Showing posts with label Sevilla. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sevilla. Show all posts

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Travel Tales: ‘La Tuna’ solves that Seville Mystery

DCVegasSeville2011 164It was late one night in Seville, Spain. The bar filled with robed musicians. . . from where they came, their reason for being there, a mystery to us. . .

Two weeks ago I wrote about searching for that elusive Spanish ‘duende’the  devilish Earth Spirit that captures  -- if you are lucky -- the souls of both performers and audience members with riveting emotion. (Click the blue link to read the original post.)  We found it among a group of musicians we'd happened upon who seemed as mysterious to us as the 'duende' itself . . .

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I asked if you’d had similar experiences. Your response was fabulous:

Heather at Lost in Provence wrote that a similar concept exists in Bali.  Called ‘Ngayah’, is applies to more than the just the arts.

Inka at GlamourGranny Travels said while in Galicia she “went in search of ‘morina’ that atavistic longing of the Galegos for their ‘tierra’.”

And then my blogosphere friend from Jamaica Marcia Mayne at Inside Journeys wrote that it had sparked a memory for her; of a similar experience in Spain:

“We just happened on it in a restaurant. There were maybe 4-6 guys playing various instruments, a bucket or vat of sangria that we kept drinking from and singing along.

I remember that it was so much fun, we stayed until the restaurant closed around 1 a.m. or so. Even now, some 20-30 years later, I can feel the warmth, the camaraderie of that evening. We told our professor -- we were in Spain to study Spanish - and I remember him telling us a bit of the history of the Tuna but from the link you sent, I see it's been around for 700 years - impressive! I doubt we knew then that we were part of something so quintessentially Spanish.

I hadn't thought of the Tuna for a long time. In fact, the name was on the tip of my tongue as I wrote my comment. I wasn't sure I'd remember but just before I finished, it came to me and I decided to Google it.”

Marcia’s Google search solved our late night Seville mystery. Here’s one of many videos on You Tube of . . .yes, indeed. . .La Tuna. 

Like modern-day pen pals, Marcia and I began sending each other information about La Tuna and Lorca, the Spanish poet I quoted in the first post. One find was a web article that explains these troubadours have been around since 1215, the time of King Alfonso. 

DCVegasSeville2011 253The members were university students who in the beginning used these traveling performances to pay for their education; today it is an activity steeped in history and keeps alive the tradition of the medieval minstrels.

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"The duende….Where is the duende?

Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odor of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things."
--Federico Garcia Lorca

Thanks to Marcia at Inside Journeys for use of her photo and content used in this post.  Hope you'll come back on Monday to see whereTravelnWrite will be Meandering to then. . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TPThursday: Spain’s “La Fiesta Brava”

Today in History, a regular feature in the Seattle Times, began Tuesday with:

“1947: Legendary bull fighter Manolete died after being gored during a fight in Linares, Spain; he was 30.”

Bullfighting, ‘la fiesta brava’ ; the centuries old cultural icon of Spain is one of those ‘love it or hate it’ topics these days among tourists and locals alike. But still it is interesting that 65 years later, the death of  Spain’s famed young matador, Manuel Laureano Rodrigues Sanchez, -- better known as Manolete* – is still worthy of note on an international scale.

Although we spent several weeks in Spain last year, we didn’t  attend a bullfight; not as a political statement, but out of a desire not to watch an animal – or perhaps human -  be killed. 

But that isn’t to say we weren’t fascinated by the importance of the bullfight to this country’s culture and history. After all, the first recorded bullfight in Spain was in 711 AD at the crowning of King Alfonso VIII.

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Our stay in Madrid was during its May Fiesta de San Isidro. A highlight of the many celebrations the fiesta encompasses are the bullfights in its Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas – one of the largest bullfight rings in the world.

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Bullfights, or corridas, take place almost daily during the festival and many were televised for the enjoyment of the masses, much like football and baseball games in the United States and soccer (futbol) in Europe.
(Look closely at the two photos above and you’ll  see I photographed a television screen.)

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I photographed this sign in Madrid promoting toreras (female bullfighters)  because I thought it was something new. Silly me, they’ve been around for centuries  -- yes, centuries -- I’ve since learned.  Even the famed Manolete shared billing with a female during a  1930’s bullfight according to one internet account.

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In Seville we joined a tour group visit of  the famed Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza (Paseo de Cristobal Colon 12, Tickets for the tours can be purchased at the box office there.

