Blog Entry #3
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
What a weekend! It’s a bummer that I had to wait until now to write about it, but with everything that went on, I barely even had time to sleep.
I was nervous Thursday, although the afternoon was pretty uneventful. I went to the Plaza Carmen Benitez at lunch with my friend Erika to sit and make some observations, as a part of an assignment for our Cultura y Civilización class. Kids from the school had returned to their classrooms and started playing instruments, and so we didn’t see much activity other than the occasional pigeon swaggering by or a person sitting at a nearby bench. There were, however, a lot of tables set up in front of a stage, all of which had been set up the night before for a three-day period of festivities, which led up to a holiday known as Día de las Canarias. The plaza really came alive later that night, when I returned with Alfonso to have a drink and watch a few performances. Even as I took notes, my stomach fluttered every now and then. I had a date with Rachel Steinberg, a girl I met at the hotel before classes had started. We started talking, and finally in the middle of last week we set up a date for drinks. The first week in Spain, we had gone to watch the flamenco dance at a bar just behind our hotel, and we sat together the entire time. I felt myself opening up to her, and it was easy to laugh and be myself around her. I felt grateful, unconcerned, sanguine.
We met at 10:30 and walked to Bar Pilar, talking about the past few days and laughing about silly things. I bought her two drinks, and we talked for over an hour about our history, our classes, and our hopes for the future. After, we wandered the streets of Sevilla for another hour, and I walked Rachel home just after 1. Even though I had a good time, I felt like something had failed to click, and I walked home on sore feet, wondering if I had slipped up somewhere along the way.
Saturday we went to Córdoba, a beautiful city of Andalucía about two hours to the northeast of Sevilla. We crossed the Roman bridge, and the murky waters of the Guadalquivir, though inert, added to the charm of the view. We first visited the Great Mosque, a beautiful Moorish cathedral with great arches and gorgeously golden prayer niches. There were also minarets and religious figures, and outside the sahn or open courtyard was interspersed with trees. For the first time, I was much more interested in taking everything in with my own senses, rather than through the lens of a camera. Stories of centuries past were all around us.
Next, we walked through narrow streets, where the windows of buildings were adorned with flowers. This Calleja de Las Flores was a great mixture of the solidity of architecture with the tranquility of nature. From here we travelled to the synagogue of Córdoba, a humble little building constructed by the Mudéjar people in 1315. It also had a separate viewing gallery, where women had to remain while the men worshipped in the prayer room. Though the synagogue was smaller than I expected, I still enjoyed it a lot.
More about the weekend tomorrow.