Even though it was raining. Danielle and I took the bus to the centro urbano. (Rosemary decided to stay and catch up with her self and her emails at the hotel)
A French couple from the hotel were also headed for the Cathedral and they escorted us through the narrow streets of the Juderia, the old Jewish quarter- narrow, winding lanes, with tall apartment blocks dating from 14th century. So full of character and history as in all the Spanish cities, the Jews were evicted just before Christopher Columbus set off for America in 1492.
We kept glimpsing the cathedral between the buildings, but did not grasp ts immensity till we stood in the massive interior. The biggest gothic church in Europe, embellished with dozens of ornate renaissance and baroque side chapels. Such an overload of detail in the carving, oil paintings and gold . How the simplicity of the Christian faith could have developed into this display of wealth and power! All on the site of a Moslem mosque, to emphasise the triumph of the new catholic regime.
Stamping feet, snapping fingers and tossing heads, with passionate guitar playing, and a deep gutteral wailing
Our evening of Flamenco was so much more than I expected. We were shown different types of flamenco, which had its roots in the dances and songs of the dispossessed, and is performed with an intense anguish . Three young women each danced, wearing brilliantly coloured dresses with long frilled trains. These they kicked back, as they stamped and licked their feet in complex rhythms, which were answered by guitars and loud contrapuntal handclapping.
Two men also danced, wearing dinner jackets, which they swung and held, like bull fighters. Again the clicking and stamping and tapping, not unlike river dance, the fiery head tossing, leaping and swirling.
We had seats a metre from the stage, and we watched and clapped and gasped, while sipping Sangria and nibbling tapas- paella, meat balls, cheese, hams, potato salad, bread, finishing with fruity ice-cream.
The flamenco evenings at El Arenal are held nightly, designed for tourists and great value and atmosphere. Afterwards we wandered the cobblestone streets, misty with rain. At 10pm people were walking, drinking and eating in cafes, riding bikes, wheeling babies, laughing and talking. We took photos of the floodlight ancient buildings and felt very sad to be leaving Andalucía.