Semana Santa in Seville

 

Nazarenos during Semana Santa marching with the Giralda in the background

Spring is fully under way in Seville, which means the streets are full of  trees in blossom and it smells INCREDIBLE!! The scents of Seville… from incense in Christmas to oranges in February to azahar orange blossom now… I’ve never know a city smell so great! Last week was Semana Santa (Holy Week), one of the most important and hotly anticipated weeks in Seville. People have been talking about it since I arrived in October, so I was very excited, even though nearly every person I know from Seville told me to “GET OUT DURING HOLY WEEK! ITS AWFUL!” It coincided with the visit from my parents so we went to have a look together. I got some great photos during Palm Sunday so thought I’d share them as well as some information about Semana Santa in Seville as its very interesting! Continue reading “Semana Santa in Seville”

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Parents Visit me in Seville

So last week my parents made the exciting trip to come and visit me in Seville! I was filled with trepidation, with their visit to me in Austria somehow still fresh in my mind two years after the event… but Seville is a wonderful city for anybody to visit so I was confident they’d have a good time.

I emailed them the week before to warn them that temperatures had been reaching 26 degrees and they should bring sun hats and a summery attitude. Predictably, the day they arrived it began to rain. They first went to Granada and think they trudged around a soggy Alhambra. I think it brought back bad memories of when they came to Cuba and it rained almost constantly for a fortnight: locals kept remarking how unusually rainy it was!
Continue reading “Parents Visit me in Seville”

Carnaval in La Rinconada, Seville

In the UK this time of year usually revolves around Valentine’s Day and pancakes. But this weekend Valentine’s day barely even registered with me as in Andalucia, it is CARNAVAL!!!

I have a couple of friends currently experiencing Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro. But who needs Rio when only 20 minutes away from Seville is the small town of La Rinconada!?

This is the town where I’m working at the moment, and over the past couple of weeks our workmates have been talking to us about carnaval. They told us carnaval is very important, and that we had to come and we had to dress up. When we started talking about costumes, they were very clear: this isn’t any ‘carnival’ style dress up like you might get at Notting Hill carnival. Our boss shook her head when we talked about bralets and headdresses. “You have to wear real costumes”, she said. “People spend months preparing!”

So we begrudgingly agreed to borrow some “Mexican” outfits from her. Our other wonderful colleague invited us to her house to go with all her friends. She told us we could NOT wear our costumes on the way to Rinconada. “You have to get changed HERE!” she said. It seemed like carnaval had a lot of rules. We bundled over on Saturday afternoon, costumes and a bottle of negrita in our backpacks, and the festivities began! The warning that carnaval was important really did not prepare me for what were getting ourselves into. After a boozy lunch at our friend’s house, we got changed and painted our faces. Our friends all went as bees, and had somehow commandeered a full-size shopping trolley that they filled with bottle of coca cola, cups and a polystyrene box filled with ice and rum. So much rum. I thought this was just the storage device in their home but it turned out that you had to take the trolley to carnaval with you.

We left the house, trolley in tow, and walked up the road just in time to see the start of the procession. Leading the way was the carnaval queen, who was pulled along by a tractor and half-heartedly throwing confetti into the crowd. Then behind here were hundreds of people. Everybody came in groups, all dressed as the same thing… chickens, aliens, clowns, dogs, farmers, bollywood dancers… the variety was impressive. I’d tried to reflect Frida Kahlo in my Mexican outfit, but it wasn’t very successful and I just looked like I was dressed as any old Mexican. I was a bit concerned people might think I was suggesting all Mexican women had monobrows, and be offended. It soon became clear I needn’t have worried as being offensive didn’t seem to be a concern. We witnessed quite a surprising amount of people who’d decided to actually black up for the occasion as they dressed up as “African tribes”…

We joined the parade and marched through the streets, looking at people’s costumes and drinking from our trolley. We passed our friend’s house on the way – and her mother’s! – so stopped off to use the toilet and have a break. Then, as the sun had set, we reached the plaza where there was a giant stage playing live bands and bars and candyfloss carts. We didn’t need the bars though, as we wheeled the trolley into the crowd and danced around it! It was so fun!

