Spellbound in Seville

Seville puts you under her spell rather easily. She does this so subtly you do not even know where or when she won you over. You simply surrender to her charms willingly, and go from there. Perhaps this experience can best be described as “duende”. It’s a Spanish word that is hard to define as it has more than one meaning. Some Flamenco singers claim to sing with duende, and in modern terms that is often defined as “singing with soul or extreme passion”. Another meaning for duende is that it is the mystical power an artist possesses, and the artist uses this power to enchant or enthrall the audience. In a sense the artist casts a spell on us, and we willingly surrender to the moment whether it is joyful or sorrowful. We feel what the singer feels–the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. This is Seville.

The people of Seville embrace duende–they live in the moment, good or bad, and accept all that life offers. And when you are there, you follow their lead. You live in the moment too. Perhaps that is why you feel free to wander from one place to the next. You do not know what you will find; you just know that you will find something.

Let’s see what we found …

The palace is a great example of Spain's ever changing past. It evolved as Spain evolved. Once it was home to Muslim kings then it was home to the Spanish kings. In the 1300s the palace was totally rebuilt using the mudejar style--a fusion of both Islamic and Christian art-- and at that moment the past and the present became one.

The marriage of Islamic and Christian art can be seen in this photo. Can you figure out which is which? P.S. You might remember seeing this style in Cordoba and Granada too.

Also known as the Courtyard of the Maidens. This is one of the Alcazar's most visited areas.

The cathedral is one of the most visited places in Seville. It is the third largest cathedral in Europe. We love the exterior-- the next picture might help explain why.

We love gargoyles and this cathedral has some unique specimens! The expression on its face really draws you in doesn't it?

This tomb was another unique find in the Seville Cathedral. Christopher Columbus' remains are said to be housed here. Because his remains were moved (or may be not) from Santo Domingo to Havana then back to Seville there has been much debate over whether or not these really are his remains.

This is known as the "gold" tower because it once housed precious metals during Seville's heydays. It was also a prison. Originally the Moors built it as a military tower or watchtower. It had a sister tower but it was lost to an earthquake.

Seville's bullring is the oldest one in Spain. It was built in the 1700s but changed as Spain changed. Even if you are not a fan of bullfights, you can still admire the beauty of the building itself-- the golden sand, the rustic red ring, and the vibrant blue sky are a visually stunning combination!

The panoramic view of the bullring definitely emphasizes its size as well as its beauty. What's interesting is that all profits from the bullfights go to charity. In the past, bull meat was given to the poor. Most Sevillians are proud of this heritage and become frustrated when asked to defend the practice.

This wonderful site was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition or Expo '29. The wonderful tile work makes it popular with locals and tourists alike.

If you look closely, you can see a group of junior high school students sitting near the fountain. You can rent a boat and paddle the site's canal or you can wander from bridge to bridge or alcove to alcove. Each province in Spain decorated an alcove and bench in picturesque tiles.

The new market, found in Plaza de la Encarnacíon, was unveiled in 2010. The base comes complete with gourmet food shops, indoor meat and vegetable markets, and what not. You can walk up to the second story and stroll. It is truly unique! We had our first churros (Spanish donuts that you dip in a thick hot chocolate) in that square! Yum!

A Flamenco singer experiencing or exuding "duende"! We attended a Flamenco show at La Taberna. It was incredible. The musicians, singers and dancers pour their hearts and souls into their performances. (We don't have a picture from the show because you are not allowed to take photos.)

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