it took me quite long (but I promised, so) here you go…
What I remembered of the colours of Andalucía was the white of the houses, the almost transcendent gold of the sunlight, and the deep purple of what turned out to be the flower of a banana tree.
In Sevilla, white goes accompanied by warm, earthly ochres and sandstone, lined with rich dark reds and the strong colours of azulejos. Of Sevilla itself I remembered litlle, to be honest, and as welcoming as the city – and its people – is, I had to realise how little I knew about the place.
In the San Salvador church, abour half-a-dozen middle-aged ladies were sitting on the front benches, praying: one of them would recite the first line and then the others joined in for the answer and finished te verse. They were already there when we entered; aprroximately an hour later, when we left, they still went on.
Meandering through the countless chambers, patios and gardens of the Real Alcázar, I suddenly understood having travelled there at the age of 9 made me ultimately pursue studies in architecture. It still urges me to immerse myself in the history, tales and art of those times. of course, the same stands for the Moqsue of Córdoba, which remains on of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever seen. Add to this the comments of my friend Raúl, who not only is an architect but also comes from the province of Málaga adn therefore knows much more of it than for example I do – you get the idea. It was so good to see him anyways: he was in budapest some 6 years ago, and we haven’t met ever since. And though it may seem otherwise from this far, Andalucía is quite big, so simply arranging to meet somewhere was quite a feat. Yet we managed, and so talked through the day about past, present and future, as usual. He seems to have changed in a subtle, inexplicable way that is probably what growing up does to people. It struck me again how much of memory became intangible for the mere fact I had forgotten his accent, his ways of speaking (yes, I am a language freak).
Having seen the amount of wealth accumulated in Sevilla (and elsewhere), there’s something I keep thinking about. That is, if we (some people, including me) think that the extreme concentration of resources is harmful to the society as a whole, how can or how should we approach great artwork, knowing that the ones we consider the greatest are (with very few exceptions) results of an extreme concentration of resources in the hands of a select few? Not to deny or undervalue the talent that created them, of course, but almost none of these greatest works would exist without the exceptional richness of aperson or family that commissioned them (or, in certain cases, the artists themselves, who therefore didn’t have to do any other work).
One of the great things about travelling as a grown-up (as opposed to travelling as a child) is that ou can stay up later. This of course is not something in and for itself, but becomes rather important when you can stay up & out threee nights in a row, going to 1) a concert of medieval music / music from Al-Andalus in the Alcázar gardens, 2) a flamenco concert on the riverside, 3) another flamenco night, in this case with dance, to a place where there’s a show every night but you can get very much surprised by the different artists each time. On our last night in Sevilla, we saw one of these surprising dancers.
She was sitting next to the musicians, dressed rather differently than the usual professional flamenco dancers you might see around town, with a make-up that only emphasised how very tired she looked. Next to the podium there were two little girls, probably her daughters and an elderly lady, I guess her mother, and she kept glancing, distracted, to the dirls, especially the smaller one, about maybe two years old. And still, it was completely evident that once she stood up to dance she would be muuch better than all the others we had seen. In fact, she was probably the best I have ever seen – so strong, so alive, so completely with the music, so without any of the dancing clichés some tend to use when dancing. Her name is Ana Japón, but I could not find anything about her on the net.
Sevilla: in the old town
Iglesia San Salvador
Devotion (Sevilla old town)
father and child
somewhere in the old town (Sevilla)
a model of the Santa Maria
for all the sailors out there
architectural barbarism (Córdoba mosque)
Plaza de España
through the arch – Giralda tower again
above the city of Seville
on the market wall, Cádiz
the lighthouse of Cádiz
Having two more days off than my friend (with whom I travelled), once she took her flight I took a train to Cádiz, a town of dreams, unknown.
Cádiz is small, and these days insignificant, at least seemingly, with a history of millennia lost to the eyes, most of the ancient city having been destroyed. Cádiz proper, that is, the old town is a grid of narrow but straight streets lined with buildings of the 1700s, the golden era of Cádiz – and whichever street you take, in whichever direction, you will probably end up on the seaside. On the Caleta beach, a small urban beach in between two fortresses – one with the lighthouse – and lots of fishing boats, there is a much-recommended sight, a theatre show to see each and every day: the sunset. Cádiz is small, but of course in my two days I could not by far discover all the beauties of even Cdiz proper, much less the new part. I do not know the city, nor its sea. I do know maybe three of its songs, and I have met and had lengthy conversations with about a dozen of its people, once I got the hang of their dialect and started to understand more than half of what they were saying.
Cádiz is the Port.
Cádiz smells of the sea.