We wanted to go back to Seville to sleep, so we unfortunately had to take the last bus home at about 10.30. By this point we’d already been partying for like seven hours so it wasn’t too upsetting, but nevertheless it would have been fun to stay longer. There isn’t really a carnaval in Seville. This was made painfully clear once we’d got the bus back to the centre of Seville, and were wondering around feeling extremely bubbly with our costumes on. We were met with very lukewarm responses. Nobody would let us in to any bars! In fact, when we needed the toilet, we had to sneak into a little pub! It was a harrowing experience.

This week we are all preparing to go to the last weekend of carnaval in Cadiz. We have been told that carnaval in Cadiz is “a life changing experience”. Hopefully in a good way? Time will tell!
Continue reading “Carnaval in La Rinconada, Seville”

Cycling from Seville to La Rinconada

The duchess and I went on our first Grand Adventure today. (The Duchess is the name of my bike….its hasn’t caught on yet – most people still simply call her “your bike” – but I’ve committed to the name so I’m going to back myself and keep using it). We’ve been on a couple of small adventures around town but today we decided to plunge ourselves into the exciting new world of intercity travel and I cycled to work!!!

Typing about this experience is more difficult than usual as my body is in complete melt down. I feel like my bones are crying. I am living in Seville but I work in a park in La Rinconada. The park is 12km away from my house: I know this, because my workmate measured the cycling distance on her phone. This is the same young lady who cycled to work last week and told me that the journey wasn’t that hard. She strolled into work one morning, bicycle in tow, bright eyed with windswept hair and rosy cheeks. I asked her if she was okay and she said “I feel amazing.” I looked at her and thought to myself “I want to feel amazing! I want to have windswept hair!”. So yesterday after much deliberation I decided that today was The Day that I started my journey towards becoming the cycling goddess that I’ve always dreamed of being.

Obviously I didn’t get windswept hair because I approached the adventure with extreme caution and terror, and wore my electric blue bicycle helmet. I was in fact quite diligent in my preparation. Me and The Duchess woke up bright and early and I had a pot of porridge to warm me up before setting off. I even put my jumper in my backpack instead of wearing it so I wouldn’t overheat and spontaneously combust. Despite these preparations I began to wonder if I’d underestimated the immensity of the task at hand…Just as I was struggling to fit Duchess into the tiny lift in my apartment block, I got a Whatsapp message from my dear Workmate saying “dont forget to stretch.” An ominous message to receive indeed. Years of PE lessons, where I was always relegated to the bottom ability group and even my closest friends refused to be my partner due to my complete lack of ability, have taught me that if you have to do stretches before embarking on an adventure then the adventure really isn’t going to be enjoyable. Nevertheless I am at heart an optimistic person so I stretched as hard as I could (and I NEARLY touched my toes during one of the stretches!)

And so we set off!! As we were reaching the outskirts of Seville, my workmate – who I will henceforth refer to as Harriet (because that’s her name) – turned around and asked if I was doing okay. I proudly replied I was doing absolutely fine! I thought to myself, god, this is great. Cycling to work every morning. A bright start to the day. Get the body moving. Awaken your senses. Live a little!

As we reached the edge of town, the cycle lanes stopped. Shortly afterwards the pavement stopped and things began to go downhill. Well, to be more accurate, things began to go uphill. Just outside of Seville there is  a HUGE bridge over a railway track! Its one of those funny things that the bridge does NOT look that big when you’re in a bus….however I would like to confirm that this bridge is far, far bigger and steeper than could possibly ever be necessary. It started out okay but I was going slower and slower, and about halfway up I was moving so slowly that I didn’t know if I was going backwards or forwards. People driving in the other direction contemplated me with great interest. Cars going in the same direction sped past without warning and scared me silly. It was a difficult time.

This was only about 1km of the journey done, and I’m pretty sure the rest of the way was also uphill (though I’m willing to admit that it probably wasn’t and I was just lying to myself). As my knees went up and down on the bicycle peddles I decided to sing some songs to keep my spirits up. I couldn’t think of any songs and ended up rhythmically chanting “Never again. Never again. Never again” as I peddled. It didn’t do much to inspire me.

