This morning was dedicated to roaming around and re-finding the Nespresso boutique that we passed yesterday.
Fortified with coffee and an interesting orange-chocolate-mandarina pound cake, we headed towards the city center. The Nespresso boutique was just where we’d left it yesterday on Calle Rioja. Unexpectedly, there is a Nespresso machine in our apartment and we had purchased some generic pods at Corte Ingles yesterday. Well, that coffee turned out to be generic in taste as well so we thought we’d go for the real stuff. At home, our purchasing is completely via mail order so we thought it might be nice to try an actual store, and what a store it was. Every version of their coffee displayed in a multitude of pods. I chose a couple of sleeves of Vivalto Lungo, my favorite from home, and once cashed out, the clerk offered to make us a cup for the road. What fun, a freshly brewed cup of coffee in a shrine to all things coffee.
The next hour or so was spent wandering up and down the shopping streets that run from Plaza Nueva to the city center. The Feria de Abril, being just around the corner, meant that all the flamenco dress stores were brimming with stock and it was fun to just roam from window to window, appreciating the creations that the women of Sevilla will don for the week of horses, partying and promenading.
Passing once more through the square that I thought was home to the now disappeared nun’s cookie store, I had a brief flash of memory – maybe this wasn’t the right plaza. Stopping at the main avenue that bounds the square, I looked to the left and suggested that it might be worth our time to wander a block up the road. Sure enough, in the next square sat the store – it wasn’t gone after all! Which of course meant I had to get a bag to go, this time selecting their orange-flavored version. The nuns were still prevailing against the ravages of time.
Later in the day we went out again to take a walk in the other direction just to see what we remembered. It’s hard this time of the day with the traffic being so dense because the sidewalks in this part of town are about a foot wide, meaning that you spend a lot of time darting between doorways to avoid being hit by side-view mirrors. Eventually we found what we were looking for and turned around and headed back to the cathedral, finding a bench and spending some time people watching. Tourist sites can be quite a banquet for that activity and tonight didn’t disappoint.
Dinner was next on the agenda, but we didn’t want to appear as travel rubes, it only being 6:15. It’s tough this time of day in Spain because many restaurants are not even serving at this early hour so for us it’s generally a struggle to wait until the acceptable hour for dining. Often well past 9:00 PM. But tonight I had a brain storm – we’d go and order a couple of glasses of wine, sit out on a street table and order a single plate, pretending that we were doing an apertivo and not a meal. It worked – we had wine, a wonderfully delicious plate of cardillera – pork cheeks stewed in Ximeniz cherry served on a pile of French fries. Sided with the best Spanish olives I’ve ever had. Entertainment was provided by the cathedral bells which went on for a couple of really loud and really long ringing jags. On the whole a perfect outside meal.
It still being daylight, we had a bit more time to kill so we took the long stroll down to the Rio Guadalquivir in search of churros. This part of town was typically busy on a Friday night, but mostly with Sevillanos instead of tourists. The restaurants here are much less trendy, and in many cases far more elegant that those in our Santa Cruz neighborhood. Spanish is the common language, and not the mishmash we hear on Mateo Gagos. The Churreria was still there so we split an order, savoring every hot doughy fragment dipped into the steaming cup of chocolate.
We took the straight way home down Calle Reyes Católicos passing bars and fast food shops and the biggest toy store I’ve seen in Spain. Our side of the street also had a long string of bakeries, each one more enticing than the last. But just as we were about to turn and head towards home, we stopped and looked in one last window, and to our amazement, the display was full of polvarones! The other thought to be extinct nun cookie! Our store had downsized and moved next to our favorite grocery store. So all that lamentation about the time being a harsh mistress had been for naught – the nuns across Spain were still baking, and all it took was a bit of aimless wandering to find our way back to them.