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Trip Report Chapter 3 Dos Hermanas on a train in Spain - Down South in Sunny Seville

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Down South in Sunny Seville…
Packed up and ready to roll we bid a fond farewell to Alisa at the Hostal Alexis, it’s been a great time in Madrid…a short taxi ride to the Atocha rail station on the city out skirt where we are to take the AVE fast train to Seville, 534km down south. We board the sleek ‘duckbill’ fast train that whisks us to our destination in a mere 2 ½ hours at speeds up to 280km/hr…amazing…cafeteria/kiosk on board and comfortable seats with tray tables so I can type as I travel..:)
The taxi delivers us to the Barro St Cruz, a tiny picturesque square bordered by a leafy canopy of beautiful orange trees heavy with the famous seville orange fruit…sigh….our apartment on the first floor up a tiny spiral staircase overlooks the leafy square with 2 juliet balconies from our living room…we wait some time for the tardy landlady to meet us with keys, the sun is out and we are ready for lunch….after a chat with her we are grateful we did not arrive 2 weeks ago when an unseasonable burst of summer weather here bought with it 40C + temperatures, ,,,it was too hot to go outdoors until 8pm at night!! A mild 23C today is perfect weather and the winter uniform is now in the washing machine…we wander through the cutesy ancient quarter with tiny narrow streets called ‘kissing lanes’ because the walls almost touch…there are delicious smells of calamari and garlic wafting in the air and the bland semi toasted sandwich we bought on the train is best forgotten…every turn opens up to pretty leafy squares with tables sprawling onto cobblestone pavements from the cafes and bars, it’s a snapshot you want to keep in your memory for always… we can’t walk past the second square we come across and sit down and enjoy a fresh pate with deliciouso agar jelly and toasts and an assortment of croquettas – codfish, spinach and jamon all washed down with a vino blanc…we take some time to just soak up the wonderful ambience. A wander after lunch and lose ourselves in the Barro and that’s the best way to go, although it’s driving Rosie’s mental GPS mad, she’s the navigator… We stop for a coffee in front of the cathedral, the place is teeming with touristos and we both agree that you wouldn’t want to be here in the summer…the city bakes then and you would be fighting for a table…
Home for a rest and to hang out the washing…at 7.30pm it’s probably time to go out and forage for food so we settle for pre dinner drinks in another tiny square and mojitos are the order of the day…so delicious with freshly pounded mint, a specialty of the area. While we sit and while away the time, there is a pounding of drums and brass and a procession of children appears from one of the streets into the square, scores of little girls all dressed in frilly popsicle coloured flamenco dresses with flowers in their hair…it appears to be some holy procession they are all holding long tapered candles and the boys are carrying a floral stretcher of holy icons. It’s a spectacle and a great photo op..:) Once the parade has past we return to our ‘favourite’ square and enjoy a leisurely dinner of pig’s cheeks and chicken stuffed with pistachio and date with sautéed veges…nice to have a meat and veg meal rather than the standard tapas bits and pieces…it’s sublime sitting out underneath that orange tree canopy with guitars serenading us from somewhere in the distance…
We have kept Spanish time with dinner at 930pm and are ready to tuck in once we finish the bottle of wine…retracing our steps to the Barro de Santa Cruz and home, a lovely surprise awaits us as we come across a party in full swing in a tiny intersection of streets, colourful embroidered shawls are hung from the windows overlooking the cobblestoned space and strings of brightly coloured paper lanterns and paper flowers are strung from wall to wall,,,it’s a mini fiesta…there are tables and chairs and the enthusiastic crowd are being entertained by young girls dressed in traditional costumes dancing flamenco on a mini stage….they are mesmerizing to watch, with sensuous moves and expressive hands and wonderfully detailed costumes and accessories…the loud music follows us to our apartment not far from the festivities and goes on well into the night…thankfully the leisurely pace of this tour will allow us a sleep in tomorrow, no point in early rising around here with the relaxed hours the Sevillians keep!!