My walk home>your walk home #marbella
My walk home>your walk home #marbella
New apartment: ocean views, mountain views, pool #marbella #isthisreallife?
Breakfast on the beach at my new home #marbella #spain #unbelievable
One of my favorite cities in the world. So happy to be back #granada (at Albaycin)
Go home Spotify, you’re drunk #dollyparton #meatloaf #reallyspotify
Sometimes it takes things like this to remind me of how lucky I was to grow up on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Where images like this can send me on a nostalgic spiral towards beaches, long drives, sunsets, small town anxiety, and the absolute desperation to get out of dodge only to realize that you’ve taken incredible beauty for granted. What I wouldn’t kill to be 16 again, sitting on the hood of my car, pouting about mundane teenager things while staring at this view. I’ll never have it that good again.
"…to perform for you a song by the great Jack White…"
I’ve developed a love for the mandolin, and there’s a music store right by my apartment…
Yet another string instrument that will frustrate me after a few weeks. Worth a shot, right?
Are you ready for some futbollllllllllllllll
So my first weekend that I had to myself in Sevilla I took the opportunity to explore the city. Going on group tours and trips is fantastic and all that, but I find it stressful being constantly herded from place to place by a peppy tour guide. I think it was Hemingway that said that if you really want to get to know a place then you should skip the churches and the tourist spots and go to the bars.
Maybe Hemingway didn’t say that. Maybe he just lived it.
But regardless, I will never get to know Spain if I stick with my tour group. And I will never get to know Sevilla if I don’t take at least one weekend to look around. So I looked around.
I started at the museum of fine art, where I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. I’m developing an appreciation for Catholic art, especially with regards to the saints. It took a while, but I’m starting to see beauty in what I originally found to be overwhelmingly repetitive.
After that I ate lunch at the top of Las Setas. A sandwich my host mother lovingly prepared for me. I people watched and felt the sun get higher and hotter through the day.
Siesta was originally a sort of punchline for me, but it’s starting to become a necessary part of my life. The sun in Spain is so hot and high that it’s hard to imagine accomplishing anything just like it would be ludicrous to expect a bank to be open at 3 AM. Resting in the afternoon seems a sort of inevitability just like sleeping at night or waking up in the morning.
So I rested. Then I explored more.
I did some research on some unusual sites in Sevilla. And one of the results really interested me. In certain convents in the city it’s traditional for the nuns to make candy from centuries-old, top-secret recipes. These nuns have no contact with the outside world, so in order to buy the candy you put your money on a lazy susan, they put the candy on the other side, and they spin it around. You can speak to them through the wall but you never see their faces.
Another interesting thing about this is that they can’t the amount of money that you put on the turnstile. So when they give you the candy, it’s completely based on trust that you have actually put anything on there.
So I decided to venture out to El Convento de San Leandro, about a ten minute walk from my apartment. After getting a little bit lost I finally find it. An unobtrusive beige church with a modest door.
I went inside where there was an even more modest courtyard. It was completely silent except for the sounds of birds chirping, and even though I looked around I could not see a single one. There were a few trees planted in the middle of the courtyard, a few lush plants. There were a few windows that were barely open, just enough to see a few signs of life on the other side of the glass.
I walked nervously up to the turnstile in the corner of the convent. There I found a buzzer and pressed it once. On the other side of the wall I could hear feet shuffling around, doors opening and closing until I could hear traces of sound close to wear I was standing. Muffled voices, objects being moved around, and then a woman’s voices saying “Ave Maria”.
I froze. I had memorized what I was supposed to say: “sin pecado,” which is Spanish for “without sin”. I had practiced this phrase on the walk over here. But now the only word running through my head is “parecido” which means “similar”. The word choice seems ironic, I’ve never done anything similar to this in my life. I’m not sure what it is about nuns that makes me so intimidated, and yet even though I can’t see this woman I feel her disdain through the wooden turnstile that separates us. I mumble my order, the smallest size of something called “yemas” and leave it at that.
I put my money on the turnstile and it turns, revealing a pale wooden box with a label on it. I pick it up and it’s extremely heavy. I say thank you and try to open the box. It’s stapled shut. Instead I take a picture, put the box in my purse, and get ready to leave. Not before taking one last look around at the mysterious and silent convent.
Out in the street, I try one more time to open the box of sweets. No luck. So I brought it home where I managed to crack the box open.
They’re more like a pastry. They’re very sugary on the outside with a doughy middle. They’re good, but very filling. And as my host mother told me, they will make me fat.
I’ve eaten three anyway. What other time in your life can you eat historical convent dulces?