Eventually we reached La Rinconada. Harriet and I cycled side by side and I had to ask her what day it was. I was terribly surprised when she said it was still Wednesday as it felt like I’d been cycling for days (actual time was 50 minutes). She asked me how I felt and I told her I thought my bottom might have fallen off because I couldn’t feel it anymore. She nodded with understanding.

The last leg of the journey, from La Rinconada to the park, was more pleasant. By the time we arrived I’d recovered a bit and felt quite perky – in fact I felt positively energised. I felt so cheerful I even employed some comic walks as I was traversing the classroom. My colleagues were appalled at what we’d done, and sat us down and made us coffee and toast so we could recover. “You are heroes,” said one of them. I said that Harriet was a hero but I thought I was going to die, and he nodded gravely. To be honest I hoped that I looked as rosy cheeked and wonderful as Harriet did, but when we were heading back home my colleague looked at me with concern and said “Are you cycling in tomorrow as well?”. When I said I might be he frowned. “I’m driving,” he said. “You can text me! I can pick you up! Don’t worry!” It an offer I am feeling inclined to accept…

That’s all for now folks!
xx

Blollings cooks: Easiest ever and most delicious mojito lime cheesecake

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Recipe for the easiest ever and most delicious lime cheesecake, that you can make with almost no cooking equipment.

I love to bake at my parents house where there is a wonderful array of electric gadgets and a variety sizes of baking tins (although there is always the very real risk you’ll nip to the toilet and come back to find the cat sitting in the mixing bowl.) There is also an oven. Here in Spain it seems quite common for people to have no oven at all. In our flat we do have an oven, but its more of a modern décor art piece as it is falling out of its little hole and doesn’t turn on. To replace it we’ve been provided with a free standing grill/oven that plugs into the wall. Me and the grill/oven got off to a bad start because one of the first times I tried to make toast in it, the bread fell down the back and immediately set on fire. This taught me two valuable lessons – firstly, you shouldn’t let the bread fall down the back and secondly it seems that we don’t have a fire alarm…

Obviously not having a fire alarm presumable should be illegal, but so should not having an oven, because what the hell can you bake if you don’t have an oven? The answer, dear readers, is obviously Easiest Ever and Most Delicious Lime Cheesecake. This is a wonderful recipe to make when you’re living abroad because the ingredients are easy to find, you don’t need any equipment and its so delicious all your new friends will think you’re a god.

The recipe is adapted from the Philadelphia website’s Key Lime Cheesecake Pie. I tried to make it more like a mojito by adding rum and mint, and more lime juice.

Some hints and tips…

Be careful when melting the butter because if you get distracted it might go all frothy and smell weird and you’ll have to do it again.
The one piece of equipment that’s hard to find might be a case to make the cheesecake in. You need a 20cm-ish tin. I found some disposable foil cases in the supermarket so I bought them, but equally you could line a large pan with foil and make it in that. If that won’t work, try making the cheesecake in individual glasses or jars, which also looks really fancy.

Easy and delicious mojito lime cheese recipe

Cheesecake
160g Digestive Biscuits
40g butter, melted
250g Philadelphia Original (or any normal cream cheese)
397g tin condensed milk

To flavour
2/3 limes
Rum
Mint leaves

1. Make the base: Bash the biscuits until they are all crumbs. You will need a blunt instrument like a pestle and mortar, rolling pin or a wine bottle. Mix two glugs of rum in with the melted butter. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter mix and press  the mixture down, firmly, into the dish/pan/glasses. You might need a bit more melted butter. Pop the base in the fridge to get nice and FIRM!

2. Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese with the condensed milk. It may take a little while to get rid of lumps, especially if you’re using a fork because you don’t have a whisk or other mixing tool, but it’ll be find with a bit of time. Zest the lemons and juice them, and mix that into the cream cheese along with a couple more glugs of rum…be generous, but don’t be too generous or it’ll all be a bit sloppy.

