Original Travel spent one action-packed weekend in Seville. Want to know what we got up to on our luxury city break? Spoiler: expect tales of tapas and flamenco dancing...
Welcome to Seville
We stepped out of Seville airport, the air warm and balmy and the atmosphere slower and more relaxed than the London way of life. For the first night, we stayed at the beautiful Corral del Rey, a restored 17th century building with magnificent attention to detail - textures were rich with dark wooden doors and marble walls, and the vibe chic yet utterly comfortable. We dropped our bags off and after a quick change set off to a local tapas bar. After rounds of Squid ink risotto, olive tapenade, Jamon, Manchego, Black cod, steak and Spanish omlette, we poured onto narrow Seville streets with full bellies.
Next stop, according to our itinerary, was a Flamenco performance. I expected to head to a traditional theatre or a bar-restaurant type place with low ceilings and a stage. Instead we were cattled past concrete walls and iron gates into a small open air courtyard, filled with people all huddled around one empty space in the centre. The bar was a basic table in an adjoining room and the walls covered in family photos, old keepsakes and retired guitars. We grabbed a glass of sangria and gingerly walked back into the courtyard, some of us crouching to the centre for a front row, cross-legged seat, others craning our necks and peering round shoulders and torsos for a better look in. Whispers and murmurs faded when a man from the back announced "Silencio! El show esta a punto de comenzar!' - Silence, the show is about to start. Two other men slowly walked onto the stage, one with a guitar and the other armed only with his voice. No lights, no microphone, no pyrotechnics, just two men, one guitar and a captive audience. He began to sing, with eyes closed and a raspy, raw and soulful voice which echoed in the air, later joined by the acoustic guitar and the sound of their feet tapping the ground and hands clapping in time to the beat. I can't speak Spanish, not enough to mention anyway, but I can tell you he sang of tradition and stories close to the heart.
Just for you and just this once
These two men were soon joined by another - a man with slicked back hair who strutted on with his head thrown back and his spine stiff and poised. His feet began to move, I've never seen anything like it, they ran away with the music, stamping and sweeping, yet his body and head were still and focused. Woops and cheers came from the audience, all enthralled by the man with the quick feet who moved so quickly we all believed the floor would fall through, or he would fall to the floor in exhaustion. It was such an intimate performance, no smoke or mirrors, but something so truly authentic you felt as though the performers were there just for you and just this once. If you are ever in town, forget the mainstream shows; although I have no doubt that the performers are just as skilled and passionate, the underground setting of this Flamenco show is really something special and worth seeking out. Watch this space for day two of our Seville adventure, in the meantime here's some photographic evidence of our antics!