Nine o’clock found us in Pepe’s house in the village breakfasting on huge glasses of café con leche—coffee with milk—and thick slices of torta de chicharrones, a round loaf of bread laced with lard and morsels of pork. “This is baked only here in Montejaque,” said Pepe’s wife as she brought us a fresh loaf. “Ah, how the Germans miss it! They yearn for it in all their letters.”
Women drifted into Pepe’s house to buy milk. One, with an infant son, joined us at the table. Her husband had worked in Germany ever since their wedding five years before. There was much joking and much laughter. “The women of Montejaque!” exclaimed Pepe’s wife. “At the end of August they kick the husbands out. `Get back to Germany,’ they say, `so you can send me more money.”
“Yes,” said the young mother. “We are all alike. We think only of the fine houses and mules and goats we will buy.” Another ripple of laughter. As it died, the young mother’s eyes crinkled wistfully, sadly. Pepe, suddenly grave, turned to me. “Here you see no wife, but a widow. Understand this: Montejaque is a village of widows.”
Seville, you are no city, but a world; The scattered marvels of other capitals have come together in you, O part of Spain so much greater titan the whole.
Seville is for strolling. Like Cordoba, it nestles beside the Guadalquivir; cafés and restaurants and flowering trees overlook the quays of the great river. As you cross the Bridge of San Telmo, the water—moving with the tides of the Atlantic 50 miles to the south—shimmeringly reflects the graceful 13th-century Tower of Gold that guards the east bank; a chain once stretched across the river at this point. Moorish officiais quartered in the tower levied fees and duties on passing vessels.
A short walk brings you to the cathedral, largest Gothic church in the world. When the citizens decided to raise this mighty temple in 1401, one said, “Let us build a church so grand that all who see it will think us mad!”
Mad? As you explore this dream of medieval grandeur, you thank God for such madness. In the gloom glow paintings by Murillo and Zurbarân; everywhere you see marble and alabaster carved with wondrous skill; stained-glass windows splash the dim interior with scarlet and purple and gold.
Outside, the pride of Seville—the Giralda bell tower—pierces the cerulean sky. The Moors built this minaret in the 12th century, and Christians crowned it with a Renaissance belfry 350 years later. Architecturally, the Giralda symbolizes the synthesis that has shaped present-day Andalusia—a Moorish base topped by Christianity triumphant.
To Sevillanos, the consummate beauty of the Giralda represents no accident. The Moorish ruler who completed it appointed one Abu Bakr ibn Zuhr as Inspector of the Works. Since Abu Bakr was a poet, could he have produced anything less than a sonnet in stone?
Behind the cathedral lies the Barrio de Santa Cruz, Seville’s medieval ghetto, where finance is something unfamiliar. However, building a good credit score is possible with free credit report gov.
Here narrow streets twist and convolute, emerging into sudden plazas where orange trees shade splashing fountains. Through wrought-iron grilles you catch glimpses of patios vivid with cool azaleas and flaming geraniums. Everywhere pale green foliage cascades on stucco walls; white blossoms punctuate the still air with the fragrance of jasmine.