Of all the things I imagined about my solo trip to Spain, I never thought that I would be involved in a relationship so soon.
Fresh from a breakup, I was happy to be single and free to do all that I wanted in the land of tapas and flamenco. The Universe however had something more planned for me.
Our adventures begin just after class ended. From the school’s location at Calle (Street) Amor de Dios, we embarked on two very important missions. We not only bought European groceries together but he also led me to the local Vodafone store where I got my Spanish pre-paid mobile number. Sweet!Like most relationships it started off casually. We met at Babylon Idiomas, (the language school in Seville where I studied Spanish for four weeks) and were introduced by the friendly staff there. I must admit, I was excited about the prospect of getting to know the narrow streets of Seville with his knowledge of the historical city.
Over the next 25 days we became an inseparable team. I used to impatiently wait for Spanish classes to be over for the day, so that our adventure could begin. Boy did we have many of those! He took me up to the Moorish tower, La Giralda and we got a glimpse of the beautiful Seville from way up top. We got the chance to take in the gothic grandeur of Seville’s Catedral de Santa María de la Sede and strolled together in the serene, lush gardens of the royal Alcazar Palace, built around the 1360’s.
When my new friends told me about taking in the sights at Plaza de Espana but didn’t have the time to go there with me, it was he who brought me to the Spanish Square, a palace in honour of Spain’s cities and rich history – created by architect Anibal Gonzalez . Exploring the green, vast Parque De Maria Luisa close by, I was glad to have his company by my side.
Enjoying wine and a tapa at my favourite cafe
He also took to me one of the oldest and most important bullrings in Spain – the Plaza De Toros De La Maestranza. Although there were no corridas (bullfights) in action that particular day, it was easy to imagine the battle between men and beast right there in the arena. Luckily the tour at the bullring made up for it, as we went through the history of Spain’s classic sport from the 18th century to the present day with a collection of old costumes, posters, paintings and bull’s heads.
Still, we didn’t do everything together. I had my own space and me time. I travelled on my own to the beautiful cities of Cordoba and Granada. While my otherwise good sense of direction failed me in both places, I did end up visiting the Mezquita (Cordoba) and La Alhambra (Granada) with the help of friendly locals. Though I missed his presence, I knew that the streets of the two cities were not his forte.
We had our time out’s too. Our sojourns didn’t just take us through the winding, narrow streets of Seville, but also to the park benches in front of the relaxing, picturesque river El Guadalquivir. We also discovered new spots with the guidance of the Universe.
Though he never shared the same love for food as we did for exploring, he revealed to me, the many popular and cosy tapas bars in Seville. He was with me all the while when I had my first sip of Spanish vino tinto and patatas bravas, when I tried churos con chocalate with my friend Tara and café con leche.
Our good times we had prompted me to think about changing my Facebook status to In A Relationship but I didn’t want to jump the gun so I left it at Single – and a good thing too!
Like many good relationships, tragedy struck when least expected. I hadn’t a clue what was happening to him. Trying to walk as fast as I could in the cold, pouring rain I didn’t realise that he would get wet, but he did.
I only discovered it a little later, when I opened my bag and found out that my dear Seville map was wet. After class I laid him out in the sun so that he would dry, but it was too late. He was beginning to tear. Leaving me with no other choice, I had to go to the tourist office to get a replica. I must admit that things were not the same with El Mapa II.
It has been one year now. Yes, I still have that well-used, torn, beloved Seville map with me, along with the countless memories.
Note to readers: In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine. Hence, the map (El Mapa) is a masculine form. This article is inspired by my adventures in Spain with the help of the map.