3. Make the cheesecake: Spoon the cheese mixture on top of the base and put it back in the fridge to set. If you’re short of time you can put it in the freezer, but don’t leave it there too long as it’s hard to eat when completely frozen! Garnish with some fresh mint leaves.

While you’re waiting for it to freeze, obviously you should make yourself several mojitos.

Sourcing these ingredients in Spain:
Some tips for finding cheesecake ingredients in Spain 🙂

Butter – mantequilla (Tulipan is margerine)
Philadelphia Original is sold in most supermarkets, I got the own brand version.
Condensed milk is easy to find and is called leche condensada. You could replace this with whipping cream too (nata para montar)
Limes in Spain are called lima. Now, in some Latin American countries they call limes ‘limon verde’ or even call lemons ‘lima’ so it can get confusing, especially if the fruit shop owner in Spain isn’t Spanish… limes don’t seem to be so common in Seville but I got mine from Mercadona.
Rum – ron. I recommend Negrita because its cheap and good quality.
Mint leaves – mente (or you can use hierbabuena which is sometimes easier to find)

Shopping in Seville: Flea Market, Calle Feria, Seville

Sunny Flea Market, Seville
One thing I never got to do during my last trip to Seville was visit the weekly flea market on Calle Feria. Its held every Thursday morning but, of course, I worked on Thursday mornings so was never free. One Thursday I did unwittingly wonder that way after work, and a little old man who was packing up the last of his stall yelled at me (in English) “YOU’RE TOO LATE GIRL!!!!” and then cackled. I was totally confused because I didn’t know about the market and couldn’t work out what he was referring too…
Well, the first week of these internship programmes is usually spent in a relaxed fashion at lessons and meetings, and we had Thursday morning off. There was generally quite a lot of interest in second hand clothes in the group so we decided to go to the market. Its probably worth mentioning, at this point, that no fewer than TWO people have complimented me on my beautiful eagle fleece since I’ve arrived in Seville. (One other person also told me I looked like her high school chemistry teacher, which I took as a compliment and started extolling the virtues of the garment, until she cut me off with a sharp “Do not try to sell me a fleece.”)
Flea Market, Calle Feria, Seville
Thursday Mornings

This market is about 500% larger than I was expecting. That’s not because its that massive, its because I had really low expectations… but it does go beyond just on Calle Feria onto side streets and across a couple of plazas.
One thing I’ve noticed about second hand clothes in Europe is they are SO much cheaper than in the UK. I think maybe vintage fashion just isn’t quite as widely accepted here…anyway there were tables covered in clothes at the market for 1 or 2 euros each. There was also a lot of books, junk, old cameras, stones and jewels, (presumably stolen) bicycles, light fittings, vintage toys, bits of crap…. basically everything you’d ever want! Here are some snaps…
Creepy dolls and fur coats, aka everything you’ve ever wanted.
Miscellaneous random electronics

An old man after my own heart rifles through some bargains
One thing I’ve noticed about second hand clothes in Europe is they are SO much cheaper than in the UK. I think maybe vintage fashion just isn’t quite as widely accepted here…anyway there were tables covered in clothes at the market for 1 or 2 euros each. There was also a lot of books, junk, old cameras, stones and jewels, (presumably stolen) bicycles, light fittings, vintage toys, bits of crap…. basically everything you’d ever want!
I got myself a couple of pairs of jeans for work (1 euro a pop). Then I wandered down through the stalls and found THE most incredible bag EVER. The reason I like it a lot is because it has a felt sunshine sewn onto it and the sunshine is smiling at me quizically, like its an old friend! I was expecting it to cost about 10 euros but it was TWO! Bargain of my life. Not only that but I treated myself to a four volume illustrated Spanish/English/Basque dictionary. They are the heaviest things ever. I have no idea how I’ll get them back home. But I mean for 2 euros for the lot you literally have to be crazy to walk away!! I haven’t worn the bag yet because I can’t decide if it clashes in a good way or a bad way with the rainbow fleece…
Super Happy Wonderful Sunshine Mexican Rainbow Bag
Second hand and thrift shopping in Seville

Calle Feria is basically the place to go in Seville for second hand clothes. There are a couple of overpriced Vintage shops, but there are also a couple of gems. Look out for the antique shop that has a rail of clothes outside… if you go into the back everything hung up is 2 euros and everything on the table is 1. My friend (her blog is here) got two good quality ankle length, camel coloured coats from there for 2 euros each.
Seville’s charity shop (the only one we ever found…) is called Humana and there’s one on Calle Feria and on Mendez Pelayo. 

