Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Breath of Fresh Air

Like a breath of fresh air for a drowning man!  Ah, Sevilla, city after my own heart!  Indeed, arriving in Seville, I immediately felt a little more at home than in Barcelona: it just has a little more grit to it, a little less of the hustle, even less of the pomp.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Barcelona, and intellectually speaking, it’s where I need to be—modernism, utopian socialism, art and architecture—but it just isn’t quite as friendly as Seville. 

And oh, the Español!  Yes!  They speak Spanish here!  What a refreshing experience, to walk around town at 1 a.m. on a Thursday night and ask directions from three different thirty-year-old couples and get a polite response in Castellano!!!  Immediately, I knew I was going to like this town.  Of course, the Catalan presence provides much of the impetus for me to live in Barcelona, as well as well-grounded fodder for my prospective thesis, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy visiting a place where I speak the language.  Although, given their accent, saying that Sevillanos and I speak the same language is kind of a stretch….

Regardless, a time away was just what I needed before I hesitatingly go back into the high-speed, bump-ridden flow that is Barcelona.  A break from not only classes and L’Eixample, but also from the other CASB students, a time to clear my head and connect with kindred spirits in Seville.  I did much of the sight-seeing alone: the Catedral, the Alcanzares Reales, Plaza de España, the Archives, the Roman ruins of Italica; but I did meet up with the Barça crowd, visit with Emma and Krystina (so good to see them both!), and make a new Latvian friend.

Miks added an interesting twist to the weekend, and was probably the only thing that kept me from burning down my hostel (Two dormitories on each floor, one bathroom on each floor: sounds reasonable.  No.  You need to walk through my bedroom to get to the bathroom, which reeks of human refuse.  And of course the guys in the other dormitory find it necessary to take showers at 4:50 a.m. and leave the lights on and the door open after they leave.  Add that to the mattress that served as a sink-hole for my back, and Olé Backpacker Hostel asked for the brutal review that will be shortly published on Hostelworld.com).  Miks, the Latvian Theatre Groupie, was my roommate in the hostel throughout the weekend.  We connected on the first night, after I told him that part of my ancestry was Lithuanian.  He replied “We are all like brothers, our three little countries,” and promptly invited me to a theatrical performance, which itself was the purpose of his visit to Seville.  I took him up on it, and he got me a free front-row ticket to the show “Long Life,” which has been touring Europe for a while now.  A fantastic cultural experience, not lessened by the fact that there was absolutely no Latvian—nor Russian nor English nor Spanish—spoken throughout the entirety of the performance. 

A relaxing and edifying experience: A few hours by the riverside, several exercises in photographic creativity, a couple scribbles in my notebook, 100 pages of Foucault, and a thousand deep breaths later (there would have been a thousand more had my allergies not started acting up Saturday night), I just might be ready to go back to that barely-avoided heart-attack called “daily life” here in Barcelona. 

Maybe I can go back tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. In Catallan and in Latvian, Estonian and Polish, the words for "culture" "art" and "intellect" are all spelled the same: L I T H U A N I A N!