Flamenco Trip Day #1 – Arrival in Sevilla, get comfy in apartment, flamenco shoe shopping, dine at a typical tapas bar

  • taniagoh
  • Jan 19, 2024

It’s Day #1 of our Flamenco Culture Trip !

The girls are arriving in Sevilla and I’m getting ready to meet them this afternoon!

I’m excited for them to experience as much as they can during their short time.

I’m so glad they made it! It was not all easy for each person set aside time and resources to experience learning flamenco in Spain.

 

For this particular year’s trip,  almost all of us arrived separately in Madrid, and were rather independent.

We then coordinated so that they would meet at Madrid’s Atocha train station to catch the AVE high-speed train I booked for them to Sevilla.

 

Meanwhile, I was already in Sevilla to prepare finishing touches with Manuel, my flamenco maestro.

I collaborate with him for this specially curated annual programme, based at this well-known Estudios de Manuel Betanzos.

Here we are in the video, discussing the details. Looks like we are arguing, but we aren’t. We’re just having a lively brainstorm Spanish expressive style, and then we’re ‘at peace’, eating the yummy lunch he prepared.

 

Day 1 is also when we check into our accommodation in Sevilla.

It’s one that I booked for our group, and I managed to find one that would house the majority of us.

It’s not always easy, because our trip dates coincided with one of the biggest events in Sevilla – the Holy Week!

In previous trips, we had different apartments spread around Triana.

Tip: Get to know the locations and choose accommodation that is easy walking distance to the studio.

 

I go early before the girls arrive  to get the keys, and with the manager, check out that everything is in place.

It’s always fun to explore the lodging we’re going to stay in.

This reminds me of girls’ day out or camping where we spend time together, see whether we survive it together (yes, we did, with great camaraderie and memories!)

 

Ok, rooms allocated! And off we go to explore!

We are near the river, so we stroll along leisurely to take in the sights.

Emilie and Therese who had just arrived from international flights are still zonked out from their trip, but they were game to go.

The others who had acclimatised earlier in Madrid had body clocks in tune with Spanish time.

 

I point out that the River Guadalquivir in Sevilla is a really historic one.

Because it’s where the first expedition around the world set off in 1519.

Hey for those of you who’ve been to Sevilla already and seen the river many times, did you know this?

I didn’t in my earlier years.

It was only when I wanted to share more about Spanish culture with my students, that I started to read more, and see beyond what the eye was seeing.

 

It’s spring time!

And one of my favourite times to be in Sevilla with blue skies and warm weather.

Sevilla is one of Europe’s prettiest towns!

Look up at the orange trees.

You can see a few bright orange ones left over from autumn too!

In spring,  the blossoms (azahares) start giving off their distinctive aroma in spring.

It’s a sensory memory I love the girls to experience.

 

Coffee and cake stop for our merienda (late afternoon tea-time!).

Yes, they are getting into the flow of Spanish life.

Best simple things to do, have your cafe con leche.

Somehow it always taste better in Spain, haha! But maybe it’s because for me, it represents  the consciousness of ‘me-time’?

We get to choose our own cakes, and then share them around. That’s how we get to taste more! Yum!

 

I’m conscious of time, because we also have to get to the shops, to get Catherine her first pair of flamenco shoes – before our first class starts tomorrow morning!

That’s all jotted in my itinerary for the girls. So Day 1 already includes a flamenco shoe shopping experience.

We got to the first shop and the girls are like kids in a candy shop.

It’s exciting for them, just look at the colours and variety!

 

If you are in Spain, yeah, definitely get your shoes, because you can aim to get your best fit and test out the comfort.

It’s harder to get the most comfy fit, if you order online, even with the same brand! Because, you see, each shoe is hand made. Not cookie cutter made.

We definitely spent quite a lot of time here!

Where to start?

 

Quick tips for how to buy flamenco shoes

Start with your size – length, width and also the circumference of your foot.

Then you can head into fancier stuff like your design preference – the material, colour, type of heel, height.

Also different brands may suit you differently.

So don’t just stop at one shop, go explore others.

We headed to a second nearby shop and checked the range and fitting out too.

Finally! We made the purchases to equip the girls for their classes – shoes, skirts and all!

Believe me, that takes quite a bit of energy and consideration, so you need to give yourself time when you go flamenco shopping.

Experience dinner at a typical Spanish tapas bar

Time to nourish the body now and try some yummalicioius Spanish food!

This is definitely part of our flamenco culture trip, outside the studio, where we experience Spanish lifestyle and immerse ourselves into the local action.

I don’t take them to a touristy part of Sevilla.

I take them to a very typical tapas bar in Triana with some of my favourites.

Squeeze around the bar counter, standing up, it’s the casual culture of Tapas Bars.

Might be a bit noisy, but hey, that’s part of the experience.

The waiters are friendly and fast.

Out comes our dishes.

Yum, the croquetas (fried croquettes), alcachofas (artichokes in season), squid ink black rice and more!

Just delicious, and by the way, it’s really affordable, especially when shared amongst us all, and when compared to our own countries!

Yeah, that pretty much summed up Day 1, afternoon to night in Sevilla.

Time to head back and rest.

So we can rise and shine for our first flamenco class with Manuel, mañana!

 

NEXT FLAMENCO CULTURE TRIP

. . .

2024: 5 – 7 April, Madrid + 8 – 13 April, Sevilla

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