Me, Myself and my bike

Dear friends/family/fans,

Today has been in important day in my personal development. This afternoon, I waddled into town and bought myself a bicycle. I bought my bicycle second hand, and when I bought it, I also bought a bicycle lock (to protect the bicycle) and a helmet (to protect my gorgeous face) and thrown in with the package I got a free bell! My bicycle is pink and white so that everybody who sees me riding it knows I’m a girl. My helmet is blue, because even though my I have a pink bicycle, I’m not girly. My bell as a bunny rabbit on it so I don’t get lonely on my long cycle rides!!

I bought my bicycle at the same time as my New Friend. Apparently in Seville there is a massive flea market where you can buy very cheap bicycles that have been stolen off people. I didn’t want any bad karma as I’ve only just arrived in Spain, so we stuck to our morals and went to a real shop where they had all sorts of wonderful bicycles that we assume aren’t stolen. After shopping my New Friend cycled home and I had to stay in town. I was too scared to ride my bicycle at that point, so I wheeled it down the street with my blue helmet hanging off the handle and a smile on my face. I propped it up against a wall and took a photo to send to my fans. When I met a friend for coffee, I kept my bicycle close by the table, tucked safely away so nobody could hurt it. I love my new bicycle.

I have really big plans about how good I’m going to be at cycling. Soon I hope to cycle to work – to the shops – to the bars – even back home to England! After coffee I walked it down to the river. By the river there a big green strips painted on the road and these are called bicycle lanes and you’re only allowed on them if you are cycling. You can tell because they have pictures of white bicycles painted on them (like my bicycle except mine is white AND pink). (Actually, confusingly, at some points the cycle lanes have pictures of wheelchairs as well, and when you think about it wheelchairs and bikes go at quite different speeds usually). Now I have a bicycle I’m allowed on the cycle lanes too!!! The cycle lanes are smooth and straight, so I put on my cycle helmet and I hoiked my leg over the bike and I put my feet on the pedals and OFF I WENT! Cycling GODDESS!!

I haven’t ridden a bike for ages but I remembered exactly what to do because its just like riding a bike! The sun was shining through the trees above me, and glinting against the river, and my hair was streaming behind me in the pleasant Sevillian breeze. Well, it would have been if the helmet hadn’t stuck it all to my head. Soon I was practically flying down the cycle lane, a young adventuress soaring through Seville ready to take on the world! I decided to name my bicycle THE DUCHESS because when I was riding her I felt like a royal family member aboard her strong new steed! I was a modern day Knight! When I had to turn a corner, I did it deftly. Deftly! I’ve never done anything deftly in my life!

As I got closer to home I nearly got hit by a car, so I started walking it again. “This,” I thought to myself, “is the first time I’ve ever really owned something with wheels.” (Which isn’t technically true but when you’re in a romantic mood you just let your mind take you wherever it wants). “Thousands of years ago when men (and women) where hunched in caves somebody invented the WHEEL and we all became MILLIONAIRES!! This is my first vehicle! A doorway into a new world where I laugh at those fools walking around with their feet!” It was so joyful. I spied more of my new friends on their balcony opposite my flat so I marched my bicycle (aka THE DUCHESS) over to show her off and receive compliments.

Now, my new flatmate introduced me to a new approach to life which is thus: when you experience extreme joy and elation, it is shortly followed by depression and anguish. Regular fans will know I’ve already had a week with limited gas, internet and electricity, so I kind of thought perhaps I got the depressed bit first and now was my time for pure elation! However, this was not to be. Intimate friends of mine will be well acquainted with a really fun quirk of mine where I am able to lose phones at a rate that is so unbelievable people think I’m doing it on purpose. It was just as I was showing off my new bicycle that I realised that, in all the excitement, I had YET AGAIN lost phone.

