Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22nd: Sunday among the tourists

Sunday turned out to be sort of a knock around day roaming streets we’d been to before, covering sections that were off our previously beaten path and visiting the site of the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. The day began with a stop at our new favorite Local Coffee Shop on the Cathedral square, Cafe Milagrito - “little miracles.” Unbeknownst to us, there was a morning floor show, three young men and a young woman, dressed to the nines at 10 in the morning, clearly coming off a long night of partying. One was responsible, trying to keep the loud drunk one in line. She was trying to blend into the background and the 3 boy was sound asleep at the table. In Latin America, I suppose they’d be called “hidalgos”, the compressed version of hijo de algo, or “son of someone.” The designated driver was having a bit of a hard time with the drunk, who was alternating between singing and laughing out loud at their sleeping friend whom they decided to abandon, wandering off down the street but stopping to look back every 5 yards or so, occasionally calling his name. Loudly. Eventually the drunk came back, stood next to the sleeper and yelled until he woke up. We clapped and the drunk looked pretty stunned. I tipped my coffee cup in honor of his stupidity. They left and so did we.

From there it was hither and yon with no particular purpose. The triad of Roman columns mentioned previously were a nice, as were many of the less traveled streets in the northern part of the old city.

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From there it was hither and yon with no particular purpose. The triad of Roman columns mentioned previously were a nice, as were many of the less traveled streets in the northern part of the old city. Circling back around, we stopped at our more worldly coffee shop (site of yesterday’s mini-blog) and then on to the Plaza España. Originally intended to boost Andalusia’s economy, its opening happened to coincide with the crash of the NY Stock Exchange and the subsequent worldwide depression. The place is pretty impressive, a giant semi-circle of red bricks facing an open square. Lining the inside arc are beautiful tiled benches representing the various regions and cities of Spain and some of their historical events. Rental rowboats circled in the central moat, and it was very entertaining to watch teenagers try to paddle them like canoes, lacking a basic understanding of oarlocks. The place had the interesting effect of acting like a solar oven, reflecting the 90° heat right back down on our heads. I was glad to get out of there, stopping only to admire the Cristobal Colon monument and then back into the Barrio where the shade was much more friendly.

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After a break it was back out to watch the sunset over the Río Guadalquivir (unspectacular), my attempt to sneak into one of the exits at Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza (bull ring, caught, plead ignorance) we ordered dinner at El Arenal, a local fish restaurant in the neighborhood of the same name. We’d passed it on Saturday night when it was mobbed and I made My Lovely Wife promise that we could go back. You place your order, they deep fry it, serve it up in stiff paper cones and your stand outside at tables, enjoying your steaming hot dinner with a cold beer or glass of wine. We hit the right node, getting our food just before the bull fight let out. It was a great dinner and a nice way to end an otherwise purposeless day.

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