Posts Tagged With: Southern Spain travel

Sevilla: Follow in the footsteps of Don Juan

If your heart beats in unison with a deeply romantic soul, you´ll find yourself in heaven on earth when in the Andalusian capital Sevilla. Sevilla is the raw material that 1001 dreamy tales are born from: the scent of oranges and jasmine fill the air, pink Bougainvillea flowers lean against bright white walls, the sound of laughter and song remind you of the long-longed for joy within your being and the warm sunrays linger on your skin.

Head to the ancient neighborhood Barrio Santa Cruz, the former Jewish quarter, for an extra dosage of rejuvenating inspiration. Here, you´ll be able to lose control by getting lost in the labyrinth of the enticing narrow streets all around you. Don´t linger too long when you find yourself in front of yet another gorgeous palace or hidden-away convent, though – the ghost of Don Juan de Tenorio and his forbidden love Dona Ines de Ulluoa await you! Well, they might, anyway.

“Encantado”, delighted, that´s how Don Juan would surely introduce himself to you, in a charming, yet assured tone of voice and with an irresistible demeanor. He might even bow to you, in that typical 19th century-way. He was, after all, the absolute star of the Spanish drama Don Juan de Tenorio by Jose Zorilla, and therefore the key character of Spain´s most popular 19th-century-play!

Don Juan, the young nobleman who so loved to drink and duel his way through the city, fell madly in love with young novice Ines, who, as rumor has it, was born in the Santa Cruz hood. Their tragic love story unfolded at impossibly romantic places such as Plaza de Dona Elviria, Plaza de los Venerables, and maybe even the popular “Antiguo Rincon del Beso“, the old corner of the kiss!

This beautiful yet humble spot, located on Calle Gloria 7, is where many couples like to stop for a passionate kiss and to celebrate their love by taking a cute snap or two. And it might also just have been exactly this tucked-away corner where Don Juan and Ines exchanged one of those deep glances that you can only share with someone who truly touches your soul…

What´s the most romantic place you have been to so far? Would love to hear all about it! May the spirit of romance be with you, my friend.

Categories: Amor und Eros - Love and sensual living, Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Meeting Dalí: Surrealist sculptures in Marbella

Salvador Dalí must be the epitome of the eccentric artist-genius if there ever was one. And eccentric, mind you, in a good, no, freaking brilliant way. The Catalan artist melted hearts and stirred the art world´s pot with his unconventional, surrealist ways. I was fortunate enough to visit his thought-provoking “Casa Museu Dalí” in Figueres, close to the French border, a while ago – a place where giant eggs sit enthroned on the claret colored rooftop and sultry lips as well as a nose act as surprising pieces of furniture and decor. It is an inspiring place, to say the least! 

Dalí´s work traveled far and wide, and a part of it somehow ended up in a place the celebrated artist didn´t really have that much to do with during his lifetime – in Marbella, Southern Spain.  While the creative genius spent most of his life between cities such as Barcelona, Madrid or Paris with a longer stay in New York, some of his outlandish sculptures have found a home in the beautiful, notorious coastal city 45 minutes from Malaga. 

There are two places in Marbella where you can soak up the Mediterranean sun and marvel at the famous painter, artist and sculptor´s
work at once. One is located at Puerto Banus, playground of the super-wealthy, where even Arabia´s billionaires leave their yachts in the port and come out to mingle. Located on the Cristamar roundabout at the end of Avenida Naciones Unidas, a several tonne heavy rhinoceros dressed in lace greets its onlookers with a detached (or is it cheeky?) demeanor.  

Rhinoceros sculpture Dali Marbella
This well-dressed rhinoceros was created by Dali after he made a crazy movie called “The Prodigious Adventure of the Lacemaker and the Rhinoceros” in 1956. Photo by Manuel 
González Olaechea y Franco/ Wikimedia Commons.

For a wider array of artwork, head to Marbella Boulevard, to so-called Avenida del Mar, which is located right in the pulsing heart of the city, between the endlessly charming old town with its flower-patios and narrow winding, white-washed streets, and the gorgeous embankments along the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean ocean. 

Here, where a salty sea breeze fills the air and the sun warms every pore of your skin, five quirky sculptures await your interpretation. The first one depicts Greek mythological man and hero Perseus, caught in the act while cutting lady Medusa´s head off. Remember Medusa? Yep, it´s that feisty female with snakes instead of hair and a pretty chilly gaze – so chilly, in fact, that any man gazing upon her would turn to stone. It seems somehow understandable, then, that Perseus would do such a drastic move. But wait, isn´t he already cast in stone? This is kinda confusing. I mean, what´s the point? Anyway, moving on.

Apart from Perseus, there are two sculptures that showcase a more direct connection to Dali’s life: One of them is named “Gala Gradiva” after the artist´s wife, the other is a depiction of her looking out a window. As you can gather from these sculptures, this enigmatic, Russian-born woman played a central role in Dali´s art and life. He adored her with as much heart and soul as only artists can adore their creative-life-giving muses. As a testimony to this and to the powerful effect of love on art, let me close this post with a quote by Dali himself, revealing his never ending affection for Gala as well as the overall quirkiness of his character:


“I name my wife: Gala, Galushka, Gradiva; Oliva, for the oval shape of her face and the color of her skin; Oliveta, diminutive for Olive; and its delirious derivatives Oliueta, Oriueta, Buribeta, Buriueteta, Suliueta, Solibubuleta, Oliburibuleta, Ciueta, Liueta. I also call her Lionette, because when she gets angry she roars like the  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion”

Back to you, dear reader: Who is your favorite artist? And why? As always, would love to hear from you!

