While I was at my conference, Kat got out for some adventures of her own. Follow along!
There is a small bar on the corner of our street where we decided to have our daily tostada and coffee. The local bread is like a ciabatta which is light and soft with a great crunch once toasted. The perfect fuel for a day of work. After walking Colin to the conference, I headed back to the apartment. After a highly productive morning I emerged around 2 pm in search of food and sunshine. Recognizing that my Spanish is nonexistent and seeking a patient waitstaff, I headed toward the touristy cathedral neighborhood.
I’ve seen a lot of churches over the years and there are very few I feel especially drawn to or impressed by – the interior of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona being a notable exception. But there is something about the sprawling, gangly, drippy exterior of the Cathedral of Seville that I find utterly charming. The weird knobs, bumps and arches cast weird shadows and build complex negative spaces. It’s a view that changes with every step around the exterior. There is also a colony of green parrots living in the exterior walls which is equally delightful.
More interested in the view than the food, I walked the café lined streets around the cathedral in search of an empty table. A quiet “organic café” had an open table. I enjoyed a gorgeous mozzarella & arugula salad and a banana almond smoothie while a band serenaded tourists for tips. Rejuvenated from the much-needed snack, I wandered into the Cathedral to look around. In reflection of its title of largest gothic cathedral in the world, the interior is a network of connected chapels and smaller rooms. The interior could best be described as “A Lot.” Visitors look like ants walking among the gigantic columns and every surface is gilded and carved. Mahogany faces, marble facades, and red velvet clash in a sensory overload. I most enjoyed staring upward at the vaulted arches and intricate carved plaster over the nave. Deciding to go without a guide, I also enjoyed exploring every corridor and discovering where I would pop out into the main room again. After being confident that no (publicly accessible) nook had gone unchecked, I headed back home for work.
Monday night was also our food tour. We met up with Carlos, our tour guide, around 7pm. He was absolutely delightful – a biologist by training, he fell in love with Ecuador while studying there and decided to start a travel company which leads tours to Ecuador (and Morocco). He does food tours a few days a week to practice his skills. Our group including a Dutch guy, a couple Brits, a guy from Sweden, and four folks from the US. Carlos took us to a bunch of neighborhood tapas places. It wasn’t a Malaysian stuffed-silly kind of tour, but instead just a nice chance to chat, learn about how Spaniards socialize, and enjoy a gorgeous evening.
Another morning began with our corner café and walk to the conference center. The day started misty and cold so I knew I would not be venturing out again until the end of the workday. I took the opportunity to walk the pedestrian path along the river as my route home. My goal was to enjoy the graffiti and street art along the trail. Generally, the works were dated 2021/2 and the quality increased with proximity to the bridges. I enjoyed a leisurely stroll back to the apartment.
For lunch I decided to head back to the neighborhood we visited on the food tour. It was a little too early for the kitchens to be open at the place where I planned to eat so I had a café con leche at a table near the church. The church sits a few feet lower than the rest of the street which has risen over time as every inevitable flood deposits its sediment load. Hunger eventually drove me back to the café where I hoped to have lunch. After much awkwardness on my part I eventually ordered food and enjoyed puppy TV while I ate. A light rain accompanied me back to the apartment where I finished out the workday. We ended the evening with a long walk and fancy restaurant dinner – the highlight of which was Torijas for dessert (of course).