently had an operation on!) is swollen badly. Let;s see how I pull up tomorrow.
Africancrab says:
I hope that knee feels better, sorry to hear about the accident.
Posted on: Mar 13, 2010
Africancrab says:
The adventures of going beyond borders huh!
Posted on: Mar 13, 2010
lovemyworld says:
Oh no, Grace, hope you havent broken anything! I was so enjoying the beauty of ur writing and caught up in the love enraptured journalling! It is a sheer pleasure to read, and inspires my 'one day'travel book! Love 2 u, n hope ALL is well n whole (!) xxx.
Posted on: Jul 11, 2009
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photo by: JP-NED