A Love Letter To Seville

It's hot as hell but friendlier than your favourite Aunt. Here's my ode to my favourite Spanish city...
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Dear Seville,

Last Wednesday you won the UEFA Cup on penalties and had two nights of total fiesta. Two evenings of charging in the streets, of Cruzcampo-dosed dancing in the fountain at Puerta Jerez, and making merry with the English stranger who clapped out of time to all your songs.

The Thursday at Plaza Nueva seemed important.  The Cup's return and the thousands of you.  Those songs, outside the council building waiting for the team to arrive on the balcony like conquering conquistadors; as intense as your 5pm sun.  All the while you were patient in your impatience, unable to stand still but content to wait it out for a chance to wave in your heroes. The endless scarves tied round heads, the mums and dads and sons and daughters and nans and granddads.   The familiar friendly stench of stale sweat.  Like everything else in this place, you did it as a team with a communal integrity that makes a Brit like me grin with jealously.  And the roar when they arrived; as the players waved and lead you in even more song before trying-mostly in vain-to make you hush while they delivered speeches over a Cash Converter's tannoy.    To this cynical Spurs fan, it seemed you were engaging in a joy I’ll only ever aspire to.

You deserve it.

Before I arrived a month ago, I was in Madrid and told to watch out for people from Seville.  That they wouldn’t like the fact my Spanish is shit, that people from Seville weren’t worth writing home about.  Well I can proudly say I’m writing home about them now.  Whether it’s the market traders giving me paella tips under the Setas food market, or the geezer selling lottery tickets on the corner of Plaza Del Amas who always helped me to the right bus stop: they weren’t bothered that I couldn’t speak Spanish.   Instead they always appreciated that I tried, and laughed kindly as I mixed up words and tenses and verbs.  Everyone did.

Of course we all talk about your heat, and it is hot.  35 degrees in May is just not normal.  I’m glad I’ll be out by July when it nudges the mid 40s. But the Sevillanos will still be here, and instead of the heat boiling their blood they'll just become more tranquilo. (This is really saying something as most the time they seem half-horizontal. And it might be hot as hell,  but you know they’ll still be dressed sharp as daggers for church.  Oh yes, Seville, your guys know your way round a whistle, and no senoritas look slicker in a slip skirt.   They’ve got your own style going on- there’s a classic cut to their outfits, but they aren’t afraid to mix it up with hats, stripes and everything nice.

They’ve got personality.

There’s obviously so much more to write about you, and I could (and likely will) spend a lifetime rhapsodising about your food; the cazon de adobo alone is worth a chapter in anyone’s book.  Then there’s the fever of Feria, your peach-washed walls, the beards and weirds of Bicicleteria.  But that's just a drop in the Guadalquivir and there’s plenty of time for all that so-for now-thanks for having me.

I’m gone in a few days, briefly stopping by Madrid again.  I’ll be sure to tell everyone there just how wrong they were.

Hasta la juego.

(I did learn that.)

D x


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