Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sunday in Sevilla

Day 1: Flight to Spain and first evening in Seville
Day 2: Sunday in Seville
Day 3: Monday at the Alcazar
Day 4: Huelva

Sleeping Saturday night for the first time in about 36 hours, we awoke at the crack of noon.  Fortunately, that was about the extent of our jet lag for the week.

We met up with our friends again at Prado San Sebastian.  When you travel with your kids and you don't go to Disneyland, you have to incorporate some of this:


We had planned to go to a restaurant for lunch but instead shopped for a picnic and ate on the steps of the Plaza de Espana, a relatively new building at just under 100 years old.  Mostly cheese,  jamon iberico (sliced dried ham which is the national food), some bread, and bacon-flavored Ruffles, which are also very popular.

Ken said I would recognize the Plaza de Espana from one of the Star Wars movies.  I didn't because the only Star Wars movie I've seen is Star Wars, and it wasn't in that.

Later we walked back to the Juderia and visited one of the smaller churches there.  I can't remember what it is called.  I am by no means a church expert, but I believe it would have been considered large just about anywhere else.

Stopped for coffee.  Unlike France and Italy, you don't have to pay extra to sit.  Just about anywhere we went, a beverage is 1 to 1.5 euros, including tax and service.  Tips are not expected, but it is customary and polite to round the bill up to the next Euro.

Early evening, our friends left to go back to Huelva, an hour west of Sevilla, where they are living this year.

That evening we decided to go back to Triana, where our friends had been staying, for dinner, because it seemed to have a lot of restaurants.  We decided to take the subway and got off where I thought Triana, but clearly we found ourselves in a much less happening neighborhood.  We walked around looking for something and finally settled on a place not because it looked particularly appetizing, but because Nancy and the kids were getting hungry. We had more tapas and shared a "parillada" in which they brought a small bbq grill to the table and we were able to grill our own meat, which of course was pork.  It was pretty good considering the place was basically a bar, but the restaurant wasn't especially memorable.  I think dinner cost about 30 Euros all in.

Took a taxi back to the apartment and went to bed.

Observations on Spanish Cuisine

After about a day and a half, it was clear that anyone who keeps kosher or halal to any extent at all, or is a vegetarian, will find Andalucia to be a challenging place to eat.  The Spanish seem to eat pork at just about every meal.  I found this to be somewhat surprising, considering the 500-year presence of Muslims and Jews in the area.  Except for Granada, I found no evidence of Moroccan or Middle-Eastern influence in cuisine at all.  Vegetables seem to be an afterthought, and salads usually cost more than meat dishes, so they are often skipped.

Breakfast at a cafe usually consists of cafe con leche and a healthy-sized baguette, topped with something, either cheese, butter, jamon Iberico, or a generous scoop of pate.  All this for about 2 to 2.5 Euros, all-inclusive, so the four of us could usually get out for 10 Euros and sometimes less.    If you are in the mood for something else, they can sometimes fry up some fresh churros for you instead of the bread, for about the same price.

Lunch is usually around 2:00 pm, and can often be a luxurious meal in a restaurant.  (Actually, I'm sure many people eat at home, but we didn't eat in anyone's home during our entire trip.)  People eat heartily and often enjoy wine with lunch.  This is of course the land of the siesta, so people nap before going back to work.  

Dinner is famously late - restaurants don't even open until 8:30 pm.  We usually had tapas and shared.  
I asked Abi (age 13) what time she usually goes to bed.  She said on a weeknight, around 10 or 11 pm, and on the weekends, 2am is not unusual.  It sounds late, but if you sleep for an hour or two in the late afternoon, you aren't really sleeping any less.

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