(No, they don't really run the bulls here - that's in Pamplona - but it's the best picture I could find in the STA.com archive. If I ever find an internet cafe that lets me haul in my approximately 5 pounds of camera cables and connecting equipment, you'll be able to see my own pictures... I promise! In the meantime, please enjoy this photo of the bull's revenge. I sure do!)
Well, we're still in Spain, and moving steadily south towards one of the great jewels of our trip, Morocco! The excitement is building. Meanwhile, Seville has been a bit of a disappointment. It turns out that the Feria, the city's huge, weeklong party and the whole reason we came here at all, is largely off-limits to non residents. We get a carnival (much like every carnival you've ever been to, except the carnies are all shouting in Spanish) and we're allowed to peer into the 350 or so tents where other people are enjoying music and some delicious looking food... but that's about it.
Not much in the way of sights here either... the obvious one is the big cathedral in the middle of the city. It's the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and it really is a monster, with a huge dome, some gargoyles, flying buttresses, and a beautiful minaret left over from the mosque that used to be there. We can see it from our hostel terrace. Tonight, we're going to a flamenco show, guitar and dance and fancy dresses and so on, so that should be a blast.
And at least the food in the city is good. Rebecca and I are beginning to hone our tapas-foraging skills - we can now understand approximately half of any given menu, though we still flip furiously through our phrasebook pretty often, and we can jam our way up to a crowded bar and make our orders heard over the shouts and clamor right along with the locals. As a reward, we get lots of little plates full of various fried, boiled or stewed delights, sometimes with mysterious ingredients. It's something of an accomplishment, considering neither of us speaks the language... by comparison, Italy and France were a breeze (as will be Germany).
One note about the food... I have, with great reluctance, been forced to reduce my standards of vegetarianism here. It's virtually impossible to find anything that doesn't have meat in it, so I now include fish and chicken in my diet, rather than starve. But I still refuse to consume anything that's made of pigs. (If it's smart enough to be trained, I can't eat it). And even that's been difficult, since the Spaniards love to put ham in EVERYthing.
And just think - the language and food barriers will only get worse: we know even less Arabic than we do Spanish! In Morocco, I will consider us lucky to find someone who speaks French, forget about English, and if I can be reasonably sure that the soup I'm eating isn't made of monkey brains. Still... I really can't wait... it's definitely the most exotic part of our trip, and I could not be more excited! Wide deserts, blue mountains, souqs and markets and casbahs and mosques... they're all just over the horizon. We'll have a brief stop in Tarifa, at the very southern tip of Spain, to spend a day resting up on the beach and getting ready, then we'll ferry our way across to Africa. Stay tuned, there's more to come.