April 29, 2019

Enjoying the Feria as a Sevillano

Today we’re going to talk about Sevilla’s Feria de Abril. Most people who visit Sevilla know what it is, but do we know why La Feria exists? For that reason, we are going to talk a little bit about the history of La Feria.

The first Sevilla’s Feria de Abril was held in 1846 when the councillors José María Ibarra and Narciso Bonaplata had the idea of holding an annual three-day fair in the month of April and helping the cattle market of the city. After the approval of Queen Elisabeth II of Span, the first Feria took place on April 18th, 1847 at the Prado de San Sebastián. Nearly 25,000 visitors attended.

Over the years, the Feria became one of the most important festivities in the city and it turned to be a social event instead of a market. It has been celebrated every year except for two years during the Spanish Civil War. Due to the large attendance to La Feria, it had to be moved to its current location, Los Remedios neighborhood.

Nowadays, La Feria is divided into three parts: the street where all the rides are and it’s called Calle del Infierno (Hell Street in English); the Real de la Feria, where all the casetas (tents in English) are; and finally, the parking place. There are fifteen streets at the Real and the name of each street is named after a famous bullfighter. The problem with the casetas is that the majority of them belongs to private associations and families, and you have to be invited by them. However, you can always take a tour around those that belong to free associations or the Sevilla City Hall and are open to the public because no membership is required.

Another special element is the traje de Flamenca, which was a very special robe, typical of farmers, which has been considered the best outfit to visit the April Fair since 1929. This robe has been changing over the time. Nowadays, it is composed of a dress ending in a series of frills, a shawl on the shoulders and, as an updo, a low bun at the hair adorned with a flower. The shoes usually have a small heel, to allow dances.

How to go to the Real de la Feria?

You can easily go by metro, by bus or even walking if you live in Los Remedios neighbourhood! You have to keep in mind that a lot of people go to the Feria so traffic and public transport are going to be very busy.

The bus lines that leave you near the Real are:

  • The special line of Feria, that connects Prado de San Sebastián with the Feria.
  • Circular C1
  • Circular C2
  • Bus nº 41
  • Bus nº 05
  • Bus nº 06

You can consult the route of each bus line with the following App: AppTUSSAM

The closest metro stops are Parque de Los Príncipes, closer to The Real, and Blas Infante, close to the rides. The metro works uninterruptedly during the whole week. Regarding the buses, the above mentioned lines have night service except for bus nº 06.

September 25, 2018

Through other eyes: places to study.

You are in a new beginning of your lives. New country, new city, and even the people are different. As a Spaniard, I can say that we are often known by our parties and traditions, the heat and our outgoing behaviour. But we have our nice and quiet places too: places where you can study in a peaceful way.

To make a good use of this experience, I feel like you should discover those places. I will give you some suggestions for those studying in Sevilla or those who are planning or visiting the city. Here we have public libraries all around the city where you can rent all types of books and movies. Also, they have a space for studying, free Wi-Fi, and one of the most important facts: air conditioner and central heating.

Some of those libraries are Biblioteca Pública Municipal Alberto Lista or Biblioteca Pública Municipal Julia Uceda. Personally, my favourite option is Biblioteca Pública Infanta Elena. A lot of interesting conferences are held there, it is very bright because of its large windows and it has got two floors. Definitively, it is comfortable and silent. The address is C/Av. de María Luisa, 8, 41013 Sevilla. You can check the opening times in the official website, but in winter it opens on Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and it is closed on Sundays.

Besides those, we have other options. As you may know there are two public universities in Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla and Universidad Pablo de Olavide. The first one has got a lot of libraries such as Biblioteca de Humanidades. If you click on this link you will be able to access to all of them https://bib.us.es/bibliotecas_y_horarios; the photos below are from the Humanidades library, but do not deceive yourself! It has got a lot of rooms and all different from the others. It is not necessary to be a student from this university to study there, do not worry! This one is in the centre of Sevilla, next to Puerta Jerez. The accurate address is https://goo.gl/maps/4gKrqKSg2tq.



The second public library is from the UPO: Universidad Pablo de Olavide, I bet you have heard about it before. The advantage is that it is on campus, which is surrounded by nature, and probably some birds will be flying around: the windows are always opened to get fresh air. In case you are a student from this university, you can book study rooms, which are in the second floor, to do some group work if you are an UPO student at that moment. But if you just want to study there, you do not have to be a member: the entrance is free. The coolest thing is that you can take a break and lie down on the grass, which is all around outside the library, or you can also go to the snackbar “Santa Clara”, which is a few metres from there.


