27 Apr 2022

Seville and Málaga

Map by me, made with marceloprates/prettymaps. Data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

Seville

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A lovely feature of Spanish cities seems to be big public plazas you can go and hang out in. Art and water features make them pleasant.

Seville’s big plaza has gorgeous architecture around it, and it—the plaza—is massive. It’s also completely taken over by tourists and people selling them trinkets and horse carriage rides. I think the locals have found smaller plazas to hang out in.

Cool bridge.

I love the lettering here.

A bunch of Spanish public parks emphasize paved paths. Not my cup of tea to hang out in, but they’re pretty.

Aside: This is part 1 of subjects that iPhone's portrait mode botches. The back half of the glass has been turned into "background" and blurred.

Tinto de verano:

  • to a cup of ice
  • add 1 part red wine
    • optional: remove the wine bottle’s label, either out of respect for the winemaker, or because you’re buying in huge jugs and just refilling your counter bottle
  • add 1 part lemon-lime soda
    • the brand here is completely lost to me
  • garnish with an orange slice
  • revel in disbelief at how delicious this is

Málaga[1]

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Map by me, made with marceloprates/prettymaps. Data © OpenStreetMap contributors.

I was surprised how many tourists are here! (Also, please forgive how much I seem to complain about tourists.) I think most Americans I know wouldn’t have heard of Málaga, so I expected little to no tourist scene. But old town is packed with restaurants, attractions, and eager visitors.

My new working theory is that southern Spain is a popular destination for European tourists, who probably know a lot more about cities on this side of the Atlantic than we do. This seems to be supported by the swaths of British here—with plentiful Germans, French, and Dutch on the side.

OK, I don't know much about graffiti, but that bust is seriously impressive, right?

European Food

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I hate to admit this. Ingredients are better here.

As with many, we cooked a lot in the pandemic. It’s a sad habit to leave behind, so we do our best with eclectic AirBnb kitchens.

The average fruit or vegetable that we’ve tried from the supermarket has equalled the taste of one from the farmer’s market in Seattle. A bell pepper, e.g., is sweeter, and tastes more like, well, itself. Produce sizes are smaller.[2] So are animal sizes!

To add insult to injury, they’re also cheaper. See, e.g., gorgeous strawberries above for about $1/lb.

Sorry, this is a generic crappy picture, but I just want to revel in this delight of a pile of seafood:

  • shrimp, big & small
  • squid
  • octopus
  • whole anchovies
  • whole other fish I forgot
  • chunks of some fleshy white fish
  • razor clams to the right

Plants

Permalink to “Plants”

It’s spooky, and I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or something else has changed in my brain[3], but I’m so obsessed with looking at plants these days.

Check out this hot dog fingers tree.

Left: part 2 of portrait mode mishaps. The blurring seems to be geometric rather than from depth estimation—or maybe the depth estimation is bad?—as background areas in-between the flower petals are in focus. I'm just a bit surprised, as I thought with the multiple cameras in iPhones, they were doing decent depth estimation?

One thing I was curious about in Málaga was the river (canal?) that should flow through the city is completely dried up. And it looks like its been that way for a while, given the amount of vegetation in some spots. There was even an impromptu stake park somewhere in there—brilliant.

Hey, thanks for reading.


  1. I’m trying to write the English version of place names (e.g., Seville instead of Sevilla), but it seems like Málaga doesn’t have one. ↩︎

  2. Here’s a crackpot theory about produce size that I haven’t even Googled: bigger produce is simply waterier. I have no evidence for this, other than that winemakers seem to talk about tortured grapes (i.e., from dry years) being more concentrated with flavor. There are probably other things going on too, like different varieties (varietals?) (i.e., species?) of produce. Also, they were way riper in the stores—like about-to-get-destroyed-by-mold-and-fruit-flies ripe. But could it be that, somehow, one fruit has a fixed amount of flavor, which becomes more spread when it is grown to be larger? As I write that out, it doesn’t really make sense, so maybe disregard this. Anyway, if it’s true, and if USA produce is bigger because of GMOs, then maybe I should change my attitude about GMOs from “who cares?” to “well they taste worse so maybe that’s bad?” ↩︎

  3. Or if, with limited access to cultural beauty as an outsider, I’ve subconsciously switched over to seeking natural beauty? ↩︎

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