 

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Seville’s sensual celebration – La Feria de Abril

The steady, well-balanced trot of a powerful hoof approaches, raising dust in a proud, unrelenting way, only drowned out by the spontaneous and wholehearted singing of his rider, conjuring up the splendor of the moment and of his city.

Where else could you be now but in one of Spain’s most glorious, most lively and most unique places – Sevilla!

If you find yourself in the capital of Andalusia, the Southernmost Spanish autonomous community, in the middle of April chances are you will be able to witness one of Spain’s most colorful, most vibrant and joyful celebrations, the Feria de Abril/ Seville Fair.

Seville Fair- Background and traditions

Founded in 1847 as a livestock fair by two councillors born in Northern Spain, Basque José María Ybarra and Catalonian Narciso Bonaplata, the fair transformed over the years more and more into a celebration of Andalucia’s customs, art and lifestyle.

Just like the attendees in the 1920’s, when the fair reached its peak, you will be nothing short of mesmerized by the intriguing melange presented to you: Spanish ladies dancing Sevillanas, the typical Flamenco inspired dance, in their  Trajes de flamenca, or flamenco-style dresses, Andalusian men wearing their Cordobeses, typical hats, and best suits. Horses and horse carriages belong as much to the picture as the Casetas, individually decorated marquee tents which are exclusively built on the fairground for the Feria.

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Andalusian horses- Andalusian equestrian arts are world-famous. Horse parades are therefore an essential part of the Feria de Abril!

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Seville Feria de Abril fairground with its Casetas at night

The Casetas are usually owned by prominent families of Seville, clubs, trade associations, political parties or even groups of friends, who gather there to celebrate all the best that Andalusia’s lifestyle has to offer: lightness of being, laughter, delicious Tapas,  great drinks, music and dance.

To understand the importance of the Feria de Abril for Sevilla, just consider these mind blowing numbers: in the six days that the fair takes place, starting on midnight on the Monday two weeks after Semana Santa or holy week, another important Spanish celebration, around 5 Million people visit the fairground with its over 1000 casetas!

Tourists from all over the world mingle with the Sevilla natives, women displaying an array of the most colorful flamenco dresses, wearing flowers in their hair, showing of big earrings as well as often the typical Manton de Manila, and men honing their masculinity in their suits or sometimes even the traditional trajes cortos, the probably bullfighter clothing inspired short jacket, tight trousers and boots.

Sevilla during the Feria seems to be a place where the feminine and masculine are still clearly distinctive, creating sizzling chemistry and a flirtatious mood while spring awakens with all its might. Blooming orange trees lure you in with their luscious scent, Jasmine flowers exude their sweet and beguiling perfume, an abundance of Bougainvillea caressing the walls of stunning white houses show of their perfect vibrant shades of pink.

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Bougainvillea blooming in the centre of Seville

No wonder then that the celebrations during the Feria tend to go all night, from around nine in the evening till six or seven in the following morning. The parties take place in the streets as well as in the casetas, where joyous crowds enjoy Sherry, the typical Manzanilla and Rebujito drinks and eat Tapas while songs, laughter and music fill the air.

So, do by any means take a Granny nap in the afternoon if you must, so you won’t miss out on any of it! However, if you really can’t keep up with the Sevillanos– Party animals, you could still check out the daily parade of carriages and riders, transporting Seville’s leading citizens to the bullring, La maestranza, where the bullfighters and breeders meet. The parades take place daily around noon.

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bullfighting, a controversial Spanish tradition

Either way, whether by day or by night: the experiencing of the Feria is a feast for the senses and an explosion of joy not to be missed.

Seville fair tips for a top-notch experience:

If this article has sparked your interest in this magnificent festivity – here some suggestions to make the most out of your time at the Feria:

  • Food: to get the most authentic experience possible, try some typical Tapas like Patatas Bravas, potatoes in a spicy sauce, Flamenquines, a meat dish, or Huevos a la Flamenca, a healthy egg and vegetable dish. Find the latter recipe in my book “Speak in Spanish- Fun and motivation on your learning journey”.
  • Drink: the best and most typical drinks to order are Sherry, Manzanilla wine, a variety of fino sherry made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the province of Cádiz or the Rebujito, a mix of Sherry and soft drinks.
  • Preparation: Most of the Casetas are private, but there are some public Casetas you can access. To get the most original experience, you could of course try to make friends with some locals who might invite you to their Casetas! In order to do so, why don’t you pick up  some Spanish for your Feria experience?  If you want to book some Spanish classes with me, simply get in touch.
  • Dance: You might also wanna do a Sevillanas dance crash course or at least check out Sevillanas Feria de Abril 2015, de Puente Siete/ YouTube to know what you are in for.
  • Parking: If you do choose to go by car, there is a possibility to pre-book your own spot in a parking house, which is highly recommended. One of the closest parking spaces you can reserve is located at Plaza de Cuba, 5 minutes walk away from the Portada, the entry gate to the fairground.
  • Accommodation: as you read before, the Feria is incredibly popular, so make sure to book in advance. It might be a good idea to try out Air BNB or to even consider staying slightly out-of-town to get better rates, as there are extra buses and other forms of public transport to the Feria.
  • Save the date- Feria de Abril in the following years: 1-7 of May 2017, 23-29 of April 2018, 4-11 of May 2019, 26 April – 2 May 2020

    Feria de Abril - Entry gate in all its splendor

    The traje de gitana/ Flamenco style dress is the most authentic outfit in which to visit the fair. In the background you can also see the portada/ entry gate to the fairground in all its sparkly splendor.

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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