A traveller and his friend are glancing through leaflets about Seville, wishing to find the best place to stay.
I want to know the real Seville and sleep surrounded by its history.
He rejects a leaflet after the other. He can’t find a lodging fitting his needs. He knows it exists, though. He knows it is there.
Don’t keep on looking, my friend. This may be the hotel we have dreamed of
It is exactly what he had imagined. All what he is looking for. The charm, authenticity, beauty, and history. A Seville beheld by privileged eyes.
The traveller is now facing Hotel Simón, his luggage at his feet. He is somehow disoriented, but he can see the sign of the hotel behind the glass.
I have the feeling that these days are going to be unforgettable.
The tiredness can’t prevent him from getting excited. It had been an endless wait. Behind him, there’s a big luggage. Before him, there’s the thrill of living extraordinary experiences.
He is given the keys to his room and the receptionist speaks:
Mr. Nelson, here are your keys. Have a nice stay
He takes them and follows the indications to get to his room. Astonished, he stops in front of every picture, in front of each of the antiquities the hotel treasures. He realises something is different in that place, that some sort of secret is hidden behind its doors.
The host is now in his room; the luggage next to his bed and he sits, eyeing a map of the city.
I have made all my plans and going to make the best of my stay here.
In the map he has drawn red circles which mark the places he is willing to know, each step and move. Everything is close to the hotel. Nevertheless, things are not going to work out as planned.
He goes out of the building. The street is changed and only the facade of the hotel remains the same. His surroundings have acquired the appearance of a time that is gone, as if he had travelled to the Cervantine Spain of the Siglo de Oro.
I think I am not mistaken when I state this is not the same street I stepped on before.
And it is not. Under his feet there’s a dusty way, and at its horizon a street full of passer-bys, chivalry, debris, and stalls opens up before him. The crowd does not let him walk easily. Everything is pure and real.
A pedestrian, noticing the traveller’s disorientation, stops before him. He is a merchant, but he is not trying to sell anything and only wants to guide him.
Who in Seville never wandered never saw a wonder.
The man only utters these words. There is no need for more. The time seems to have stopped. But it doesn’t only seem so, it has happened. At this moment the traveller realises what is going on; he has the chance to live something unique.
Now they are in front of the Cathedral of Seville. It is still under construction. Around it there is a square with lots of people: street stalls, merchants, sailors, children running, etc.
The divine has materialised in the city.
The traveller is looking out the walls of the city. He beholds his surroundings, perplexed. The Cathedral and the bell tower. He looks around him. He doesn’t want to miss a single detail, and let himself go with the flow. This is not time to think, but to step into the living story of the city.
He meets Cervantes. The writer, sitting at a table, holds his pen and the papers get lost on the table.
What can be felt can be told.
Over there, sitting on his humble chair, the author of Don Quixote is playing with his ideas. Between them, almost unconsciously, a tacit treaty is signed. He is compromised to perceive with his five senses what he was seeing. Only that way he will be able to express it out loud.
He walks down Santa Cruz.
If only the world could see Seville through these very eyes, they would know what real beauty is.
The traveller doesn’t follow a regular pattern. He just walks. He doesn’t stop his steps. He enjoys each scene that goes on in front of his eyes, as if he were inside of a book. The multiculturality that invades the narrow streets gives the city a special ambiance.
He finds Velázquez drawing at a garden.
Make sure your dreams become your goals and don’t remain just as dreams.
A life lesson, a before and an after. The path is there for you to go on. Only that way your dreams will come true. If you believe so, you will make it. And he does so, step by step.
He walks parallel to the wall. A great door with a great transit of people and carriages serves as the access to the city.
Stones that with the passage of time took with them Seville’s secrets.
A custom serves as an access to the city. The goods are circulating and there are transient merchants. Quietly, he starts reading the verses engraved in Puerta de Jerez; the history of a city inscribed in its walls.
In front of the Torre del Oro, he stares at the Puente de Barcas and the Guadalquivir full of vessels. There he meets Lope de Vega, who recites him a seguiriya.
Vienen de Sanlúcar rompiendo el agua a la Torre del Oro barcos de plata
Vessels coming down the river start to unload the wealth that comes from the colonies at the shore of Triana. Seville, economic capital of the ancient Europe and epicentre of the world. Different cultures go to and fro in front of his eyes. That is the power of a booming city.
He is alone and lost on a street; a small way with different houses made of wood, brick, and stone.
The most important thing in life is fulfilling your dreams, and I can say I have made it
He is exhausted, astonished, and trying to understand what is happening. This Seville he had seen in pictures, characters he had read about, and artists that fill up the museums now acquire a new form, a real, palpable, and reachable identity.
He wakes up on his bed, at the hotel room.
The dream was a door to reality.
It is a very thin line that separates fiction from reality, present from past events. The traveller crosses that door and, lost between both worlds, he wakes from his rest. He had lost himself in the charm of the hotel, in its magic and spell.
He leaves the hotel and finds himself at the present time. Seville looks like it does today.
Two Sevilles in one. The classic and the contemporary. Two ways of feeling that I take back with me
In silence, he gets lost again down the alleys. The lights. The people. The scent. Everything adopts a new shade. His luck had been being able to fuse with to epochs, to meet the essence of the city from the inside. A memory that stays with him and that, as he promised, he would try to explain with the exact words. Though it was indescribable.