10.4.12

Where Lawrence of Arabia asked for lemonade

You may recall the scene from David Lean´s film, when Lawrence of Arabia walks into the Officer's Club in Cairo accompanied by his Arab servant, Ferraj and orders two large glasses of lemonade. Well, that scene was filmed in Seville, in the Plaza de España. This square has also featured in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. But Seville, is much more than a set for film locations. Let´s start by saying that Seville is not one city, it is in fact two, Seville and Triana across the Guadalquivir river, with a certain degree of competition between them. However, as a foreigner you will be forgiven for not taking sides.
Seville has always had a special allure for other Europeans and it is somewhat ironic that the city owes much of its international recognition to, amongst others, Bizet´s Carmen, adapted from the novel of Prosper Mérimée; and Mozart´s The Marriage of Figaro based on a play by Beaumarchais, who aso wrote The Barber of Seville.
There is plenty to do and see in Seville and if you go in April you will catch the Feria de Abril, a fair held every year for five days in April, and that this year runs from the 24th to the 29th. The whole city celebrates this festivity and many locals dress in typical flamenco dress. The best way to enjoy the fair is to pop into a few of the more than 1000 casetas (huts) where people dance, drink and eat. Unfortunately, entry into a lot of the casetas is by invitation only, but there are plenty of others where you can get into and have a feel for the fair. One of the drinks most favoured during the fair is sherry, mainly dry sherry in the varieties of fino and manzanilla (not to be confused with chamomile tea also known as manzanilla).
On the sightseeing front, the Cathedral with the remains of Columbus; La Giralda, which is the name by which the bell tower of the Cathedral is known; El Alcázar, from the 8th Century, the oldest of the European palaces still in use; the tower known as Torre del Oro and the Archivo de Indias which was built to keep all the official records regarding Spain's colonies in America and the Orient. I have already mentioned the Plaza de España, built for the Iberoamerican Exhibition of 1929 and besides it, the park Parque de María Luisa.
In between you will walk around the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarters and cross the bridge of Triana to arrive at the other Seville or Triana, the cradle of flamenco, sevillanas, and where the processions of Semana Santa (Easter) are followed with devotion.


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