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This 14,000 seat edifice is one of the largest in Spain and hosts fights every Sunday from Easter Sunday to early October.

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Our multi-lingual tour guide explained the history and the procedural aspects of bullfighting to the handful of people on the tour. The tour concluded with a stop in  the on-site bullfighting museum.

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The museum is a walk through the corridos history– walls filled with paintings, sculptures as pictured above, the outfits and equipment worn by some of the more famous bull fighters as well as a tribute to the more famous bulls as well.

We spotted one of the most clever pieces of street art we’ve seen on our travels while in Madrid. It seemed the perfect photo to end this Travel Photo Thursday post:


A couple of notes about bullfighting in Spain:
Barcelona’s leaders voted to end that city’s 600 year tradition of bullfights; its last bullfight was held  in September 2011. The first recorded bullfight there was in 1387. 

*Manolete, was considered by some to be Spain’s greatest bullfighter.  A book by Barnaby Conrad, “The Death of Manolete” has just been republished. Conrad also produced a You Tube video called The Day Manolete Was Killed.

If this is your first visit to TravelnWrite, hope you’ll come back again for more: Travel. Tips. People. and Places.  And now you can find TravelnWrite on Facebook

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

D2G loses to Spain’s Tapa Temptations

Yes, that healthy eating we’ve been touting for the last year – our Diet to Go, or D2G – met its challenge in Spain’s Tapa Temptations.

osuna 021 So we said “Adios” to that eating plan and each night saddled up to a tapas bar to eat our way through several of the small plates that offered a variety of meat, fish and vegetable tidbits; some of the best food we’ve had on our travels.

Potatoes and bread  – those things we’ve bragged about eliminating (or greatly reducing) in our lives this last year, were key ingredients in most of the tapas we ate. And Spain’s famous rice paella couldn’t be missed. . .

When in Spain eat as the Spanish do. . .and we did! In a manner of speaking anyway. Each night we’d wait as long as our American appetites allowed (somewhere around 7 or 7:30) and we’d go in search of a tapas bar. Tapas bars, like restaurants, don’t open their kitchens for hot dishes until 8:30 in most cases, so we’d work our way through cold dishes and wind up the feast with a couple hot dishes.

Tapas are generally inexpensive. So were the many varieties of Spanish wine we quaffed down with them.

Our best tapa dinner was eaten in Osuna, that charming small town outside Sevilla. The restaurant Meson del Duque, (Plaza de la Duquesa, 2, phone 95 481 28 45) had been recommended a couple of times so on our last evening we waited as long our our American appetites allowed and we headed out for what would be the culinary treat of the trip
osuna 020 As usual ‘los Americanos’ (us!) were unfashionably early so we had the place to ourselves. . .which gave us time to visit with Jose, the owner, left, and Paco, the bartender, to his right in this photo.

osuna 018 Since their tapas weren’t on display and we weren’t sure what was available, we asked Jose and Paco to select some plates for us.

They served us a mouthwatering short rib that you could cut with a fork, a fish dish, a pork dish and shrimp with a presentation resembling the horns of bulls in an unbelievably tasty sauce.

osuna 019So good were the tapas that we fell further off the diet wagon and ordered dessert – again their choice. Need I say this chocolate morsel was good?

Our last night in Sevilla we dined at Casa Tomate ( on the 'tapa bar street' of Mateos Gagos 24, phone 954 220 421) and decided to try the combination plate of three hot and three cold tapas; to that we added a half racione (half order) of deep fried calimari. 

As we started to order a salad as well – thinking we’d need a bit more, our waiter politely told us we didn’t need it – we had ordered plenty.  He was right as the tapas plate alone had anchovies, meat balls, veggies, Russian salad and a potato torte (tortilla):

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If you've been following the blog the last few weeks, I know you are probably thinking, "And then they got on a cruise ship for two weeks and ate some more?"  Yes we did, but I should tell you that we logged some 7 - 10 miles walking each day on land and on the ship either worked out at the gym and walked or did both.

While in Spain we marked the first anniversary of our D2G.  It has been a success despite the eating we did the last few weeks. We weighed in today and Joel weighs five pounds less than he did last year and I am down 13.5 pounds. . .and now that we are home we are back on the D2G way of eating.

Note:  The D2G is based on the Glycemic Load Diet as developed by Seattle doctor, Rob Thompson.  His book of the same title can be purchased from


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