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Cathedral and Alcazar skip the line admission tickets

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ADMISSION-PRIORITY-ALCAZAR-SEVILLEThe ALCAZAR Royal palace of Seville, called Reales Alcazares, receives every year more than 2 millions visitors. The lines at the gate could be very long and tiring, especially during high season: March, April, May, June, September, December.

The ways to skip the lines are three, thus any of these above options give you priority above the regular long line:

 
    1. Visit the site with guide + prepaid tickets (general admission tickets sold here), this way you will get absolute priority rights. Book your private guide.
    2. Visit the site with guide (and buy your admissions on the spot), this way you will get second priority rights, this means you fall on the guide's led groups line but not on the long ticketless visitor's line. This option is good after 1:00 PM, when the mass of tourists go to lunch and the guides' lead groups disappear from the line. Book your private guide.
    3. Visit the site on your own with prepaid tickets (general admission tickets + audioguide sold here), this way you will get priority rights on every other line that you see.

  tickets-cathedral-SEVILLEThe Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria of Seville, receives every year over 1.5 millions visitors. The lines at the gate and under the sun or in the rain could be very nasty and annoying, especially during high season: March, April, May, June, September, December.

The ways to skip the lines are four, ans any of these above options give you priority above the regular long line:

 
  1. Visit the site with guide + prepaid tickets (tickets including Cathedral and Giralda are sold here), this way you will get absolute priority rights. In so doing, you will be able to jump over any line in matter of seconds. You and your guide will enter the gate at the foot of Giralda tower, not the general gate! Book your private guide.
  2. Visit the site with guide (and buy your admissions at counter), this way you will get priority rights, this means you fall on the guides-led groups line, but not on the long ticketless visitor's line. This option is good after 1:00 PM, when the mass of tourists go to lunch and the guides' lead groups disappear from the line. Book your private guide.
  3. Visit the site on your own with prepaid tickets (tickets including Cathedral and Giralda are sold here), this way you will also get priority rights. Enter the Cathedral through the gate at the foot of Giralda tower, not the general gate!
  4. Visit the site on your own and buy tickets at counter between six days and the day before your visit, at the Basilica del Salvador, Plaza del Salvador (Sevilla old town): Monday to Saturday from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM and Sunday from 2:30PM too 5:00PM. You will enter the Cathedral from the gate at the foot of Giralda tower, not the general gate!

  SKIP-THE-LINE-SEVILLE ¡ Que no te pille el toro ! Don't be catched by the bull ! This is what we say in Seville to mean "prepare things ahead of time"

Alhambra de Graada: entradas inmediatas y sin esperas ni colas

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The best way to get immediate and guaranteed access tickets to Alhambra (jump over the lines), is to buy the tickets online here.   meeting place Alhambra tour In case they were sold out, you may buy the Granada card here. This card gives you access to all sites and monuments of the city of Granada, including Alhambra (Nasrid palaces, Gardens, Generalife palace and gardens, Alcazaba military fort).   The picture shows the traditional meeting point at Alhambra gate (el mapa, this is the "map wall")   Is it advisable to do the line at counter and try to purchase the tickets on the spot? Absolutely not. If you Book your private guide you will never do lines.

La guitarra que Barack Obama se dejó en Sevilla.

Quizás no sepan que el 9 de julio de 2016 la ciudad de Sevilla, como una hermosa gitana se vestía con su mejor traje de lunares para acoger al ex-presidente de los Estados Unidos Barack Obama, uno de los invitados más prestigiosos que jamás haya transitado por la ribera del Guadalquivir.


El ex-presidente americano, de vuelta de la base naval estadounidense en Rota, tenía en su programa visita relámpago a la capital de andaluza, antes de regresar a los Estados Unidos desde el aeropuerto de Madrid.


