I am not much a bucket-list traveler. But in the little “If I had to have a bucket list, what would I put on it” list, Seville had been high up. And boy, it did not disappoint! This city is painted in bold brush strokes of contemporary European, Arabic, Renaissance and Gothic architectural styles.. all on one canvas. Combined with sunshine and Spanish vibrancy, it makes for a heady time capsule.
And while the city, especially the old town, is brimming with olden charm, it is The Real Alcazar (the royal palace) which is the main attraction and a symbol of the luxurious era of the Muslim rulers in Spain. Modern day fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ would identify the visuals of this stunning palace from the show, but whoever is managing tourism in this palace is not in the least interested in cashing in on this craze. Forget mythical thrones.. they have the real thing- the royal family still uses the top quarters of this palace. There literally isn’t a single reference to the show anywhere on or off the premises, which is possible only in Europe. And I was thankful for it.
The Seville Cathedral right next to the Alcazar, evokes a completely different mood and style..
And yet, none of this compares to the awe-inducing grandeur and sheer beauty of the Plaza de Espana, which I had never heard of before, but will likely have trouble to stop talking about going forward.
It is one of the very few, perhaps the only, man-made place which has so impressed us, and which we felt that photographs just couldn’t do justice to. But of course, we tried.
The formidable structure forms a semi-circular arc around you that is so grand in its scale and impact that the modern-day trappings present in that very space, like the tourists and cameras, fade into insignificance and you feel truly transported into a different time.
What could possibly top these symbols of the refinement and accomplishment of human civilizations? Of the finesse and the gentle beauty, the splendour and the luxury that sprung from a vision and appreciation of these!
We found that too, something even more powerful.. surprisingly when we weren’t looking. When we were aimlessly strolling through streets on languid afternoons or late in the nights. When a lone man sat on a chair in the middle of a cobbled street long after patrons had gone to sleep, his dog sitting patiently beside him, and he played on his cello tunes that would connect you to your own previous lifetimes. Or when we came across flamenco dancers, their bodies taut with fiery pride, repeating their street performance over and over with the same exultation. Or when you cross a painter on the street who has probably not sold a thing since morning, and you smile kindly at him- in turn to find in his smile a contentedness not commonly found- it’s a thing to behold. Mostly there are no queues. Often no fees. No pictures that could capture it. Just an assurance at having witnessed it. That.