Dee Rogers

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16 October 2008 – Sevilla

Day 2 in any town/city we have been to always seems fresher, better, more relaxed, more interesting. It is hard to define exactly what it seems. In Sevilla, the temp is warmer and the pace relaxed as we head out for coffee and toast. Our intention is to visit Real Alcazar, a complex of gardens and palaces/ buildings with Moorish influenced architecture and design. A leisurely stroll through the Jardins … and we eventually find the Alcazar.

The ramparts of R. Alcazar literally tower before us, the simple arches beckoning one to enter a small courtyard. Once through the ticket office the scale of the buildings, the intricacy of the facades and tile work, the uncanny design and layout that afford glimpses of other spaces yet to be fully appreciated. With much oohing and aahing we wander through its amazing complex and the many photos I take will never be just representation to what we experience today.

Another highlight is the palm tree pruner. With rope and machete he is at the top of a palm that is perhaps 25 metres high hacking away at seed pods and dead fronds. The gardens are full of palms he has already trimmed with plenty to go. Some of the palms are pencil thin and ever so tall – what a job.

In the final room as we exit the palace there is an exhibition of modern art, the first modern painting we have seen. Finally a respite from the religious iconography that covers every wall. We have been on our feet for long enough and beer and water are required. Dee continues to search for salad, a concept the Spanish either butcher, ignore or perhaps it is not appetising. We have not been able to work out why the Spanish simply can’t get it together when it comes to fresh fruit and veg in their diet. Today is no different. We give up. After a dodgy sandwich, good mango smoothy (even if I did order melon) and a rest we head out in search of modern art via tourist info.

Through the back streets we wind our way to the Museo des Belles Artes only to find art dating from the early 16C. Painting after painting depicting the crucifixion, baptism or ascenscion with the odd sprinkling of Jean Baptista, Santaigo and Santa Maria con el nino. The Spanish have had a strange habit of depicting these events and including Spanish figures variously dressed in a style of clothing that would not have existed until some 1500 years after the death of Christ. A weird juxtaposition of biblical events with a modern Spanish flavour. excellent workmanship of course but very limited subject matter and probably reflecting the socio-religious expectations of the day.

Finally, in Sala XIV we find painting of the early 20C. The initial move away from detailed form to impressionist work is very refreshing and beautiful. The 1920 and 30’s however is marked by dark, humourless figures and black backgrounds, a reflection of Spanish politics and society at the time. These few 20C works promise much. Where is all the other work from this period? Dee wonders if the artists and their work survived the political unrest in Spain in the first half of the 20C.

We decide on a fresh home made dinner in the gardens. So off to the supermarket for some food and wine and we picnic in the beautiful gardens where everyone is out and about enjoying the balmy evening. A dog comes by and drops his ball in the little fountain in front of us just so he has an excuse to lie in it and retrieve the ball – a brief flash of life at home.

Categories:   Spain 2008, Travel

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