This time last week I sat at my kitchen table editing pictures on my laptop, gazing through the window wondering if this incessant wind and rain would ever stop, and when it did, what would I do with the remains of my garden fence. I write this, one week later, gazing through the window of my 'media-distancia' train from Seville to Malaga, to sun and blue skies and rolling fields of orange trees punctuated by the occasional 'casa blanca', wondering how soon I can get back here again!
I landed at Malaga - Costa del Sol Airport a little disorientated after only 45 minutes sleep the night before, but knowing Malaga well , I took the ten minute train trip to Maria Zambrano, had my first fix of 'Churros con Chocolate' and jumped on the train to Seville. I arrived at my flat to be greeted by my host, Javier who was understanding to the fact that in my current state of fatigue my Spanish was far from fluent and my English equally as bad. So I dropped off my bag, heavy camera and lenses, before heading out to explore the local area, armed with my more mangeable, lightweight point and shoot. After a quick 'paseo' and a pit stop at the local 'Mercadona' to pick up some things, I went back to the flat to get a good night's sleep in preparation for an early start the next day.
I woke up refreshed and after a hearty breakfast of Jamon, Queso and three of the sweetest locally grown oranges I ever eaten, I set out early with camera and tripod, allowing what I thought was plenty of time to find the perfect spot for that classic sunrise shot. But having not scouted the city the night before, I found myself meandering aimlessly through the narrow streets of old town Seville, watching frustrated as the first rays of morning sun touched the tip of the Cathedral spire in the distance.
Then as the full daylight sun filled the sky, transforming vanilla skies to yellows and deep blues, I realised I had missed the narrow slither of a window between night and day and that classic sunrise shot would have to wait. I could relax now as I knew I had a another few hours of soft morning light, and after all, I wasn't here just to work with an extensive shot list of images needed. As long as I came away with one or two good images to add to the exhibition I'm working on, I'd be happy.
I rounded the corner into Plaza del Virgen, at the foot of the Cathedral to see the tan leather, sun-baked faces of the cocheros with their horse-drawn taxis waiting for their first fair of the day. Like alfresco London black cabs waiting at Victoria Station. It wasn't long before I heard the distinctive sound of Spanish guitar and feet stomping on a makeshift wooden stage and I got my first taste of Sevillian Flamenco. Sitting amongst the orange trees lining the streets, bright coloured, ruffled dresses in countless shop windows and the pained cries of the cantadora. You can't help but get sucked in. You can't help but feel 'el duende'.
So I could tell you the Alcazar is beautiful and you have to visit it whilst you're here. It is, and you should, but for me Seville is more about the people, the experiences and the laid back Andalusian life. Strolling down Calle Almirante Apodaca eating an ice cream from Heledería Rayas. Stopping to watch the busking flamenco dancers or catching one of the free shows at the well-known bar, La Carbonería. Taking a little siesta in Parque de Maria Luisa or sampling the 'Espinacas con Garbanzos' tapas (spinach with chick peas) at El Rinconcillo in Calle Gerona. If by that point you're still missing home, then just hop on one the numerous 'Sevici' rental bikes scattered around the city, identical to our capital's Boris Bikes, except the distinctive blue and grey paint is replaced by the more Spanish patriotic red, yellow and white.
Gazing though the window of my 'media-distancia' train from Seville to Malaga I see the all-too familiar sign for Maria Zambrano Station. Next stop Pedregalejo Beach, East Malaga for some tasty Sea Bream 'a la parilla'.