From the quaint city of Toledo, we proceeded to our third Spanish stop, Seville, the capital and the largest city of the autonomous Andalusia community.
Having been wowed by the old structures in Madrid and Toledo, I thought I would be chill looking at what Seville had to offer. But look, it has its share of well photographed places which are favorite locations for movies. This is Plaza de Espana. It was the location used for the movie Lawrence of Arabia (okay, most of us were not yet born when this movie was shown, but it’s a classic), Star Wars, and more.
Another famous tourist spot is the Alcazar de Sevilla, a royal palace originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. Subsequent additions were made later on. It is an intricately designed structure, and is used by the popular series Game of Thrones. Today, the upper levels are still used by the royal family. If in Madrid we saw the largest functioning palace, this one is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe.
Of course, a palace has to be near the cathedral, the other seat of power. This is Catedral de Sevilla (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See), another beautiful church. After its completion in the early 16th century, it supplanted the Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world. (Remember our previous article Discovering Turkey? Hagia Sophia in Istanbul held the title for a thousand years.) It may only be the third largest church (next to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican, and Basilica of Our Lady of Aperecida in Brazil) but since the two are not seats of bishops, Cathedral Sevilla is still the largest cathedral and also the largest Gothic church in the world.
Again, I was so thankful that The Honey booked a hotel near the important spots. Look at this photo I took just during one breakfast at our hotel balcony. I could see the Alcazar and the Cathedral and took these shots in between bites of jamon, without even changing my position.
If I describe Toledo as quaint, Seville is vibrant. It is the home of two very important Spanish traditions: flamenco and toro.
Flamenco is an art form consists of the guitar, the song and the dance. On our first night we went to see a flamenco show. Check this out to see the passion of the performers. I told my sons, it’s like their krump (hiphop dance characterized by rapid, exaggerated movements of arms and legs).
A very passionate rendition of Flamenco
And of course, the following day, we did the “touristy” thing of having these fun shots taken. Ole!
On the other hand, toro or bull fight is a show that exhibits how the matador subdues the bull. I was warned by a couple of friends that they found this spectacle morbid, plus the outcry against it by animal rights groups calling it nothing but a blood sport. So there was really no intention for us to watch a bull fight. We just scheduled a visit to the Real Plaza de Toros, the museum and site of the bull fighting ring. The tour gave us a deeper understanding of this long-time tradition and art form. This plus the fact that our hotel (Hotel Palacio Alcazar) was the home of John Fulton, American painter and bull fighter who was known to be the best non Latino bull fighter, somewhat convinced me to say yes when Marvin asked if I’d like to watch. I just thought, “He accompanies me to watch love story in theaters and I accompany him to watch his sometimes gory action movies. I will just close my eyes when it gets really bad.” It might interest you to know that matadors are paid anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 euros per fight.
And so before we left the museum, we bought some tickets for that day’s fight at 6 pm. It’s interesting how the tickets are priced according to how directly the sun will shine on you because the sun sets at 8pm. Despite the heat, people dress up to see a fight. Men were in long sleeves shirts, slacks, some in blazers. Women were in dresses, heels and accessories you would wear to a dinner party. Needless to say, we were underdressed for the occasion. But hey, I was glad I watched, and I did not cover my eyes! I watched the entire show. I’m not saying I didn’t feel sorry for the bull but I appreciated the entire spectacle – a display of guts/bravado, dance in full color.
Watch this exciting segment of the bull fight at the Real Plaza de Toros. See the heart-stopping encounter of the bull with the matador, and how the people reacted.
My takeaway from our Sevilla experience is the importance of understanding and respecting other cultures. I didn’t expect myself to watch a bull fight in that stadium together with 12,000 other watchers. I thought I was way too anti-gory to enjoy it. I guess it was because the museum tour gave us a deeper understanding of their culture and tradition. I learned about the preparation that it takes for the matador to prepare for an event. I saw the prayer room with an altar with Mama Mary, the jar of water where the matador would spend his alone time before he faces the bull. Now I appreciate what Hemingway said in his novel The Sun Also Rises, “Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bull fighters.”
- Watch tomorrow’s short video of our trip to Sevilla on FQwentuhan at 12 noon.
- I will be the moderator of a segment at the Blogapalooza’s annual event, this time entitled Generation D (as in Digital). This will be on November 18, 2017 at the City of Dreams from 10am to 7pm.
- Want to know your FQ Score? Take it today. Click link to take the test. http://tinyurl.com/FQTest
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Image from pinterest, Plaza Liquor KC, Public Domain Pictures, tandemmadrid, Timeline, Topaz Satellite Group Inc, tripadvisor, iStock, WallpaperLayer, Wikipedia, Wookieepedia – Fandom, yia18.org, YouTube, Brands & Films, and Dreamstime the author used to help deliver the message of the article.