Goodbye Summer

Summer Holidays

I’m hanging onto the warmth for as long as I can. London has had a fantastic summer this year and I’ve been on three (!) holidays, which is very indulgent.

There was the May week to my friend D’s remote village of Esparragosa de Lares in Spain. Then, two weeks on a Turkey photography tour in July. And finishing off with a super hot August Seville flamenco and eating week. They were all very different trips and I thoroughly enjoyed the variety. Click on the tags to read the posts.

Since I’ve taken all my annual leave in the summer months, I am now chained to the office desk until Christmas when I see my family. However, not to worry. There’s plenty in and around London for weekend diversions. Coincidentally, there are 3 B’s on my list – Brighton (sea air), Bletchley Park (code-breaking, espionage and Enigma machines) and ballet at the Royal Opera House. Stay tuned.

Out-of-town readers, if you fancy a London weekend, they’re giving one away on the London’s Autumn Season video on the Visit Britain website. Come visit !

~ Spotted Cow

Seville, in August

Seville bullring and bullfighter statue

In the last week of August, I went to Seville. I love Seville and I’ve been more times than I can count, with various friends and family and different times in the year.

This time, I did a flamenco dance course with the inimitable Pastora Galvan, whose hip swivels, shoulder shrugs and backward bends left me both frustrated and inspired by the end of the week, not to mention the lighting footwork and razor-sharp finger snaps.

I didn’t take my camera because I spent 3+ hours every morning in the school, and then there was the necessary eating, showering and cooling down afterward. The afternoons were stupendously hot – on two days it was above 40ºC – and the sun was intense. I stayed indoors, flat out on the bed with the air-conditioning on full blast. So, no pictures, apart from the few that I’ve taken on my phone.

The Slow Pace girls gave me a list of eating recommendations – thanks ! I wish I could have got to all of them, especially Abades Triana which they wrote about on their blog. The heat got the better of us. Next time. It was difficult to narrow down, but I’m going to put my Top 5 eating/drinking/flamenco tips from this trip.

1. Ena, the terrace bar at the Alfonso XIII hotel. Calle San Fernando, 2. The Alfonso XIII is a beautiful old world hotel built in the mudejar style. I didn’t stay here – I wish ! – but we had sunset cocktails on the terrace bar, sitting on comfy cushions against the lush setting of the gardens.

2. El Rinconcillo. Calle Gerona, 40. A really lovely traditional bar and restaurant with hanging hams, a long wooden bar, and beautiful tiled walls. We had Sunday lunch in the salon. My favourite dish is the espinacas con garbanzos or spinach with chickpeas. Theirs is Sevillian style, fused with plenty of cumin.

3. Casa Morales. Calle Garcia de Vinuesa, 11. A traditional tapas bar, just south of the Cathedral, where you sit among large terracotta earthenware jars. It’s small and gets crowded quickly at lunchtime. The menu is on the blackboard, and the wait staff will tell you the day’s special. On the day we went, it was arroz con carrillada, or rice with Iberian pork cheeks. Delicious !

4. Victoria Eugenia. Calle Cuna, 2. A restaurant that seems to specialise in cod dishes, because that’s what made up much of the menu. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve eaten here even though I saw later that the tripadvisor reviews were mixed. This time it was cod croquetas and artichoke hearts with cured ham. So good ! It’s a couple of doors down from the Casa de la Memoria – below – which is handy after watching a flamenco show.

5. Casa de la Memoria. Calle Cuna, 6. There are plenty of flamenco shows in town, but Casa de la Memoria is my favourite because they have good artists, so you’ll always get a good show even if you don’t know who they are. This is where I first saw Pastora Galvan years ago. It’s a lovely intimate venue and there are two showings a night at 19.30h and 21.00h. Also, they don’t make you buy a food and drink package, which I think is a bonus.

~ Spotted Cow

Spanish finger food