Sí/No: Sevilla, Spain

The sun fell soon after leaving Algeciras, Spain but I could still recognize that the landscape of Spain was changing. Chalk white and craggy cliffs had become rolling hills with winding brooks and covered in thick green grass. Giant bulls stood on the hilltops, surveying the land. We were making our way through the Andalucian part of Spain, headed towards Sevilla.

I became awestruck as the bus pulled into the city. Parks with beautiful lights and elaborate gardens appeared to run through the whole city. The air was fresh.

The first hour or two of my time in Sevilla was spent getting lost and finding every pensión unavailable. My back burned from the weight of my too heavy pack and finding the recommended hostel seemed like an impossibility. I caved and dished out money for a regular hotel room. While not the nicest thing in the world, it was the complete antithesis of what I had woken up to in Tangier. For instance, this place had a running toilet. I took a very long shower.

The next morning I found a hostel–ironically/cruelly located in a remote spot 250 meters or so away–and tried to explore the city as I best I could in the time available. I had caught glimpses of it the night before, but during daylight the barrio of Sevilla is one of the loveliest places I´ve been to yet. The narrow streets snake in and out of each other while bright coats of paint and decorative tiles give every building a unique look.

Spending my one day in museums seemed like a waste of sorts, so after visiting the cathedral I wandered around Maria Luisa park. The park only exacerbated the feeling Sevilla was a precious place. Ponds and pools and the lushest gardens you can imagine appear at every turn. Everyone was out and about, enjoying the day.

While Paris is known for lovers, it seemed like a particular brand of love to me: young love. Or lust. Everyone was kissing so much and so passionate that it made it seemed like a level that was unsustainable. This was confirmed by a woman I met who said that the French men are always on the lark for a new lover and that the women do not hesitate to accept, no matter if either party is taken or not.

The love exhibited by the people of Sevilla felt more permanent and true. Lovers held hands, young families pushed their new children, and grown adults sat on their aged parent’s laps. Street-side cafés and plazas looked to be as familial as living rooms.

I crossed the river to see if the whole city was as pleasant and in love. The people were not dressed impeccably, reckless slabs populated blocks, hands were un-held, and the air had become regular–the citrus was gone. The fact that this normalcy exists so close by made the sweetness of Sevilla all the better in a way. It is proof, perhaps, that thought and care can make the population be at home.

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