El anuncio de la visita -acogido con un gran orgullo por el entonces alcalde Juan Espadas "Es una noticia magnífica"  había desencadenado la curiosidad de los sevillanos. La visita, ni que decir tiene, estaba provista de un rígido protocolo de seguridad (no se sabría hasta el último momento si el ex-presidente se quedaría en el moderno Gran Meliá Colón o en el histórico y lujoso Hotel Alfonso XIII); lo que sin embargo no impidió que se filtraran numerosos detalles sobre su visita.


Guide Antonio Jesus Naranjo showing michelle obama the town of Ronda
El Guía Jesús Naranjo y Michelle Obama en Ronda
Según las noticias, Obama debería trascurrir en la capital hispalense alrededor de 18 horas. Habría visitado la Catedral, subiendo a la Torre de la Giralda, desde donde habría saludado a la multitud, aclamado. Acompañado del rey Felipe VI, y de uno de los 600 guías turísticos preseleccionados para la ocasión, habría desarrollado una visita del Real Alcázar de unos 45 minutos. El tráfico del centro, incluso el de ciclomotores y bicicletas, habría estado cortado. Ni Michelle Obama, ni la Reina Letizia habrían acompañado a sus maridos, y la previsión atmosférica (45º) indicaban que Obama habría saboreado de cerca la conocida calóh (calor sofocante), tan típica de los veranos sevillanos.

El dramático hecho de Dallas del 7 y 8 de julio obligaron al ex-Presidente a anular la visita y volver rápidamente a los Estados Unidos para gestionar la espiral de tensión racial de que fue protagonista el país durante el 2016.


La guitare flamenca d'Obama
Aquello que queda de la visita de Barack Obama es la asombrosa guitarra flamenca que el maestro guitarrero Antonio Bernal había creado especialmente para el presidente, y que aún hoy, pacientemente, espera a ser recogida.
Disculpe Presidente, ¿cuándo regresa? A propósito, recuerde que la Casa Blanca ya pagó su tour privado, y nuestro guía le espera 😉

ROCIO : THE CARAVAN OF LIGHT

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Andalusians generally spend a lot of money on pilgrimages, to make their yearly visits to the Virgin much-talked-about. sin pecado rocio sevillaThe pilgrimage is not just a festive consequence of a Christian eagerness (mostly for the Virgin Mary), but there are many attractions even before the beginning of the pilgrimage. Dressing in the pilgrim (romero/romera) costume is a ritual that is fulfilled in all of its senses, physical, spiritual, folk.

Getting together again with the eternal friends from the fraternity, enjoying the preparations, decorating the Simpecado (standard carried on a wheeled altar), and preparing one's own wagon and turn it into a singing cloud, leaving the quarters triumphantly, like a troop ready to conquer, on horseback with or without one's partner, among applause (like the legions of Caesar), with the sound of drums and Sevillana songs... girls costums seville festival

In the mornings Seville has a special light decorated by the slow transit of wagons drawn by patient oxen that look like creatures from another civilization. And in the place of honor is the Simpecado, which is the center of worship until the brotherhood reaches the village of Almonte along the way with singing and dancing prayers, water and wine celebrating the time that is to come. In the village the queen is the image of the Virgin, found centuries ago by a hunter.

The morning the pilgrims leave they shine more than the sun; the bells pealing with joy encourage the spring adventure, and the rest is an exhibition of a traveling popular art, of invisible loving hands. The way to the village is something else, voices drop when the city is left way behind, the pilgrims' throats are sore and their feet feel heavy, they have to measure their strength. The third act is the leiv motiv: staying in the crowded village, the sacred place of the Blanca Paloma (= White Dove, the popular name of the Virgin in this village).

The return may look like a retiring army full of emotions, but this is not so, they still have strength to sing sadly about the end of the pilgrimage until the following year, so far away...devotion virgin mary rociodevotion blanca paloma rocio

A DRINK AND A TAPA AT A SPANISH BAR

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Bar, taverns and not pubs, which is something different; the place for tapas and drinks, is like the emergency room of a hospital: it becomes gloomy or it becomes lively without anyone being able to foresee it, except at certain times for breakfast, snack time and early coffee.