Let’s admit it, these are just a few of the endless possibilities you have in Sevilla for studying. I hope you all have the feeling of discovering new options by yourself after reading this!

Until the next post!

April 30, 2018

Tortilla de Patatas Recipe

Hi guys! I hope you’re all doing great. I decided this time to write about gastronomy, and what better than posting the recipe of the Spanish Tortilla de Patatas? For the ones who don’t know, tortilla in Spain means omelette, so it has nothing to do with the tortilla chips. And now that we are about to start counting the steps of the recipe, it’s time for the Spanish debate: to decide whether we are going to include the onion (cebolla in Spanish) or not. You may think this is unnecessary, but this has actually led to wars and end of friendships (OK, maybe not that much) but it is actually a thing the Spanish people talk about. If you think this is only me who thinks that, please check this post (in Spanish)


In this article, written in Spanish, the most famous Spanish chefs take sides in this battle, and divide themselves between sincebollistas (“if it has onion it’s not a potato tortilla, it’d be a onion tortilla) and concebollistas (“you need to add the onion, otherwise it’s tasteless and I’ll be missing something). ANYWAY, I’m pro-onion so we’ll be using it today.

Regarding ingredients for 4 servings, you’ll be needing:

  • 5 or 6 eggs
  • Salt
  • 4 big potatoes
  • 3 onions
  • Olive oil
  • A splash of milk (optional)


First, we’re going to peel the potatoes and dice them along with the onions. You can always use more potatoes, but that also means that you’ll need more eggs and onions. Once we’ve diced both, we’re gonna put olive oil in a pan and when it gets hot, we’ll add the onion first and when it turns golden, we’ll add the potatoes. You can cover it so it fries faster (using the steam) and cook them until they get a little darker. Once you get golden-ish, take them out leaving the oil in the pan. We are going to save this oil to fry potatoes and onions other times.

In a bowl, we’re going to beat the eggs with some salt and the optional splash of milk, and add the fried onions and potatoes afterwards. We’re gonna use the frying pan again but with very little olive oil this time, and we are going to let it cook for a couple minutes, or two minutes and a half.


The most difficult step is when you have to flip the tortilla. To perform that, we need a very big plain dish that can cover the pan and cross our fingers so it doesn’t fall. Try flipping it on top of the sink just in case, as it’s easier to clean there. You need to be fast. Here’s a video so you can see how it’s done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QD5PutV6sw

Once you’ve flipped it, put uncooked part facing down back in the pan and let it cook for a minute and a half more or less! Then serve it in a dish immediately or otherwise it will keep cooking, turning dry afterwards.

Tortilla de patatas

Tortilla de patatas

ADVISORY: This is MY recipe. It does not mean that it’s the right way to do it, there’s a thousand different options. I just think it’s easy this way and that’s how I always cook it!

December 29, 2017

Traditions for celebrating a Spanish New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a big event in every part of the world and each region has its own traditions that make it unique and special. Of course, in Spain we have our own too.

Being with your loved ones

Most people celebrate New Year’s Eve at home with their families. However, if they live far away from home, they celebrate New Year’s Eve with their friends. After midnight we toast with champagne and in some homes kids toast with “champín” which is a special champagne with no alcohol.

12 grapes

The best-known tradition is eating 12 grapes. The last 12 seconds before the beginning of a new year, we eat 12 grapes following the sound of the bell of the Plaza del Sol (The Sun’s Square), in Madrid. This is the most famous bell in Spain. That’s why lots of people welcome the New Year at the square although most people normally follow the chimes on the TV.

The 12 grapes

The 12 grapes

Starting the New Year with the right foot

While eating the 12 grapes some superstitious people keep only their right foot on the floor. That way they will start the first day of the year with good luck.

Practicing the 12 chimes

In some big cities like Salamanca and, definitely, in Madrid, they verify that their bell works well before New Year’s Eve. Many people gather together to practice eating the 12 grapes in 12 seconds. However it is said that if you eat the 12 grapes before December 31 at midnight it gives you bad luck, so people practice with olives, jelly beans or chocolates.

Conguitos - Spanish version of M&Ms

Conguitos - Spanish version of M&Ms

Eating lentils?

Some people eat a teaspoon or a plate of lentils at midnight or on December 31st or January 1st for lunch. This is a symbol of the abundance, prosperity and economy throughout the year.

Red underwear

Another tradition is to wear red underwear because it will bring you a great year of love. Besides, it’s a day for dressing up because many people go to a cotillón after or before midnight. A cotillón is a party where people dance, eat and have fun all night long. Some people wear masquerades and other special costumes. In fact in many small towns people like to dress up.


