Let's Take a WalkThursday, May 05, 2016
You go to a city, visit the famous monument, museum, building, statue, then make your way around to eat the good local food, then peace out and head to the next destination. Whatever happened to taken the off beaten path and checking out how the locals live? An immersive trip where you see what goes on for the residences of the city rather than just seeing and eating the few famous things. Sure, it might be sound boring, but if it's a place you've never been to, especially a new country or city, why not venture out and see? It's a different style of living from yours and between places, no matter where you are (besides American suburbia), and you never know what you might learn when you take that new path. Take a look at the photos, read my blurbs, and you'll know what I mean.
See those oranges on the tree? There are many of these random orange trees around the city, bringing more color and surprises when you walk around. And doesn't the outdoor setup of tables and shade look so inviting? Unlike in the US where there are only a few restaurants in cities that can or want to do that (probably restricted due to sidewalk real estate), this isn't just a one restaurant or bar thing - it's at every few that you pass by. Having traveled to several countries in Europe, both major and small cities and towns, I've seen that it's quite common. I know the European culture is to take the time to enjoy the food. The French, for example, are known to have two, sometimes three, hour lunch breaks! It's relaxing and inviting to be outside rather than trapped on the inside by walls.
Just one of the many tapa bars and restaurants around the city. In the US, it's only a few places in cities that put their seating outside, probably due to sidewalk real estate. But here, other cities and towns and Spain, and all around Europe, this option is common and photogenic all the time.
Wandering down through residential streets, we find the locals live behind some massive doors and colorful walls...
...and here is why. At one of the residences, there was a barred opening that served as a window, allowing passerby's to peer inside. It's actually a number of apartments all situated in one building that face each other in a U formation and share a courtyard. If you look closely at the photo on the left, you can see the outline of a door. That's the size of a typical person, meaning that the rest of the door is fit for a baby giant. Only the small door can be used. I don't know why residence entrances in Spain are built like that, maybe it's to keep in proportion with the rest of the building, but it sure gives them a unique twist to it's architectural style.
Casa de Pilatos. The House of Pilatos. It's a 16th century palace that built by Pontius Pilato from Jerusalem and is currently the residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli. Beautiful courtyard and garden, and very elaborate rooms in the mixed style of Mudéjar, Renaissance, and Gothic.
Incredibly beautiful huh. The photo right above is what you see when you walk up the staircase - the hallway, covered from floor to ceiling in beautiful, patterned tiled. The bit of the ceiling you see is also over the stairs, all in a decorative, honeycomb type of ceiling style of interlaced beams called artesonados, which I noticed was common in many historical homes and palaces throughout the South. I can see why Pilatos wanted to decorate and build the inside using ceramic and cement - it's a refreshing escape from the southern heat. Nothing says "home" until it's comfortable, and with the patience in building such a grand palace, Pilatos got his comfort here in Seville.
Hopefully, through this little walk on the off beaten path, you've learned something new you might not find in the guide books and travel websites. Go explore!