Not only hunger takes us to bars, there are other more subtle reasons. We really go when we want to satisfy our spirit, either because we need to think or the opposite. A bar is always one's own territory even when we to into one for the first time, though the most important part is to get a place, always the same place, and a friend who just by looking at you when you come in can I appreciate the way you feel that day. The classical bar addict will refuse any seat, he will step on the foot rest and will lean on the bar with his elbow in natural elegance, hiking a strategic corner where he cannot bother anyone and no one will bother him.

The bar tender knows when to come up to him and when to serve at a certain distance; without any questions he will serve the beer or wine with the same calmness as a doctor handing a prescription. A good bar is a bar that entertains the five senses, though taste is the most important.

If one comes out purified from a bar after staying there for the right amount of time, not a minute more, because the bar tender will lose interest in you from that moment on; however, what most bothers him is, when you enter and leave in a stampede, in a hurry between sips and bites.

One can not always choose their company. You have to know how to handle boring people. And when you leave the bar with the unavoidable "friend" you just met, playing to he new friends with the head full of drinks, do not ask him for a business card, because after the last hug you will both be complete strangers. A bar creates this illusion, because in real world there is no one who is able to agree with me for two hours. Remember him as a picture with no name of a while in limbo.

To sum up, a bar exists for us to feel good with ourselves. Its social facet is only apparent.

Madrid: Going OUT

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- a post from my special guest Gemma García -

Many of my guests are also visiting Madrid during their trip to Spain and many ask me to recommend them a good tour guide in Madrid. Today it's my pleasure to introduce you to Gemma, from Madrid Cool & Cultural, who's sharing her passion for Madrid with a very special guest post.

gemma garcía madrid cool and cultural

Madrid: Going OUT

Madrid seemed frantic to become a copy of any other European metropolis, but now the city feels more Spanish again. Resourcefulness, creativity and reinvention are bubbling up in art galleries, designer ateliers and restaurants. The city’s symbol may be a bear, but for style, culture, history and sybaritic delights, there are plenty of reasons to be bullish on Madrid.

Are you following us?

ART- Art in Madrid is motion since the 14th till the 21st century. Allow us to astonish you with pictures to be watched through a mirror, with moving tables, with stone made characters that look real.

LIGHT- Madrid Light is magic and makes its maze-like streets change in every corner, rendering each trip unique and different. That is why it may have been an inspiration source for so many painters.

WATER – Crucial element in our original name MAGIRITH –mother of water- it made Arabs dream with its hearing and Jewish enjoy their purifying Migbés.

SHOP – From art galleries transformed into bars, to amazing artists ateliers, it’s to be included one of our favourite leather factories that was founded in Madrid in 1850. Loewe will take you to the glamourous Gran Vía where Ava Gardner used to walk up and down towards her beloved shop window.

GASTRONOMY-

“ Is Madrid a brave town, that with older and more modern, has it more than 100 taverns and one single bookshop in place”.

This was stated 300 years ago by one of our most distinguished neighbours and still the ratio hasn’t changed much. Traditional taverns, gastrobars and its 18 Michelin stars won’t disappoint you.

Do you trust us? Let us show you these places of the beaten path where only locals go.

Always passionate about Art and History, after living for a year in Boston, USA, she decided to turn her hobby into her profession and founded Madrid Cool & Cultural in September 2010, focused exclusively on organizing tours for small groups of artistically and culturally motivated travelers. Her tours are very creative: her experience as a traveler and lover of art, culture, and gastronomy has being extremely useful in designing a unique product, molded to the tastes of each client and the time spent in town.

Gemma García,

founder MC&C, Madrid Cool & Cultural

M Phone: +1 857 400 0695 +34 627 594 496

www.madridcoolandcultural.com

Passion of the South: the Flamenco Forms

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The Setting macanita-de-jerezThe plaza of a southern Spanish pueblo, 1.30am, July maybe August. The temperature has finally subsided to comfortable levels. The crowd gossips animated­ly. Women fan themselves. Bottles clink on glass. A loud laugh peals out from a bar door... On a makeshift stage in a corner of the square, a seated guitarist begins to play... a run, a ripple, an eddy, a moody shuffle. The percussion section behind him, three pairs of syncopated hands, joins in. One member lets out a shout of excitement. The crowd lends an ear.

