Sadly, my time in Sevilla has come to an end. I am truly, deeply sad to leave this charming, enchanting, magical city, which so gracefully combines ancient history and tradition with modern technology and conveniences. I felt a sense of self, ancestry, and home in Sevilla, at a deep, cellular level, perhaps for the very first time. Sevillanos stand firmly on tradition, with much pride and passion. The Andalucian people are the warmest, most welcoming I've ever met. The friends I've made in Sevilla have touched my heart forever, and are surely amigos de por vida - friends for life!
Before meeting up with my crew for a farewell celebration, I deliberately decided to end my time in Sevilla much the same way I began. Although I no longer lived across the street from my favorite tapas spot - La Chunga - I walked across town anyways, to sit at the bar one last time, chat with the bartender and waiters, while enjoying my favorite Spanish tapas - Salmorejo and an ice cold Cruz Campo. The chef, upon hearing it would be my last visit (for now), sent out his signature tapas for me to enjoy. I shared a farewell hug with each of La Chunga employees, doing my best not to weep. One last stroll through el centro left my heart aching for more, as I walked as slowly as I could, stopping often to buy silly souveniers, if only to make the stroll last longer.
Then it was time to have some fun. For my final two nights, my friends all put together a little farewell celebration, which included caracoles, muchas cervezas, a ride on Kiko's Harley Davidson (EEE!), and – yes, once again – Karaoke! This time (because now I'm an "old pro") I found myself doing my best Carly Simon impression, singing “You're So Vain.” Don't ask! Kiko recorded the entire "performance" (can we even call it that?), and I offered quite a substantial sum for him to delete it, which he flatly refused. What's worse, is I've yet to see it, and I'm sure it will come back to haunt me when I least expect it. Yikes!
Cruz and Carmen (captured here by Kiko) did a beautiful rendition of Sinatra's "My Way," which, incidentally, is a huge Karaoke favorite in Spain, en Inglés y Español, los dos! The crowd got seriously quiet and paid homage to the song; everyone sang along. Truly curious!
Finally, it was time to say goodbye. There were endless hugs, kisses, tears (not only mine!), and promises of staying in touch and future visits. I have insisted the entire crew come visit me, and I look forward to returning the warm welcome, and to showing them the best parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. On his Harley, Kiko escorted me and my heavy heart back to my apartment, where my packed suitcases were already waiting by the door. I cried myself to sleep that night, but the next morning brought the beginning of la próxima aventura – Barcelona!! Stay tuned...