It’s all the bloody bike’s fault. If I’d never set eyes on its horrible pink metal body I’d never have lost it, I’ve been so careful since I lost my last mobile phone 1.5 months ago!!! Why do bad things happen to good people!?!?! Now I’m phoneless and all I have to show for it is a bicycle, which might be able to get me into town a bit quicker but it can’t send Snapchats to my friends in England when I wake up with a really impressive amount of double chins, can it!? CAN IT!?

I still like the bike though. OBVIOUSLY I can’t post any photos but one thing I will never lose is my artisitc talent and passion for Microsoft Paint! Here and an artist’s impression of the bike. I call it “The Duchess on a Sunny Day next to her Blue Helmet”

I didn’t draw myself on the bicycle because I’m still crying about my phone.
Well, that’s how for now!! And remember kids, you don’t need a phone to be happy as long as you’ve got your health and a positive outlook.
Hasta pronto xx

IMPORTANT INFO if you also want a BIKE:
Where can I buy a bike/hire in Seville for a short term basis?
I got my bicycle from Rebiciclate  (Calle Peris Mencheta) just between Calle Feria and the Alameda de Hercules. If you’re only in Seville for a short time (eg. a semester) then you can buy a bike from there and if you keep the receipt, at the end of your trip they will buy it back for half the price you paid. You just have to bloody hope the bike doesn’t get stolen. Their cheapest bikes are 60 euros, we got locks for 10 and a helmet for 20. They’re very friendly and helpful and they have some beautiful vintage bikes.

For stolen bikes head to the flea markets on other side of the river on Saturdays and Sundays. Its important to get a good bike lock so your bike doesn’t get stolen….AND GET A HELMET KIDS!

Highly recommended by many people is the Sevicci bike scheme, where you can get a card and use the public bikes for free for 30 minutes. I chose against this because I might need the bike outside of Seville. 🙂

How to get to Ikea from Seville

You’ve just arrived in Seville in the deep mid-winter and all you’ve been given is a flanelette sheet and an extremely long pillow? Do you love bargains? Go to Ikea!

IKEA IN SEVILLE!!!!!

How to get to Ikea from Seville

Its not difficult to get to Ikea on public transport from Seville. You need to get the bus from Plaza de Armas. The M160 Sevilla-Gines goes every 20 minutes or so and
it takes about 15 minutes. If you’re not sure then ask at the Information Desk in Plaza de las Armas and they’re pretty helpful. Sit near the front and ask the driver to tell you when you get to IKEA (I said something like “quiero llegar a IKEA” and he told me the stop). Its right next to Aire Sur.

From the bus stop, you need to walk back up the road and to the roundabout and go right, up the hill. You’ll soon see IKEA looming up ahead. Remember, Sevillian people are really helpful so if you’re confused ask somebody else on the bus. Also remember no matter how good your intentions are, when you go to IKEA you will spend more than you intended to. I spent double.

To come back just wait at the bus stop on the opposite side of the road to where you arrived. The M160 is pretty regular, but if not there are a few buses that head back to Seville.

Shops like Ikea in Seville

If you don’t want to make he trek here are some more central options:

Tiger, just off Calle Tetuán (near Zara): has IKEA style layout. DEFINITELY Nordic or something. And sells a lot of quirky homeware and stationary, things like mirrors, jewellery stands and drawing pins. This is a GREAT place!

So called “chinos” are large bazaar-style supermarkets owned by Chinese people- but instead of selling food, they are absolutely stuffed with every object a human could ever need. They’re like Ebay in a shop. They are all over Seville and have kitchenware, blankets, heaters etc. For some things they are very cheap.

There are a couple of Carrefour supermarkets that have loads of stuff – the one just outside the Macarena has everything from porridge oats to double beds, mountain bikes, kettles and bath mats.

GOOD LUCK!