The singer, seated near the guitarist, raises her head. She waits, six, seven seconds, rocking gently to the underlying rhythm. She emits a blood-curdling, quavering shriek. The crowd lends both ears. If she has the spirit — the spirit of the song and the spirit to com­municate it to the crowd — they will stay riveted to their spots until she finishes. If she hasn't quite got it, the chatter will slowly start up again and gradually the crowd will thin.

The Forms Flamenco is a trinity of arts — song, dance and music — that first took recognisable bailaor-flamencoform among gitanos (Roma people) in Andalucia's lower Guadalquivir valley in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Its remoter origins may have included Muslim music and verses from medi­eval Spain, possibly the Byzantine chant sung long ago in Visigothic churches, and songs brought to Spain in the Middle Ages by the Gitanos themselves. Much flamenco is undoubtedly reminiscent of song and dance from India, where the gitanos supposedly originated.

The earliest flamenco was cante jondo (deep song), a tortured lament that grew from the experience of the marginalised gitanos, pushed to the periphery of Spanish society. jondura (depth, profoundness) is still the essence of flamenco, and some of the early jondo forms are still sung — notably the martinete, whose only accompaniment is the sound of a hammer striking an anvil, as in the smithies where many Gitanos worked. A flamenco singer is known as a cantaor (male) or cantaora (female); a dancer is a bailaor/a. Most of the songs and dances are performed to the guitar of the tocaor/a. Flamenco's scales and rhythms can be difficult for the average beginner to tune in to, but it's hard to remain unmoved by its passionate intensity. Technically speaking, flamenco differs from most Western music by using the Phrygian mode, in which the interval between the first and second notes of an eight-note scale is a semitone. In conventional Western music the interval is a whole tone. Spaniards, especially Andalucians, have always loved dancing, and it was only natural that dance (baile in flamenco contexts) should soon accompany song.

Traditional costumes For women, the Shawl, fan and long, frilly bata de cola dress; for men, flat Cordoban hats and tight black trousers — date from Andalucian fashions in the late 19th century, when flamenco first took to public stages. There are several main song types (palos). The siguiriya, an expres-sion of intense despair about loss or death, is the biggest test of a singer's ability. It's thought to have originated in Jerez de la Frontera, one of the three key cities of flamenco's lower Guadalquivir heartland. The solea, marginally less anguished, probably came from the Triana district of Seville, for centuries a gitano quarter. The livelier alegria is a contribution from the third city, Cadiz. Jerez is also the home of the buleria, the fastest, most upbeat type of song. Relatively lighter forms include the tango, originally from Cadiz, and its derivatives the rumba, guajira and colombiana, all with Latin American influences.

artist-manuel-molinaThe home of the fandango is Huelva, but other areas also have varieties of fandango — such as Malaga's malagueña and Granada's granaina. Almeria's taranta is not dissimilar. Coplas (flamenco songs) are made up of short, rhyming bursts called tercios; the underlying rhythm is called the compas. The highly popular sevillana dance, learnt by girls all over the country, is not flamenco at all. With high, twirling arm movements, and consisting of four parts each coming to an abrupt halt, the sevillana is probably an Andalucian version of a Castilian folk dance, the seguidilla.

Birth of the Guitar The guitar originated when the 9th-century Cordoba court musician Ziryab added a fifth string to the Arab lute. Around the 1790s a sixth string was added, probably by a Cadiz guitar-maker called Pages. In the 1870s Antonio de Torres of Almeria brought the guitar to its modern shape by enlarging its two bulges and placing the bridge centrally over the lower one to give the instrument its carrying power. Toque (literally touch, this is guitar playing) for a long time functioned solely as accompaniment to singing and dance. Percussion in flamenco is provided by stamping or tapping feet, clapping hands and sometimes castanets.

