Nuzzled beneath the seated San Fernando, San Isidoro, and San Leandro on Seville’s city crest is the cryptic symbol: NO8DO. The city’s motto, No madeja do, commonly said as No me ha dejado, makes an appearance on everything from the city flag to the sides of city buses to the drain covers on busy roads.
The words NO and DO surround what resembles a figure 8. While I assumed it was an infinity sign and have heard it was supposed to represent hay, it’s actually a spool of yarn. The Spanish word for this is madeja, so together, the anagram is NO MADEJA DO, or in English: It [Seville] hasn’t left me.
The story behind the symbol (you can read it on Inside the Travel Lab), isn’t as important as why it’s important to me.
When I received notice I’d be living in Seville in late June, 2007, I immediately consulted with my Alpha Delta Pi sorority sisters about the city that many had studied in. I got long mantilla-like sighs when they said, that city takes a piece of your heart. Much like leaving one’s heart in San Francisco, Seville quickly won mine with its charm, its mudejar architecture and the haunting saetas and cante hondos I’d fall asleep to each night while living in Triana.
Using Camarón’s long distance lens on baking afternoon, I realized that the five cryptic symbols are also embossed on the city’s light posts. The way the light from the wrought.iron lamps floods the streets next to the lit-up Cathedral, bathing the regal Avenida de la Constitución in a golden color, is magical. Seville will never, ever leave my consciousness or my heart.
Got anything special to share about the city you call home? I love urban legends, ghost stories and the like, so please share!