We don’t have a firework show as big as people have in the States or in other places of the world. But we like fireworks too so some people buy them and shoot them off.


January 1st after partying all night long, we eat some churros as breakfast before going to bed. But don’t be too excited, only some breakfast bars and churros kiosks are open because the January 1st is a state holiday and stores are closed.

Churros con Chocolate

Churros con Chocolate

We don’t have the typical American kiss welcoming the New Year but we kiss all our beloved in the cheek to wish them good luck for the coming year.

September 22, 2017

Spanish Music

When we talk about Spanish music the first word that comes to our mind is “flamenco”. Spanish music is really famous, especially flamenco, an art that mixes music and dance originated in southern Spain. Flamenco has evolved and transformed over the time to incorporate modern music sounds from rock, pop and blues. Some famous Spanish flamenco artists include Raimundo Amador, Ketama and Rosario Flores among others. In Flamenco, “el cante flamenco andaluz” retains an emotional lament while the “cante flamenco Gitano” preserves a folkloric style. Both incorporate expressive hand-clapping accompanied by the fervent clatter of dancers’ feet. 

Some photos and a video about flamenco are included below.

flamenco flamencooo

What about modern Spanish music? There are plenty of popular Spanish songs and international Spanish artists like Joaquin Sabina, David Bisbal, Alejandro Sanz and Julio Iglesias that fill the radio with Latin rhythms and Spanish pop music. Some songs of this artists are “19 días y 500 noches”, “Ave María”, “Corazón partío” and “Bamboleo”. Even Spanish hip-hop has found its place in the music industry with artists like La Mala Rodríguez with songs like”Nanai”.

But not only flamenco is listened here. If you go to any pub or disco here in Sevilla, you will see that most of the songs are reggaeton, like “Cuéntale”, “Rey de la tarima” or “Hula Hoop”. Young people love reggaeton music because it’s easier to dance! Some Latin artists listened here are Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi, Romeo Santos and Maluma.

All types of music can be popular in Spain because there are all types of people living there. American artists are also listened in Spain; some of them are Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

And you, what type of music you have listened to in Spain do you like the most?

February 23, 2017

WHERE FOOD IS MORE THAN JUST SUSTENANCE (understanding Spain through its food culture)

¡Hola de nuevo!

I hope you are all having a fantastic time in Seville. After almost two months here (yes, time flies!) I am sure you are already quite familiar with our gastronomy and words such as tapas or churros are already part of your vocabulary. But our gastronomy is much more than new flavors; it’s a fantastic gate to understand our culture:

Expression of our rich cultural heritage

In our last post, we talked about Spain’s cultural heritage, and our cuisine is a fantastic way of discovering it!

The Romans taught us how to cultivate wheat and vines, which explains why we love bread and wine so much. The Arabs brought to Al-Andalus new ways of cultivating fruit, vegetables and our precious olive oil. They also introduced new products that are now part of our most renowned dishes, for example rice (no paella without it), spinach (have you already tried our famous espinacas con garbanzos?), sugar cane, or citrics (yes, that means our delicious oranges). The Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Visigoths also left their mark our gastronomy.


Tapas, a way of living

A tapa, which literally means ‘cover’ or ‘lid’, was originally a hunk of bread that was placed over the glass of beverages to keep the flies out. This simple concept evolved to its current meaning, a style of eating. Going for tapas means sociability, cherished moments with your family and friends and informal gatherings in a relaxed atmosphere. If you are going for tapas, you know more or less when you are starting but you have no idea how the day will end (what we call in Andalusia a relío is not unlikely to happen: going for some relaxed tapas and ending up late at night or even early in the morning).


We love food

During my study abroad time in Australia, I remember my flatmates telling me ‘You Spaniards talk all the time about food’. And it is quite true, we are very proud of our cuisine and love sharing our family recipes (everyone will tell you how his/her grandma makes the best croquetas/gazpacho/whatsoever). Food is a way of relating to each other, of finding things in common.

In other countries food is seen as way of getting nutrients for your body, here it is a ritual that has its times and steps (therefore our very particular meal times). When we cook, we put a lot of time and effort into it and we love a nice and colorful presentation. But the most important thing is enjoying your meal with your family and friends, and creating a shared moment. When food is finished, instead of quickly leaving, we have what we call a sobremesa (literally ‘over the table’): time for chatting and simply enjoying each other’s company. For Spaniards how we eat is as important as what we eat.