Buscando a un Barbero en Sevilla

Opera House Seville tourLa Opera posee un escenario fundamental, sin él los grandes libretos no existirían. No es Viena ni París, es Sevilla. Las mejores obras tienen a la capital de Andalucía como escenario de sus tramas a pesar de que sus actores (y a menudo tampoco sus compositores) nunca pisasen la ciudad. Pero la magia de esa Sevilla que había sido la más cosmopolita del mundo, simplemente por oídas, atrapaba a esos escritores que necesitaban historias de amor pasional e imposible en lugares “exóticos”.

Don Giovanni, Carmen, Fidelio, La Forza del Destino, La Favorita... y El Barbero de Sevilla.

El autor de esta última, Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, era un dramaturgo francés que formó parte de la corte de Carlos III entre los años 1764 y 1765. Vino por motivos de negocios y se fue, igualmente, por razones económicas ya que sus deudas se acrecentaron.

Dos años en España le bastaron para quedar fascinado y dar rienda suelta a una creatividad inspirada en la novela ejemplar de Miguel de Cervantes “El Celoso Extremeño”.

Beaumarchais escribió una década después las obras El Barbero de Sevilla y Las Bodas de Fígaro, aunque no saltaron a la fama hasta que Gioacchino Rossini y Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart las adaptaron a la ópera, respectivamente. Hay un tercer libro titulado La Madre Culpable cuya música es de Milhaud y cuya popularidad es bastante menor.

figaro barber shop seville

En la primera, Fígaro, el protagonista, es un famoso barbero de la Sevilla de finales del Siglo XVIII que se hace intimo de un joven noble, el Conde de Almaviva.

El aristócrata, enamorado de Rosina, una joven huérfana cuyo tutor la había secuestrado para casarse con ella y quedarse con su valiosa herencia, le pide ayuda a Fígaro para permitirle encontrar a su amada a solas, burlando la estrecha vigilancia del tutor Don Bartolo.

En la segunda, Las Bodas de Fígaro, el Conde y la ahora Condesa se casan, mientras que Fígaro les ayuda a preparar el enlace pero el Conde traicionará a Fígaro al insidiar a Susana, la prometida del barbero.

 

Aunque Beaumarchais nunca estuvo en Sevilla, el pueblo llano, sus rumores y leyendas hicieron realidad las localizaciones de la opera. Un ejemplo, la propria casa de Fígaro.

De ello se hicieron eco hasta los viajeros románticos del siglo XIX como por ejemplo el escritor británico Augustus Halle que, tras un viaje por España, escribió en su Wanderings in Spain (Londres, 1873): “Justo detrás del Alcázar está la plaza de Santo Tomás. Donde Fígaro el barbero de Sevilla tenía su establecimiento”.

bodeguita casablanca sevilla tapasLógicamente el paisaje urbano ha cambiado un poco, pero si paseáramos por la calle Santander, casi en confluencia con la Avenida de la Constitución, podríamos detenernos ante el edificio que se encuentra frente a la antigua Casa de la Moneda (que espera una restauración), justo donde se encuentra una Bogeduita de tapas, y cambiarlo en nuestra imaginación en una vivienda encalada de una o dos plantas.

En la planta baja aparecería Fígaro atendiendo a sus clientes y afeitándolos con una destreza sin igual. Y en la parte alta, su vivienda, dónde junto al Conde de Almaviva, diseña la estrategia para liberar a la bella Rosina.

Para vivir en primera persona el resto del libreto deberíamos dirigirnos ahora al barrio de Santa Cruz. Callejuelas estrechas y laberínticas que nos trasportan a siglos atrás y dónde Fígaro hacía las suyas.

balcony rosina barber sevilleCaminando, buscaríamos la casa del Don Bártolo el tutor, y el balcón donde Rosina esperaba, oía y anhelaba a su amado Conde de Almaviva disfrazado del estudiante Lindoro. Yo estoy con Carmen Laffón y sitúo el balcón en la calle Segovias donde ahora se encuentra el Hotel Palacio Pinello, cerca del cruce con Argote de Molina.

