Ya Huele a Primavera

On a popular talk show on Andalucía’s Canal Sur called La Semana Más Larga, the host Manu Sánchez recently griped about the recortes going on throughout Spain.

But Rajoy just wants us to move right into Summer! he spews, citing the recent “frío esteparian” and the subsequent 70º weather. He’s got a point – springtime in Seville is sweet, filled with tipsy afternoons drinking in sunshine and Cruzcampo, fresh breezes and the intoxicating scent of azahar. But Springtime is also the most short lived season, a brief twinkle in the year, and Rajoy’s insistence in cutting the fat off of all that is good and beautiful about life in Seville is just plain loco.

Manu claims that Spring is for the sevillanos to leave “everything in condition” so that the guiris, who olny come in the summer, can have what’s left over (watch the whole show here a la carte and enjoy Manu’s INCREDIBLE andalú). For this guiri who makes like a sevillano and verenea in a different part of Spain, I enjoy the terracitas and fresh aceite like an respectable andaluz.

Apart from the towering palmeras that line boulevards, Seville is populated with orange trees. During the winter months, the naranjos bask in the sunshine, their dimply skin growing its namesake color until the days start getting longer in late February. The oranges of this sour variety are rarely, if ever, consumed in Seville, and the rumor states that only the oranges grown in the Cartuja Monastery are sweet enough to eat.

By the time March lazily rolls around, the orange trees are shaken, the fruit gathered into thigh-high burlap bags and sent off to the British Isles for bitter marmalade. According to the Novio, the city of Seville began to crate and ship them as a gift to the Queen of England. Though I cannot find evidence to support or kill this long-told legend, the people of England start their days off with the fruit spread over their toast, and I with the scent of the orange blossom flower.

The small yellow bud, called azahar, appears for just a week or ten days’s time, smelling a little bit like fresh laundry, lightly scented perfume or a sunny day after a spring shower. I can’t put my finger on it, but crane my nose in the week leading up to Saint Patrick’s Day to catch a whiff. After seeing the buds began to peek out of the branches, I finally smelt it on Avenida de la Buhaira, riding my bike on a sunny afternoon with my sleeves rolled up.

Finally Springtime, the small glimmer of sevillano time that I am so very fond of.

If Manu’s predictions were anywhere near right, we’d lose the azahar, botellines in a sun-filled plaza on a Sunday afternoon, the sand between my toes somewhere lost in the pinares of Huelva. The passionate processions of Holy Week, gone. The lively sevillanas at the Real, finito. Bullfighting’s biggest names, fuera de la cartelera. Kelly told me my first year here: “Loving Seville in the Fall and Winter is one thing, but you’ll completely swoon come primavera.”

Losing our most treasured season, the one we live for atope in the waning sunlight of twlight, the one we wait for through the nights huddled close to the space heater, would mean a little piece of livelihood taken from the penitent nazarenos, a little less arte in our steps during Feria. Spring is the season I live for more than any other.

Sevillanos: Where do you like to spend your tardecitas? What do you do with the perfect weather and sunny afternoons? Any good tips for finding sunshine and relax? Share them in the comments, por favor!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living among pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she wrangles babies at an English Language Academy and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

Comments

  1. Sarita says:

    loving your blog Cat! In a former life I had a blog called “Orange Blossoms and Cruzcampo” which is reminiscent of your title………. :)

    I personally like to spend sunny Spring afternoons in Plaza del Salvador, La Alameda, or el Parque del Alamillo. ¡Viva la primavera!

  2. When I lived in Madrid I would spend afternoons doing homework in the Plaza de Espana. Loved getting a suntan and studying!

  3. Ashlee D. says:

    Winter definitely makes you appreciate the sunshine more. I know I’ll get a few eye rolls, but I kind of miss the changing of the seasons and that excitement and sense of renewal in the beginning of spring.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love PR, but I miss Spain oodles. Luckily I’ll be back for a visit soon :) I watched the clip of Manu Sánchez, very funny!

  4. Kaley says:

    Great post — I feel like I can almost smell it!

  5. Kit says:

    I’m going to cry if I think too much about the azahar smell on Mateos Gago… Oh my God. I still have my Abril perfume which I hoarded before I left Sevilla and it’s almost close enough.

    Also, the Justin Bieber segment with Manu was just painful.

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