Xox

Christmas shopping in Seville: Mucho Más Ke Market

Mucho Más Ke Market, Sevilla
Christmas shopping while you’re abroad can be a biiiiit stressful, especially when you’re like me and you find picking an ice cream flavour a terrible ordeal, meaning that picking gifts for other people is an experience more harrowing than the Hunger Games. Additionally is the major problem that everything you buy has to fit in your luggage to go home, which is particularly concerning seeing as when I came out to Seville my luggage was already 3kg over. My good friend here the other day was like, “I don’t understand how you were over the limit!” This was probably in reference to the fact I wear the same clothes every. single. day. I really  blame the huge amount of moisturiser I have to lug around with me. 
However, Seville actually has a wealth of wonderful shopping opportunities, and I decided I may as well try to enjoy the shopping experience. So yoday i went waddling over to the other side of town to visit the “Mucho Más K Market” market, which opened in Seville today. Its meant to be an alternative to the average Christmas market. Seville is a pretty traditional place, but there is also a bit of a bohemian vibe here and there and there are a lot of young artists and craftspeople around and about.
The market hall is full of scaffolding so you feel like you’re in the middle of a get-in at a theatre. The scaffolding is full of plants, which makes you feel like you’re in the last section of IKEA where they sell bamboo and vases. Overall its a very pleasing effect. Its not a massive place but there’s a small bunch of stalls selling your average alternative crafts, like quirky silver jewellery and indie illustrations printed onto every day items. Some things are slightly overpriced but I did buy a couple of things which MUST REMAIN SECRET as they may or may not be Christmas Presents!!!
My colleague told me about the market. If she hadn’t, I don’t think I ever would have found it. Its not signposted and its almost impossible to find (mainly because its in Seville, and everything in Seville I’d impossible to find!) If you want to go then I suggest you head to the indoor market on Calle  Feria. If you’re coming from the mushroom, turn right just before that market. You’ll end up on called arrayàn and the market is on the right.
#christmasshopping
#hohoho

Flamenco Nights: El Museo del Baile Flamenco, Sevilla

We decided to go to a flamenco show at the Flamenco Museum during VIP´s visit to Seville because one of my (many, many) mates works there. For a while he’d been telling us the show was really good, but I was wary of forcing VIP to go as you have to pay entry. But in the end, we thought it was a good cultural experience and couldn’t be too bad…

The museum is the only one dedicated to flamenco in the world, and every night they have one or two performances. I’d been walking around all day and was suffering from what-I-call-a-life-threateningly-awful hangover, so I’d say my enthusiasm for the concert was LOW. Even so, when we arrived the space was so atmospheric I decided I better make the most of it and treated myself to large white wine. The museum is more modern than I’d expected, and the stage is in the centre of an indoor patio, surrounded by traditional arches. The audience sit around the stage so that wherever you are its very intimate.
They described the show as “Flamenco Moments”, and I suppose its like a beginner’s guide as it was very accesible and showcased a lot of different aspects of flamenco. There are lots of different types, but generally flamenco involves a guitarist and a singer, who clap and stamp rhytms along to the music, and then a dancer (usually female). Like most folk music, the songs and dances tell stories. When I first heard it, the voice really reminded me of Indian or Arabic music, as its very influenced by Andalcia’s arabic history. 
They have different performers every night, and I don’t know if we were just very lucky, but they were fantastic. The guitarrist, Diego Franco, did a solo in the middle of the show where he sat alone on stage, in the spotlight, and played some traditional Spanish guitar. Now this is going to sound a wee bit over-dramatic, but I literally had tears in my eyes because it was so good. It was just so emotive! The whole style of flamenco seems to really capture emotion and then express it. I was amazed by the female dancer, Rocio Alcaide, who didn’t smile when she was dancing but looked like she was suffering some terrible trauma while she stamp-stamped her wooden shoes on the floor. It. was. amazing.
 We were all taken by complete shock, and were on the edge of our seats for the whole thing. I’m now so keen to learn more about flamenco and see more of it live. The museum has a mainly tourist audience, and I would like to see a show with Spanish audiences as I know they are much more vocal during the dances. This is definitely a must-see in Seville; I felt like I got a glimpse into the soul of the city.
The performers we saw were Diego Franco, Rocio Alcaide, Jorge Canastero and Juan Polvillo,