Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Bones of Columbus vs. The Boners of Cortez

April 6, 2013
  We extended our stay in ancient Sevilla where the streets are so narrow, we had to park our car in a garage several blocks from our hotel, then walk through a narrow maze of passageways to Hotel Murillo, cloistered in a small patio with a small courtyard in front with a bodega across from the entrance. A walk through the barrio stretched for miles and the encounter of a vaquero-sombrero shop made my heart soar (photos when I get home).

  We entered the main Sevilla cathedral yesterday and it's a humungous puppy, perhaps twice as large as Notre Dame, with massive column that rival the intake towers at Hoover Dam. On a prominent corner is a huge monument to Christopher Columbus and his bones are said to reside here. Evidently his bones traveled as much after his death as he did in life, with his remains crisscrossing the Atlantic to Cuba and several other stops before finally arriving here for a few days. The same fate befell Cortez but his bones, which are believed to be in Mexico, are kept a secret because he is so hated there were threats when it was discovered in the 1980s where exactly he might be.

  Sevilla became so rich because it was the first stop from the Indies and became a shipping point for all the goods coming from the East. The size of the churches and the castles are staggering. Of course it was here that Diego Velasquez came from so I came to honor him (we are going on a walk this morning to see his statue).

  In early Spain there were the Grandes and the Hidalgos, with the former being the big dogs and the latter, the up and comers. Hidalgo is from "hijo de algo", or, son of some substance. This is my new name for Thomas Charles Bell: mi hijo de algo.

  Much of the history of Spain is made by the collision of the three ethnic religions of the area: Catholics, Muslims and Jews who apparently actually got along at certain points of their history until the reconquest, when one religion trumped them all.

"In Spain you are Catholic or you are nothing."