Tapas restaurant

And well, as you can see I could talk about food forever, but it’s better if you go and taste it! See you soon at the ESA picnic!

December 19, 2016

“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:

Papa Noel

Papa Noel

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).

Reyes Magos

Reyes Magos

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!

February 15, 2016

Cultural shock

Congratulations! You have survived living a whole month in Spain! During this time you have already had a bunch of funny moments with the lovely Spaniards.

You are getting used quickly to one of the best traditions (siesta, anyone?) and beginning to appreciate the weirdest ones (are you missing your personal space?). Maybe at the beginning you found some things annoying that you will miss when you come back to your country, so try to take the best of the experience getting in touch with Spaniards, and taking into account that what you may consider impolite could be something polite in this culture! Let’s consider some examples:

punto 6

  1.    Punctuality. We are well-known for not being very punctual, if you hang out with a Spaniard, she/he will not arrive late, you will have arrived too soon! The concept of time among good friends is pretty relative as 10-15 minutes later is considered on time. When she/he arrives, you will hear a lot of stories explaining why she or he is late.Quedamos sobre las 6pm= we are meeting AROUND 6pm, which actually means: we are meeting at 6:15pm
  2. Touch, touch, and more touch! We love touching, even if we don’t know you, we are going to give you a kiss on each cheek when we see you. That’s a cultural rule! The other one is related to body language which means that everything we try to say is accompanied by gestures (they all make sense to us) and by touching your arm or your shoulder. Believe me, we are not flirting or trying to spread germs to everyone, it is just that we don’t know what personal space bubble means!Ps: yes, we kiss when we meet and when we say goodbye. However, men just shake hands with other men.
  3. ¡Mañana! That is the Spanish keyword. We really think it can solve all the problems we have. If we need to do something boring or we have to go somewhere we don’t feel like going or meet someone we don’t feel like meeting, we just say: ¡mañana!Let’s check some common expressions:Mañana lo hago: I’ll do it tomorrow (liar…)
    Pásate mañana: come back tomorrow (I don’t feel like doing it now)
    Mañana te llamo: I’ll call you tomorrow
    Nos vemos: we’ll meet someday (Very common expression used when you bump into someone in the street you haven’t seen in a long time, and you both know that nos vemos doesn’t literally mean “we see each other” but “it’s not in my plans but I hope we can see each other in a situation like this one”)
    Or worse, all together: mañana nos vemos
  4.   ¿Qué te pasa qué tienes esa cara? Literally it would be: what’s up with you having that face? This actually means that you don’t look good and we are asking if you have any problem. This is not impolite and we really say this to our friends. Directness among friends means politeness. More confianza (reliability) you have, more direct you can be.
  1. We need bread as you need peanut butter. Bread is part of the Spanish culture since Romans introduced it in Hispania. Besides, Spanish bread has no extra sugar which makes it pretty healthy. Everyday you have to go to the bakery and have a small talk with the baker you know since you moved to your neighborhood. Loyalty to this baker can be awarded with the best bread he has and he keeps only for you because he knows you  will always go to his place. Kinds of bread:

Barra de pan (baguette)

punto 5

Pan de chapata

punto 5 chapata


punto 5 viena


punto 5 mollete

  1.  “Private” life. We like talking, talking to everyone even if we don’t know them. People older than 45 years old, probably keep this feature more than youngsters. They will talk to you as if you were their kids or even their grandchildren. This is great for practising the language plus taking part in the gossiping activity is good for health (at least we believe that here.)
  2. Me relié.  For those studying in Andalucía the verb reliarse is really important, it means that you were going out for a while with your friends, but life just happens and you come back home too early…next morning!

See you in the next post 🙂

January 29, 2016

Educational system – U.S. vs. Spain


Remembering my time abroad in the U.S. brings me many good memories; but just like how many of you feel now, I was surprised with a few things. It is probably all of the American College movies that I have watched that affected my mind and gave me the stereotypes of Greek life and American football, but in reality the fraternities/sororities didn’t seem that crazy and American football wasn’t that hard to understand either - I actually ended up enjoying the matches with everyone. However, the stereotypes of the dining halls were true: healthy options were way more expensive than junk food. We might not have clubs or big dorms or big sport stadiums like university campuses in the United States, but you will certainly like Spain’s cultural and educational differences just as much as I did there.

