What’s happening in Seville, you ask? No idea. But I feel like I have a reasonably firm grasp on what I’ve been doing yesterday and today.
First, setting up my office. Until this week I was renting a desk in a co-working space. Really, an Ikea table in a sea of tables. The benefit was that I met people: a Spanish accountant starting his own data analytics business, a Portugese woman who performed credit checks for a Brazilian bank, a Scottish student of live-action films and animation, and a freelance Swedish translator. The downside was that for each telephone call I would have to duck into a conference room or out onto the balcony. So finally, as of Thursday, I rented my own private “Newland Ventures” office. The pictures below are from the hallway looking in and from my desk looking out.
[Click on any picture to enlarge.]
The view is out over Paseo de las Delicias and the Quadalqivir River. The church spire is on the other side of the river, in Triana. And if I stand up and walk to the window I can see the Torre del Oro — there’s another picture below, from around 5 PM when the sun was getting low.
And I confess: I was unreasonably happy and proud to see the Newland Ventures sign go up outside my office, even though it’s just a printed sheet stuck into a plastic holder on the wall. On the one hand, it’s nothing. It’s just a matter of the funds required to rent this space. On the other hand, it made this crazy enterprise seem suddenly more real. Result: happiness
Second, visiting Casa de Pilatos. It’s a palatial residence of the Dukes of Medinaceli, built in the mid-1500’s and just a 4 minute walk from our house. It has a beautiful main formal courtyard, and surrounding buildings with azulejos wall panels, intricate plasterwork and coffered and honey-combed ceilings. This was after the Muslim caliphate in Spain had collapsed, and the Christians were re-asserting themselves, but the artistry is primarily Mudejar (from the Muslims under Christian rule) that makes use of geometric patterns and botanic design, but not human or animal figures. There is also an elaborate story about how it came to be called the house of Pilate, having to do with a trip to Jerusalem, stations of the cross and numbers of human footsteps to various nearby points in Seville, but it was too far-fetched to commit to memory.
The downstairs rooms are all empty of furniture. But the upstairs floors, which we visited through the (mandatory) guided tour, are not only furnished but even had, on some of the furniture, what looked like family photos and snapshots from the 1950’s. Along with some paintings by Velazquez and Goya. One of my favorite features was the garden courtyards.
Third, learning more about pork. There are many opportunities for this. The most impressive has to be the “InterPork Spain” bus, which I can only hope is staffed by people who take the title of “Hambassador.”
But even at the little corner store, I found a box perched right beside the licorice and other sweets. A box of fried bits of ham, ready to be scooped out with a spoon and . . . what? Into my hand? I asked the man behind the counter and he gave me a piece to try.
In my hand.
OK. It was delicious.
And that’s the news from Spain.