Monday, January 21, 2008

Reign in Spain 3

Well week 1 is out of the way now. On Friday at 2.00pm, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and took the bus into the heart of Seville. The weather definitely took a significant turn for the better temperature-wise on Friday. I trudged on foot to the Plaza de España, around the beautiful Parque de María Luisa and on over to the Cathedral Quarter. The cathedral has the world famous Giralda bell tower. This is an interesting relic of the Moorish period in Spain's history. The main part of the Giralda and the Patio de los Naranjos (the orange tree patio) are all that remains of Seville's mosque. I went up the Giralda. I normally steer clear of towers in cathedrals because I have a bit of a fear of stairs/heights and claustrophobia. I don't like flights of winding stairs. It's not so much the climbing up but the coming down. I remember going to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Gaudi's great unfinished masterpiece. Being a modern cathedral, you can go up most of the way in a lift. Feeling confident in the newness of the building I thought I was able to go down using the stairs. I was OK until I reached a point where the stairs just became a basic spiral and very little to hang on to. His Lordship tried to coax me down but I was having nothing of it. I RAN back up as fast as my little legs could carry me and took the lift. Well on Friday I thought I would give the Giralda a go and discovered to my surprise that it is ramps all the way up. I wouldn't describe it as accessible to the disabled but it was a darn sight easier than stairs. Seems legend has it that the Moors rode up there on horseback. Once up on the balcony, you have wonderful panoramic views of Seville.

Back at the Colegio Mayor, we have developed something of a tradition, coming together for tea most afternoons. Thankfully, one smart cookie thought to bring a cheapo kettle with her - well, I don't think the Spanish know what a kettle is! The Colegio is a wonderful house. On Sunday we discovered that off the main patio is a door which leads out to a beautiful garden. Well, I say garden, it is really a fully fledged park. Seems the house was the ancestral seat of the Conde de Guzman.

Back into school today and I discover that, not only is the teacher off again but there is another student from the University of Seville who has been placed in my class. Not wildly impressed by that. Especially since she insisted on yapping to me all the way through the morning, even though the teacher was trying to take the lesson. This afternoon in English, it was a laugh. There was the teacher, the language assistant, me, the new student and my buddy in the one class. Mad...

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