The first thing that you will notice when walking into a Spanish classroom is that everyone already knows each other. In Spain, we start and end our college life with the same classmates and most of the times in the same classrooms. This is very different from classroom culture in the US where there may be both seniors and freshman in the same class. Another thing that is expected here is that all the classmates together do a pretty exciting trip at the end of the university called “Viaje de Fin de Carrera”.

How to apply for university probably shocked me the most. For example, I learned in the United States that students apply for a specific university, and they can freely change major at almost any point. In Spain, we have to apply for a certain degree and stick with it for the entire time. In order to apply we have to obtain la nota de corte (the minimum grade to get into a specific degree) in Selectividad (university access exams).

Holidays in the US were also surprising for me. For instance, Thanksgiving was something that I never experienced before but I enjoyed getting to learn about - I was so full after having to eat all that food! Feria de Abril and Semana Santa (Holy Week) are two of the holidays that you will get to experience in Sevilla and that you will only get to see once a year. If you want to experience Sevilla’s culture, I highly recommend you to go to these events. It will definitely be something that you will never forget.

Just like I did before I went to the US and even while there, I bet you had (or have) a lot of stereotypes about Spain and the Spanish people. It is true that you may feel overwhelmed sometimes but that is okay because by the end of the semester you will become so accustomed to living in Sevilla that you will not want to leave.
See you in the next post!

December 14, 2015

Sports, an International Way of Culture


American football, basketball, soccer, handball... all these sports shape nationalities and countries all around the world. Spanish fútbol, which has nothing to do with the American way of playing, is one of the most important sports for Spaniards. Fútbol or soccer (so you know what I’m talking about) is part of the Spanish culture and it has become a social act. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are an active player. You just need to support your favorite team! A great percent of the population is highly interested in fútbol, and also Spain is widely known because of its fútbol teams and players. But this is not the only sporting event seen as a social activity. When the Olympics start, families and friends meet to follow the competitions and check how their compatriots perform.

Although Spain is not living its Golden Age of Sports anymore, we still remember those days and feel really proud of that historical moment. This country started to get stronger at sports after the Olympics were celebrated in Barcelona in 1992. This glorious period lasted until 2012, according to most sport journalists. Within this period, we’ve won 22 medals in Barcelona ’92, World Men’s Handball Championship (2005), FIBA World Championship (2006), UEFA European Football Championship (2008 and 2012), and the 2010 FIFA World Cup among others.

But is Spain knocked out from the international sport scene today? And what’s more, is soccer the only glorious sport in Spain? I don’t think so. Actually, there are other popular sports in Spain such as tennis, Moto GP, or Formula One. They are specially catching to Spaniards because our country holds the best positions of the ranking. Let’s look at some of our sport stars:


Rafa Nadal (Mallorca, 3rd June 1986), the best Spanish tennis player ever according to most of sport experts and players. He is 29 years old and started playing in ATP with only 15. Nowadays he is no. 5 in the ATP ranking. He’s won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, 27 titles in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, and the gold medal in singles in the Olympic Games 2008. He is already part of the Spanish sport history.


Marc Márquez (Lleida, 17th February 1993). With only 22 years old, he has won world championship titles in three different categories: 2010 125cc World Championship, 2012 Moto2 World Championship and Moto GP World Championship for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014). He is an example of young and successful rider. Moto GP is being a trend among teenagers and adults due to his victories!


Fernando Alonso (Oviedo, 29th July 1981). He is a Formula One racing driver. He started karting at the age of 3 and it became his passion. He made his debut at F1 with Minardi, although he has also driven with McLaren, Renault, and Ferrari cars. Now he has returned to McLaren. His greatest achievements were Formula One World Drivers’ Championships (2005 and 2006).


Carolina Marín (Huelva, 15th June 1993). She is only 22 and she has been proclaimed World Badminton Champion twice! Taking into account that Asiatic countries has always leaded badminton tournaments, it is important to highlight she is the first non-Asiatic player that wins two world competitions in a row. She is ranked number 1 in the Badminton World Federation Women’s Singles 2015. We hope she wins in Rio!

These are just some of the most important and international sportsmen and sportswomen. We hope they and the rest of athletes that are training really hard will do their best in the next Olympic games that will take place in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in August 2016. Two hundred and six countries will compete and forty-two sports will be contested, from Greco-roman wrestling to fencing! We have high expectations for Spain’s performance and we hope to get some medals. We especially rely on badminton, tennis, synchronized swimming, fútbol, and handball. Maybe the Olympics will not only bring us prizes, but also the revival of the Spanish Golden Age. I don’t want you to think I am neither too ambitious nor conceited, but dreaming is free, isn’t it? Let the games begin and may the best team win!


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