As I stared at Triana from this side of the Guadalquivir River for the last time, I thought about how, exactly six months ago, I arrived in Seville to attend the local university, full of expectations.
I’d wanted to understand why everyone I’d spoken to had seemed to leave the city mesmerized. It only took me a couple of weeks to realize what Seville is all about, and why it is impossible to resist its magic.
This city must be experienced. It must be heard in flamenco, reggaeton, or the beautifully whispered Andalusian accent. It must be tasted in the tapas, rebujitos, or lots of cold Cruzcampo. It must be smelled in the incense of religious celebrations, and touched in the costumes of pagan celebrations.
But, above all, this city must be seen.
There’s a famous local song that proclaims, “Seville has a special color.” After a few months, I discovered which color the song is referring to. It’s not an unique ink shade or a special painting technique. The special color actually resides in what the city does to you.
Inspired by the happiness of the people from Seville and the pride they take in their own music, dance, and bohemian way of living, I started to realize that living my life with ease was the best thing in the world.
It’s hard not to feel like this when, stepping outside for a short walk around the block on a Thursday evening, you bump into people gathered around a guitar player strumming flamenco as if his passionate performance could be powerful enough to save the gypsy Carmen from her tragic end.
If you are lucky enough, later in that evening (or maybe it is already Friday morning) the same guitar player will magically turn into a nice elderly man putting an extra baguette into your basket at the supermarket. Considering your hangover face, you will probably need it more than he does.
Or maybe that nice elderly man from the supermarket will (again, as if by magic) turn into a gentleman wearing a suit to attend a religious parade, where he will drink more than a couple beers to celebrate his neighbourhood saint.
These spontaneous demonstrations of sweet weirdness make you walk through the streets of Seville not sure if you should laugh or cry. Either way, this city will move you.
The truth is that the special color of Seville lies in the eyes of every individual who has set foot in the city and let himself be driven by this surreal and highly sensorial lifestyle.
I hope to keep this singular perspective that Seville has given me, with which I feel able to see the most intense and bright colors even in the grayest landscapes.
Gracias por todo Sevilla.
Some photos provided by Britton Perelman.