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Alfonso Velez Tavora

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My cup of tea

Hi guys! I hope you are as excited as me to start over with this blog. I have chosen to write about different coffee shops in Sevilla this time, as most of you like studying at places with a cool atmosphere. Starbucks in Sevilla is an overrated place, the prices are too high for the Spanish students and the quality not good enough compared to other places… so why not going to an actual coffee shop in downtown Sevilla? You’ll notice that Sevilla is a very traditional city, but that does not mean that we don’t have trends, and that we don’t know the meaning of “hipster places”. So put your computer and books in your bag and get ready to discover all these wonderful places full of magic (and free wifi) I’m going to list them here below: PHOTO 1 Un gato en bicicleta - Calle Pérez Galdós, 22, 41004 Sevilla. In this place you will find some art exhibitions in the walls and a good cinnamon smell. They hold special events like concerts every month. You can check their FB page, where they post all of the information. PHOTO 2 El Gallo Rojo - Calle Viriato, 9, 41003 Sevilla This place is full of natural light, with wide windows and comfy sofas. It’s a quiet place during the afternoon but in the evening they normally organize dancing class, jazz concerts, taco nights and even DJ sessions! They also have lots of different desserts, including vegan cakes. PHOTO 3 Caótica Calle José Gestoso, 8, 41003 Sevilla This is both a coffee shop and a bookshop. The first floor is a regular coffee shop with a nice decoration but in the second floor they hold lots of book presentations and speeches about literature, worth a try! PHOTO 4 Torch Coffee Roasters - Paseo de las Delicias, 3, 41001, Sevilla (Next to McDonalds) This coffee shop is not as wild as the others. This place is more simple regarding decoration but it’s still nice, close to Los Remedios and definitely a quiet place to gather at. PHOTO 5 La Cacharrería Calle Regina, 14, 41003 Sevilla This tiny little place is full of all kinds of objects – even one of the walls is covered by 5 cents coins –  and the cakes here are delicious. You don’t have to come to this places to just study or concentrate, but also to enjoy them! The waiters are always nice and you should also try the different juices and teas they serve. These are just some of the places I recommend you to go, but changes are always happening and every now and then a new spot opens, so be ready to discover all this locations and if you happen to find a newer and cooler one don’t hesitate to contact me!  

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“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the waaaaaaay”

Winter is coming, we all know that, didn’t you notice the cold? But so it’s Christmas! These days that we spend with our family and friends. The ones who have behaved good will receive many presents, and those who haven’t… too! Christmas is the time when people show all of their kindness and you can notice these feelings in almost everyone. For those who are living in Spain, and especially in Sevilla, there are some facts you should know that we have not in common with you. For example, to begin with, I think you all know who this famous person is: [caption id="attachment_1312" align="aligncenter" width="214"]Papa Noel Papa Noel[/caption] Yeah! It’s Santa Claus. He is supposed to live in Finland during the year, close to Rovaniemi. Here, though, we call him Papá Noel. It would be like “father Noel”, and he is supposed to come every Christmas Eve, after dinner, to our houses, knock our door and leave a few presents. You may be wondering why did I say a few, and that’s because we don’t get our presents on Christmas day! We wait until almost the end of our holiday period, January 6th, the morning when we all wake up and find many presents mainly in the living room. And who has left all these presents? We believe it’s the Three Wise Men (or in Spanish, Los Reyes Magos). [caption id="attachment_1313" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Reyes Magos Reyes Magos[/caption] Their names are Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. The last one is supposed to be a person of colour. Most children here go nuts about their arrival during the night of the 5th of January to the 6th. They leave sweets, three glasses of wine, and even water bowls for the thirsty camels! I have been doing it myself for many years… Besides, the Three Wise Men appear in the Nativity scene. In Spain this is an important thing, and you will see that, apart from the Christmas tree, many families put a nativity scene in their houses (mainly in the hall or the living room). These nativity scenes can be tiny ones (with Mary, Joseph and little Jesus) or incredibly big. You’ll see many fans of this tradition, some people even install fountains or an electricity system for all of the houses of the town of Bethlehem, where baby Jesus was born. Another fact you should know is that we don’t have Christmas trees farms. And it’s a pity. Most of us have plastic trees (some of them full of dust because they turn old). But, remember, we have cool nativity scenes! On Christmas holidays, students don’t have classes from around December 20th until January 8th. We celebrate Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) which takes place on December 24th evening, la comida del día de Navidad (big meal at Christmas day), Nochevieja (New Year's Eve) and la Cabalgata de Reyes, that is, a big parade on the evening of January 5th. The Three Wise Men are there (normally they are famous local people in the city, such as the Mayor of the city, dressed up like them) and they toss away many sweets and even give away jamones! I hope you all enjoy these days our traditions - you’ll see fantastic Christmas decoration and many Christmas markets in the city center. Maybe you’ll want to buy the first figures of the nativity scene to start your own in the US!

