Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Hollywood of Andalucia

While roaming around the city these past few days, we have run up on filming locations for an, as yet, unnamed movie that is apparently set in Sevilla. This location on the Plaza de Pilatos seemed to be a scene with a young woman running from a larger, somewhat out of shape, man. You see the woman run by and then the out of shape man giving up the pursuit:

This morning the same film crew was set up on San Jacinto, the main street at the end of our street.

They were filming a scene in which a small blue car races down the street and nearly strikes a cafe waiter:

Moments later, an antique car, decked out in just married decor, races down the street after the blue car and nearly strikes the waiter again:

Over the past couple of days, with Rachel and Taylor, we've visited much higher profile filming locations in Sevilla too. For example, we visited the Real Alcázar. This garden:

and other sites in the palace were used in the Game of Thrones series:

Yesterday, we visited the Plaza de España:

This site was used extensively in Star Wars as Queen Amidala's Palace:


This afternoon Palma invited us to her sister's bar, Bulebar Cafe. It was the 23rd anniversary of its opening. It's a lovely little place and the only bar I've ever heard of that hosts a regular series of science lectures called "Ciencia en Bulebar". Because it was a big event for Palma's family, we were able to meet a lot of her friends and family. We met her parents, her sisters and even her daughter. Even though there were a lot of people there that she knew, Palma graciously spent a lot of time chatting with us.

Also, she promised to send Mario a picture of us under the 23rd anniversary sign (Mario was out of town and couldn't be there). She shared it with us too:

Plus, free beer!

Empty Fountains

Today we continued our walkabout with Rachel and Taylor. We had lunch at a Mexican tapas place in the Alameda called Mano de Santo. Excellent chicken tortilla soup by the way. Maybe the best all around Mexican food we've had here in Sevilla.

Afterwards, Laura went grocery shopping and home while Rachel, Taylor and I walked over to the Plaza de España. It's a fairly long walk and we went by the Cathedral and central tourist areas. We stopped and watched a flamenco group busking for a bit:

A couple of the big fountains around Sevilla were off, including this one at the Plaza. I thought it was interesting to see the guts of the thing, but was disappointed that Rachel and Taylor didn't get to see it. Maybe it's off because we're now in the coldest part of the year, I don't know:

We went up into one of the balconies at the Plaza and looked down at the "river" and the bridges:

We wandered back home and Laura made a charcuterie board, a common entree here in southern Spain:

We went out again in the evening with the intention of seeing the 3 kings Christmas display, but also to take some night pictures:

We made it to the 3 kings display just in time to see them flashing in time with a rendition of "Carol of the Bells":

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Real Alcázar de Sevilla

While Laura was in class today, Taylor, Rachel and I went to Real Alcázar. Parts of this royal palace date back to the 12th century. It's the home of Spanish royalty when they are in Sevilla. The palace and the surrounding gardens are now open to public tours. You can see the age of the place in this wall juxtaposed with the well-manicured plants of the garden:

Following the rule of thumb to always look up when touring old buildings, I noticed this ceiling in one of the rooms around the throne room:

The weather was cool and breezy, but the sky was a brilliant blue. This is the courtyard outside of the throne room:

One of the rooms around the throne is known as the "doll room". Among all of the adornments in plaster, there are 4 discreet doll heads. We looked all over for them, but couldn't find them. Luckily, a couple of other folks in the room with us pointed them out:

The grounds are beautiful and really popped in the clear air. In the distance here is the water-powered organ:

We walked through maze:

You can see la Giralda over by the Cathedral peek up above the wall:

After the palace we walked over to Laura's school and headed to lunch. Laura wasn't quite ready to go with us, so we went on ahead. We saw this poor little dog shivering outside of a store waiting for their owner:

We walked out to Pizzería La Urbana for lunch. Taylor and I got adventurous and tried a local Sevillian beer. I thought it was OK, but oddly sweet. Taylor was not into it at all:

Try at your own risk. Here's Rachel and Taylor enjoying the meal:


In the afternoon, I did a little math. I found an interesting paper relating machine learning in speech recognition to that of weather prediction. This is a relatively new approach and I'm looking forward to reading a bit more about it.

Taylor, Rachel and Laura went out to the local mall. I went out for a run. It was kind of nice in the cool breeze. On the way home, the sunset across the bridge was lovely:


We ran through some leftovers this evening to which Laura added a nice salad. After clean up, we hit a local helado place for dessert. A busy day, yet also productive. Even did a load of laundry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Rachel and Taylor

Rachel and Taylor arrived for a visit today. I took the bus out to the airport to meet them and get them back to the flat. Laura had spanish class at this time. The airport is on the eastern edge of the metro area. Everything ran on time, buses, planes etc. In the airport, as sort of a Christmas display, was a mock up of the cathedral with la Giralda (the noted bell tower of the cathedral). Here's a side-by-side of the mock up and the real thing. Can you spot the real one?

I know, the giant nativity humans on the left kind of give it away.

Rachel, Taylor and I rode the bus back downtown and walked the remaining couple of blocks to the flat. By that time, Laura was finished with class and met us at home. We grabbed lunch on San Jacinto and I went to my spanish class. Rachel has a bit of a sore throat that we hope doesn't turn into a cold:

During that time, Laura walked around town with them a bit, just to keep them moving instead of sleeping (jetlag). They wrapped up with a trip to the grocery store. Back home, Laura made soup for dinner (most excellent). We mostly hung out in the flat after that. Now R & T are enjoying long-awaited sleep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A little off the top

The orange trees in Sevilla are heavily laden with ripe or nearly ripe oranges. There must be some method of collecting/harvesting/cleaning up this impending mess of fruit. It's illegal for people to pull oranges from the trees in Sevilla, so it's not like people are just going to pick them. Also, it's my understanding that the oranges are of a very tart variety and would not be good to just eat. They're more for use in marmalades.

I witnessed one approach to the orange problem across the street from our flat. There are a few trees in the parking area there. A crew came and I have this before and after picture:

Not only are the oranges taken care of, but a good portion of the trees themselves are now gone.


Out for a walk this evening and San Jacinto was quite smokey, as per usual:

I wonder how many more months the chestnut thing goes?