Monday, September 21, 2009

40 (whatever)

Once again, hello there!
Last evening´s meal was nothing to write home about. So I won´t.
When I aarived on the train a whole bunch of soccer fans was gathering to go to Madrid for the King´s Cup and Seville won for the first time for 77 years. Thank goodness for wax earplugs as I heard nuddings all night, though before I went to bed the crackers (small bombs) had started. My Hostal is in a quiet street, too.
Now that I am 65 años, I get some benefits such as reduced prices at venues. Today, entry was free for me to the Real Alcazar (Ray-AHL Al-CAH-thar) or Royal Castle, instead of 5€. They don´t take money from visitors to the Cath on Sundays, either, so the entries were cheap today!
Last evening it was so hot and still, I knew it would be hopeless going to bed early and ate at 9pm. After I wandered around looking to buy a coffee, the sound of music took me to the square alongsde the campanilla or bell tower. There were three Russian performers and the standard was HIGH. They had CDs and at the end I bought one. I gleaned the following from the third-named. Nikolai has been in Spain for about 12 years, unsurprisingly as his instrument is the Spanish guitar. Most of his CDs have been with other musicians, and about 4 years ago he invited Inna, a violinist, to join him. Together they played all the music last night, first, arrangements of classics, and then some Spanish. A moving audience of around 40 listened, and the coffers rang all the time. The third, Alejandro, joined them 4 months ago. He had just rung his wife when I met him and his heart was heavy, which is why he did not play his flute. His first questions to me were along the line of, Where is God? Who is he? an interesting start to a conversation. He was not anly sad but angry. In Russia (St Petersburg) he was a soloist, a professor of culture and a professor of flute but had no money. He earns more per month as a busker in Spain than in Russia. He would love to bring his wife and daughter out, but she is a music journalist and what would she do? She earns very little but she has a position. 130 years ago the two richest nations in the world were Argentina and Australia. Australia is still in the rich club, but Argentina is a basket case. A doctor earns $50 a month while a pair of Nike runners is $400. An article in the Daily Telegraph a few days ago was musing the same thoughts. How is Britain, which has shed 1 000 000 manufacturing jobs in the last 8 years, still able to supply services to its people? How can France generate wealth while insisting its workers at all levels put in 35 hours a week, while India is inventing the 35 hour day? It´s a mystery, but no wonder that people flee their homelands to wealthier countries.
I bought a case today, big enough to take all my stuff, and have packed up the Carrix. I´ll sell it as soon as I can.
Seville Cathedral apparently has a greater volume than any other church, according to the Guiness Book of Records. There is a central nave and four side aisles, 44 chapels, over 500 works of art, 50+ stained glass windows, and two interesting graves: Chris Columbus (Cristobal Colon) and one of his two sons. CC´s is a most interesting affair with his coffin held aloft by four bronze figures representing the 4 main kingdoms of Spain. His son was apparently desperate to ensure his grave would be maintained so assembled a huge library of books and donated them to the Chapter of Priests of the Cath, of which there are still 49! Ours this morning was in his 80s and was drowned out three times when the bells rang.
Photography was difficult inside as usual as the lights are kept so low. I took several videos instead. Apart from the bell tower, the oldest section is the orangery - 11th century. The trees are arranged symmetrically and are joined by a centralised water system.
Lunch was a bocadilla with ham and cheese. It most likely will be my last. They have lost their appeal.
I went to the Royal castle, built in two stages by Pedro I called the Cruel (because he lost his crown to his half brother, Enrique the Bastard. Others called him Pedro the Just) and Carlos V, the Holy Roman Emperor. Pedro made Muslim workers build it for nothing but in return they earned their freedom. They built it like a small (cheaper) version of the Alhambra in Granada. There are two hectares of buildings and fortifications, and five ha of gardens. Our guide (I tagged along) took us to the Juderia, the Jewish quarter, and said that the Jews´ living right alongside the Moors´ castle (which was where Pedro´s castle is) proved that they had happy relations with each other for centuries. Hmm. It seems to me that if you put a potentially troublesome group alongside your castle and barracks, you are ensuring control over them. It hardly implies trust.
Anyway, dinner calls!
Tomorrow I head for Cordoba.
God bless you.

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