3 Sep

I keep having these, “I’m in Spain” moments. I will be going throughout my day just as any other, worried about my Spanish test or how I’m going to fit my siesta in during this unforeseen busy week when, in the midst of my walk home it hits me, “Oh yeah, I’m in Spain.” It is as though this surreal vision of my Spanish life comes crashing down as I stare at the largest gothic cathedral in the world, admire the tiny tiles that line the walls of Casa Pilato, feel the mist of one of the many monumental fountains or float in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in my life: this is my obligatory sightseeing post.

Last week we went to the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede for our first sneak peak at the church that looms over our new hometown. Legend has it that the creators of this building wanted people to see it and think that they were madmen, thus its grandeur size. It is the third largest cathedral in the world behind St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Paul’s in London (which just means I need to make a quick trip to London to check off the three largest churches in the world.) The most distinct characteristic of this cathedral is its obvious gothic charm. The dark setting allows for deep sense of inner reflection, which might be the Catholic’s way of tricking you into confession, but clever devices aside I was contemplating life. Gold and silver make an appearance well, everywhere, and made me wonder what we humans value in life.

A place to pray

The best part of the cathedral in my opinion, however, was Christopher Columbus’ tomb. His casket is lofted above a marble monument that references one of Columbus’ many burial sites, Cuba. Although our dear Christopher had a good relationship with Isabella (whom we pay thanks for our homeland), Ferdinand was not too fond of the guy and Columbus swore he would never step foot in Spain again after well, things went down. Consequently, he was originally buried in Italy and moved to more places than he visited while alive. After Cuba declared its independence from Spain the church decided they wanted him back, so here he lies in Sevilla. Our tour guide pointed out that his casket is carried by four figures, each one representing a Spanish kingdom: Aragon, Leon, Castile and Navarra; meaning that the creator of the tomb may have been listening to Columbus’ last wish by ensuring that he is not touching the ground. This means that Columbus’ is not on Spanish soil, but that seems like roundabout way of justifying his placement to me.

Oh, hey Columbus.

The last stop on this tour was the Giralda tower, with the best views of Sevilla waiting at the top, I could not surpass the opportunity to climb 35 levels. To my surprise, however; the tower was not filled with narrow wooden stairs that, with the next creak will fall and kill sixty tourists but ramps, beautiful, concrete easy ramps. Turns out that the cathedral used to be a mosque so the bells at the top of the tower had to be rung every few hours, which meant one man was either a very tired man or a horse was a very tired horse. Hence the ramps, the bell watcher could ride the horse up to the top of the tower rather than climb it himself, leaving me one very happy girl.

Aerial View from the Tower


Our next stop was Caso Pilato, which I happen to pass everyday on my way to school. The sixteenth century palace is filled with statues, fountains, cobblestone, courtyards, oh, and of course gold. Coating the majority ceilings in the palace, gold leaf serves as a distraction while the royal family slips into secret passageways that can be spotted if you look at the walls. Yes, they are the same color of the tiles and walls and yes they do look similar but that door has a frame and is wooden. With that said, it was the sixteenth century, they read by candlelight.

The courtyards are like a dream. Designated for tranquility, a vine engrossed archway veils five stone benches encircling a small fountain. The muted sunlight is ideal for reading as the trickling water makes you feel cool (even if it is a placebo effect) which is perfect for a hot Seviallian day. Nearby was the cave of love, because love is like a prison? Behind the thick black steel prison bars was a nude sculpture of Aphrodite sleeping near yet another fountain. The dark shadows create an intense hole of artificial emotions, similar to a ride gone bad at Disneyland. Coins scattered the cell floor so, evidently people are wishing for this type of love?

La Casa Pilato

I believe my heart may have found a love a bit truer; however, when we went to Matascalaña beach on the Atlantic for a day of relaxation. After zig-zagging our way through ubiquitous chairs, umbrellas, towels and topless women we found the perfect spot of sand to sun in. Okay, maybe it was exactly the same as any other spot on the beach, but it was open so we took it, and what spot on a white sandy beach is not good? After a few hours of tanning the tide started to roll in, and people began to flock back up the beach, including a new friend. A three-year-old, curly haired boy in Oscar the Grouch Speedos approached us and began to speak. I was amazed. This little boy was speaking so well, so fluently, with the correct tenses and grammar, asking us to play with him and join his family in the sun. I had a few seconds of astonishment before I realized that children should, by the age of three, be able to talk fluently. I attempted to string some Spanish vocab words together in an attempt to make a new friend but could not help but be jealous of his Spanish skills, I mean yes, he is Spanish, but he’s three! Also, when a small child speaks another language he or she automatically becomes at least one hundred times cuter and this was, by no competition, the cutest Spanish boy I have met yet. After picking up and dropping sand, which was evidently a game for him, his parents called him to go and he dawdled and hung back to hang out with his newly found friends. He told us he would return, but when or how I did not understand and it is possible that he did not understand that crucial detail either. Before he left he came over to give me a besito, or a kiss, on the cheek. It was the most adorable moment of my life and my heart melted a little bit as I watched him walk away. Spanish children, one of the countries best attributes.

I decided to take a dip in the ocean seeing as the closest I’ve come to swimming in the ocean is the Mediterranean Sea and jumping over waves on the Oregon Coast. I walked out deep enough for my waist to be immersed in water, the stomach is always the hardest part, but this water was not cold, it was slightly cool, simply refreshing. I plunged forward, and an invigorating wave swept over me. I breaststroke here and there, admiring the sunlight dancing across the waves. And it was then, that I had a, “I’m in Spain” moment, seemingly surreal but too tactile to deny.

This experience may feel unreal but it is as real as it gets. I am simply floating, trying to take it all in… until a large wave whips me in the face and salt water fills my mouth. No bueño.

One Response to “Floating”

  1. Sallie Rowe September 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Love your descriptions Linds – and your photos are beautiful! Nice job!!!!

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