The sun surely did get its hat back on. For reference, it’s been hot enough to get an accidental sunglasses tan when eating lunch outside. That was a look, I can tell you. But the sun wasn’t the only thing to bring warmth to my life these past few weeks – I got to see the sunshiney face of my wonderful Mum, in the flesh! Last year, she sent me snow boots and woolly socks in the post when Sheffield transformed into one giant ice rink during the winter. This year, she shipped herself off to Spain when I was feeling a bit homesick. There is no greater care package than a hug from Mum, that’s for sure.
It was such a treat to be able to point out all the little bits and bobs that have previously just made me smile to myself. Like the smell of jasmine and orange blossom trees, made more fragrant in the heat of the sun. Or that specific tile on that particular building that really compliments the colour of the brick. Or passing the speed-walker dude in his lycra and sweatbands on my way to uni at exactly the same time each morning. And of course I had to take her to all my favourite places. We did the Alcázar, roaming through it’s ornate rooms and peaceful gardens and stopping for a coffee and a pastry in the shade of the lemon trees. We visited Plaza de España, watching the boats float up and down the moat and sipping Sangria to ‘get our sugars up’. We ate plenty of tapas, ticking off (and adding a few) places to my ‘list of the best places to eat in Sevilla’.
But we also did quite a few new things too. I finally went inside the cathedral after weeks of gawping at it from the outside. And boy is she beautiful. The best bit, though, was definitely La Giralda, the cathedral’s bell tower. You can climb 70 meters all the way to the top (our calves definitely got a work out that day) to be rewarded with a panoramic view of the whole city. It was breathtaking. And because we couldn’t get enough of this high (pun definitely intended), we also climbed the Metropol Parasol aka ‘Las Setas’ (meaning ‘mushrooms’) which is the largest wooden structure in the world or so I’m told. It actually does look like a mushroom when you approach it from the street, which doesn’t exactly go with the romantic vibes of the rest of Sevilla. But then you reach the top and the wooden curves perfectly frame all that the city has to offer, especially if you get up there at sunset.
It was a dreamy weekend, and just what I needed. And the visitors didn’t end there. A couple of friends stopped by on their tour of Europe and we had so much fun. As massive foodies, we planned our week around where we were going to eat, which is never a bad thing in my book. We munched our way through all the Spanish classics – paella, tortilla, montaditos, churros y chocolate, tapas – and we ended the week with very happy bellies. One place we tried is such a favourite with the locals that even a cockroach wanted to sit with us and tell us all about it. I guess that’s what they call ‘rustic’, right? I also took them up Las Setas to enjoy a drink as we watched the sun set because I clearly couldn’t get enough of dem views. Time with friends, playing cards, eating good food…what more could you want?
I was a very busy bee last week with lots of visitors to my hive and lots of time spent exploring the city. So over the weekend, I decided to take a day trip the coast to breathe in some sea air and get a change of scenery. Me and a friend caught the train down to a very blustery Cádiz on Saturday morning which took us little over an hour and a half. We climbed up not one but two more towers and I very much enjoyed, yep you guessed it, those panoramic views. We had tostada in the sun, fresh fish from the food market, and the biggest boquerones fritos (fried anchovies) I ever did see for lunch. There’s nothing quite like spending a day near the sea, hearing the waves crash on the rocks and letting the salty air whip through your hair. I was blissfully sleepy on the train home – the sign of a good day! It was a beautiful little city, and I’m so glad that it’s not far from here. I definitely would go back!
But for now, I’m back at Uni getting on with normal day to day life; nodding at lectures that I don’t fully understand, laughing when everybody else does because clearly somebody said something funny, and trying to say a full sentence that isn’t punctuated with too many ‘ummms’ and ‘errrs’. Oh, the life of a language learner. There’s never a dull day…