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HALLOWEEN

¡Hola chicos y chicas! I hope you’re doing great and making the most of this experience on this side of the Atlantic. The topic I have chosen to write about this time is HALLOWEEN. url As you may expect, in Spain we don’t take the Halloween tradition that serious. I mean, some children do go out and ask for candies but that is not part of our culture and were are not that used to the scary night. This tradition has pagan origins, and the Spanish culture has mainly followed the Catholic events. Halloween has trended here few years ago, and you will notice that it lasts only one night, no events before. Many people watch horror movies that night to feel somehow the Anglo-Saxon spirit, but actually we don’t practice this tradition. So, you won't be seeing carved pumpkins in the streets, but probably you’ll find young children dressed like Dracula or any monster. Some regions in Spain like Cataluña, Asturias and Castilla y Leon, instead, celebrate the Magosto or Castanyada (mostly in the northern part), that consists in cooking chestnuts in a bonfire on the 31st night. I would also like to add that our tradition in these days is the celebration of the Dia de Todos Los Santos, which is on the following day, November 1st. It’s a national holiday (so most business will be closed) and people traditionally go to the graves of their families and dedicate the day to clean everything there. But don’t panic! Many discos are planning to do some Halloween themed parties with customs and decoration on the night of October 31st. You may want to go clubs, as some of them will be decorated for the occasion. Besides, many people are already thinking about what costume they’re going to wear and you will see very cool ones. portada-halloween-españa Apart from the discos, there are also other activities planned for these days like an art exposition about monsters at the Delimbo Art Gallery (in the Alfalfa district) and a tour around the Judería (Jewish quarter) telling ghost tales on the 31st evening. You may also want to go to the Halloween Party at Isla Mágica (the Amusement Park at the Isla de la Cartuja) with further information available in its website: https://www.islamagica.es/fiestastematicas/halloween.php I hope you guys have fun that evening, even if you choose to celebrate it in the American, European or even African way!

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Why don’t we go there?

[caption id="attachment_1286" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Alameda de Hercules Alameda de Hercules[/caption] Everytime we move into a new city we try to look for a place where we can feel comfortable, free. Some people choose a coffee shop, some others a specific bench in a park. Some others, like me, choose an entire neighbourhood. During your stay in Seville you will see many other places, but for me it is particularly the Alameda where I feel that thing I was talking about before. The Alameda de Hércules is a square in the city center that has never been much famous. However, it has turned into a very interesting place nowadays. Located in the Macarena district, it has become a boheme place where you will find people of all styles and races. You will also notice that is the young people who come here mostly. It was supposed to be a park, but due to the floods that used to happen, it never grew any grass. So you can only see the cobbled floor with little spaces in between where grass was supposed to grow. There are also many benches all around where people come maybe just to talk or maybe to play an instrument. Besides, you can identify the Alameda because of the four columns located in the square: two at the front and two at the rear. These columns are from the roman period and they were brought in their entirety from an excavation close to the Cathedral. You will also recognize it because it is a green area with poplar trees (which translation, Álamo, gives the name to the place) all along the square. The place nowadays is full of pubs all around, with affordable prices and lot of concerts too. There is also a cheap cinema with special offers on Wednesdays. At least once a month they organize some markets with different themes, it could be a normal fair, or a handmade products one, or a secondhand clothing. In wintertime, even though it does not snow in Seville, from late December until February you can go there and do some ice skating or have a hot chocolate! So if you ever happen to be in Seville and have nothing to do, you can always come and see what’s happening that day, I’m sure you won’t regret going!

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