Carmen Laffón es la escenógrafa del delicioso, auténtico y conseguidísimo Barbero que disfrutamos al Teatro de La Maestranza de Sevilla el pasado Febrero de 2016, en el marco de un tour de la Ópera para Alderan - Note in Viaggio de Roma.

hotel palacio-pinello-sevilleVengan a Sevilla, saboreen la magia, paseen y piérdanse por una media horita por esas calle llenas de leyenda mientras canturrean a Rossini y Mozart. O Bizet, puesto que a dos calles de Ustedes, prés de remparts de Séville / chez mon ami Lillas Pastia, Carmen estará bailando la seguidilla encima de las mesas de la taberna al son de la guitarra gitana y de unos bandoleros haciendo compás y bebiendo Manzanilla. ¿Dónde? Busquen el Callejón del Agua.

De la diosa Astarté a la Virgen del Rocío

LA FESTIVIDAD DEL ROCÍO: DEL RITO TARTÉSICO AL ESPECTÁCULO ACTUAL
almonte rocio-salto-de-la-reja¿Quién no ha oído hablar o visto imagenes del salto de la reja en la aldea del Rocío? ¿Quién no sabe que en este pueblo agrícola de la provincia de Huelva, se celebra la más grande romería europea, que a veces congrega hasta medio millón o más de personas?

Hoy les presento el trabajo académico original de una amiga (Raquel Venegas, Sevilla) acerca de los famosísimos rituales ligados a la romería de la Virgen del Rocío en Almonte, provincia de Huelva, Andalucía. Se trata de un trabajo muy original e sumamente interesante que vincula una vez más el presente cultural de Andalucía y nuestras raíces fenicias y greco-romanas.
Según un documento acopiado por la Hermandad matriz de Almonte y que data de 1798, fue un pastor del SXV (un cazador según otras versiones) quien encontró en un terreno impracticable llamado La Rocina, una estatuilla colocada sobre el tronco de un árbol, la misma que terminó como patrona de Almonte. Esta epifanía sigue esquemas muy comunes en las apariciones marianas: la Virgen es habitualmente hallada en el entorno natural, especialmente cerca de un árbol, y con menos frecuencia dentro de una cueva o a orillas de un río. La pregunta sería ahora qué relación tiene la Virgen María con los entornos campestres o boscosos y por qué ese carácter bucólico.

Para Raúl Ortega, “la que se presenta ante nosotros es en realidad, la Universal Diosa con sus universales atributos, los cuales se imponen más allá de la disparidad en el tiempo y de los credos” (Ortega R., 2013). Una de las primeras grandes diosas de la Antigüedad, prototípica sobre la que se basa la Virgen María es la gran Artemisa griega, dueña de bosques, montes y selvas, de la vegetación y de los animales libres. Orgullosa de su castidad, Artemisa era “una diosa primigenia adorada no como una más del resto de deidades femeninas del panteón heleno sino como la diosa total, la que resumía y acabaría generando a todas las demás” (Ibidem).

La Virgen del Rocío tiene su ermita curiosamente en la zona protegida de Doñana, una de las reservas de la biosfera más grandes y diversas del continente europeo. Tanto María como Artemisa cabrían dentro de una noción más general como es la de Madre Naturaleza. A este respecto, se dice que “la diosa es el alma, lo que le da vida a la materia inerte, la generadora de lo orgánico. Una sustancia intermedia e intermediaria entre el espíritu más abstracto, que es el atributo propio de los dioses masculinos, de lo solar más ascético y elevado, y la seca e inerte materia, así como la Luna está situada entre el Sol y la Tierra. Ella es la exuberante fuente de vida que realiza el mandato del ´Creced y multiplicaos´. Es el Anima Mundi (…)” (Ortega R., 2013). Como la Luna (relacionada con la fecundidad pero también con la noche, lo furtivo, lo fantástico y lo psíquico), la virginidad de la diosa se establece así entre lo natural y lo sobrenatural.
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