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Setting Foot in Seville: A Spanish Adventure

The night before my journey I had lain curled up on the sofa, an assembly of butterflies lodged in my stomach, wondering why I had chosen to leave behind my life in England. But nevertheless in the morning I boarded a flight bound for Malaga, where I would catch a train through the mountains of Andalucia to Seville.

When my train pulled into the monolithic Santa Justa station I alighted to a quiet, green city of orange tree-lined avenues, with Spanish sunshine radiating off the deserted pavements. Not that the city was quiet for most of the year, but I had arrived in August, when unbearable temperatures meant that most of Seville had gone to the beach, leaving only a few hardy residents and stray cats languishing in pockets of shade.
Stepping out onto the sundrenched station forecourt, guitar in one hand and rucksack containing worldly possessions in the other, I suddenly questioned the wisdom of arriving to such a place, known as the hottest city in Europe, in the heights of summertime. But Seville had far more to offer than just heat; the dusty city was the stronghold of Spanish fascism in the civil war, and still retained a conservative attitude, it's drain hole covers even bearing the emblem ‘NO8DO’, meaning loyalty to the crown. The city was as Spanish as Spain could be. Retaining even traditions like bullfighting, which had long since been banned in more progressive regions.
With siesta time rapidly approaching, I thought it best to make haste to my lodgings and headed off on the pavement, marvelling at the intensity of the sun on my fresh pale skin. As I made my way, wondering which of the shuttered town houses I might find rest in, I was pleased to find a companion in my wandering, an olive wrinkled Spanish abuela, looking slightly delirious as she wandered in the heat with shopping bag in hand. As I offered her a smile, her eyes rolled back in her head!
She was on her feet one minute, and the next on the floor! Crumbled in a heap she lay drooling on the pavement, overcome by what I assumed was dehydration and exhaustion. What had I stumbled into? Was the warmth of my smile too much to take?
Heat was rising from the pavement, the street saturated in burning light. Street deserted apart from, and groups huddled under shade of bars streetside.
After a few frantic seconds searching for words, I stammered an ‘ayuda ayuda’ a garbled distress call aimed at a group of elderly Spaniards taking beer and tapas in a bar on the shady side of the street.
No sign of movement from the gentlemen, immersed in spirited conversation.  I reverted to English  in the only way I knew how.
Today’s blog is the first of a series of posts on a year spent living abroad in Spain, written by George Galloway.
Having grown up in deepest darkest Scotland, George graduated in Media & Communications, and promptly escaped to a life on the road. He writes about travel and technology at SIM Tourist. Visit the site here.