It was summer twenty sixteen, and in a desperate bid to lay low and recover from my time volunteering in Greece I was on a somewhat aimless wandering around the warmer parts of Europe. Sleeping in hostels, picking up volunteer work in exchange for a bed and a meal, writing for money when I could find it. Seville was my ultimate end-goal, and I had been inching my way closer through the spring, traveling through Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, and finally on to Spain.
I’d dreamed of Seville for a long time. Romantic visions of flamenco guitarists emanating from the rooftops amidst the intoxicatingly perfume of orange blossom in the spring. I had fallen hopelessly head over heels for Spain on a brief visit to Madrid before entering Portugal earlier in the summer and I’d been itching to get back.
I narrowly missed my springtime daydreams and arrived Into the Andalusia region in early July.
I meandered through orange trees and brightly painted buildings exploring the barrios one by one. Basking in the sweltering late afternoon heat, getting feverish fantasies about fresh sangrias and thin slivers of jamón curled over crusty bread. The summertime sunshine was slow roasting me in new and unusual ways yet the pull to explore was overcoming all common sense.
It gets so hot in Seville in the depths of summer that the central district is covered in shade sails, and the outdoor restaurants are a haven of gentle water misters. In many cases all it takes is too many steps away from the airconditioning and your pulse starts racing with the heat and dehydration.
It was just coming up ten at night, and the temperature had dropped to a pleasing thirty degrees celsius; the evening light had a romantic hint of dusk. Hoards of swallows were beginning to dip, dice and swoop around cathedral spires.
Mothers were out walking babies in prams, and shops were beginning to shut up for the evening. It was hard to imagine how late into the night it was becoming, and for the first time in my life I understood the Spanish way of eating dinner this late in the evening.
By 10pm the previously empty plazas were heaving with crowds, enjoying the cooling air, and the world was fragranced with peppery earl grey tea from the citrus tree leaves. Flamenco guitar students were sitting out in the summer air practicing along the promenades and on the roof tops as I made my way towards one of many Flamenco bars in the city.
Seville is full of Flamenco theatres, there is no shortage to choose from. I opted for La Carbonería, an old coal warehouse on Calle Céspedes. Touted by some as a hidden gem, by others a tourist trap – whatever it was the experience felt authentic and magical. The power and energy of flamenco well beyond anything I’d imagined.
As all my daydreams of this magnificent city came to realisation, I was captivated. The sounds and emotion, the complex guitar, skirt flipping, stomping and guttural calls had me hooked. Flamenco was everything I’d hoped it would be, and then some.