Flamenco in Andalucía

Slept late Saturday, out of the apartment around 11. Walked the 3 blocks to the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. The Alcazar was built by Christian kings in the 1200s or so on the ruins of the destroyed Moorish castle after the Christians reconquered Córdoba.

Castle walls and towers to climb, and acres of orchards and gardens. The Moors planted many citrus trees, oranges and lemons, to counteract the stench of the mideval open sewers. The oranges are very aromatic smelling and sour, different from eating oranges. Their leaves are different.

The gardens in the Alcazar were all in bloom, but were planted in a haphazard manner. I guess this is what happens when municipal government takes over and gardener execution is off the table. In the center were statues of Ferdinand and Isabella with Columbus, who was given his charter to begin the destruction of the New World in a meeting here in the Alcazar.

From there, we walked to the new archaeological museum which has exhibits from prehistory through Roman, Moorish and Christian Andalucía. In the basement are some remains of a Roman theater.

After a siesta, we went for dinner like Spaniards, at 9:00. This was at a flamenco venue. The food was mediocre, takeout from a neighboring restaurant, the wine was good, the chairs were really uncomfortable and the flamenco was fantastic.

This was in an old bath house, the room was all stone with an arched ceiling. The place was about 12 feet wide, 30 feet long and held 30 patrons seated at small cocktail tables.

The guitarist, singer and the two dancers each took a turn in the spotlight while the others encouraged and supported the soloist with background rhythms. They were all virtuosos. The music was entrancing, and the dancers were in a trance, firing off staccato attacks with their boots, snapping fingers, clapping hands and slapping their bodies all while executing the highly stylized flamenco gestures and poses until they were covered in sweat, at times looking like they were on the border of delirium. The guitar player and female dancer were in their 40s, the male dancer and the singer looked like they were in their late 20s.

Flamenco started in Andalucía in Arabic times. The melodies sound Arabic, in minor keys, the singing sounds vaguely like the call to prayer, with the singer constricting his throat into almost a whine as he moans out the lyrics of sadness and heartbreak.

All in all an incredible evening. Best of all, only a 10 minute walk home!