Somehow, I always knew my images of cities like Sevilla or Córdoba would have to be shown in an ochre/sepia monochrome. Is it perhaps that the colonial architecture so strongly reminds me of the rural memories of my childhood (in Chile)? Or is it the strong association to the always red of Santa-Fé styles? I can't tell. Fact is, that when we got back from this trip I immediately started trying out visual styles on the computer, and didn't stop until I had this washed-out look, with deep browns and exploded highlights (apologies to non-photographer readers if I got too technical here :-).
With not much time available (the misery of short trips) we focused on sampling architecture and ... food! The trip would take us to the main cities of Andalusia (see map) with one notable exception —Granada had to be left out unfortunately because of time constraints.
Andalusian architectural gems such as the Grand Mosque in Córdoba, the Alcázar in Sevilla and the Alhambra in Granada all stem from the Moorish legacy and are testimony to both the unbelievable artistic skills as well as to the enormous wealth of north African cultures around the X century. The fact that these buildings were respected during and after the reconquista, the 700 years long Spanish crusade wars, shows the recognition that Spanish kings had for these cultural achievements. Quite frankly, seldom have we remained so in awe as when contemplating these buildings, the gardens, the intricate reliefs. Kudos to the Spanish and Andalusian government that maintain this universal heritage.
Andalusian food is less accessible to visitors. It is not that you wouldn't find it—every restaurant or pub will sample typical dishes. The trouble is that most of the dish names are rather unknown to the foreigner, the menus are in Spanish only and the waiters struggle to translate some sophisticated cooking into english. Chances are that you may have tasted Gazpacho, but have you heard of Almorejo, Pipirrana or Pringá? My favourite: Orange and onion salad, peppered with black olives —perhaps a straight import from Morocco?
Seville is of course, also the heart of the corridas de toros, and their presence is everywhere: in posters around the city or in photographs of famous toreros in cafés. In spite of all the attempts to stop the corridas (several motions have been presented to the Spanish parliament), the passion for them and their traditions are still very much alive in Andalucía.