Because most Mondays are almost always poop and this Monday right now is especially poop, here's how the last one was considerably better than all Mondays that ever were - floating in the prettiest baths and meditating underwater and feeling the calmest I have ever felt in a long long time.
Jess booked us in to a morning at the Aire de Sevilla, the traditional Arabic bathhouse that was built upon the site of ancient Hammam and Roman ruins. The building, once a 16th century palace, draws its influence from different cultures and connects past civilisations through the focus on the restoration of the mudéjar style also found in Alcázar and Casa de Pilatos. The lighting is dim with a warm red hue from the candles and earthy walls, there is a beautiful scent of incense and there is the most relaxing and ambient music that plays in the background that you can hear even underwater. There are 3 different baths - hot and cold and warm - a huge hydro-massage bath (jacuzzi) and a saltwater one in a separate room. There is nothing more than a whisper allowed but even on a bank holiday, it wasn't super busy at all. I left the hot baths to the saltwater and I stayed floating in the middle of the bath for at least 15 minutes before anyone else joined and it was so peaceful and calm and maybe the one of most magical places I've been to.
We left feeling light and refreshed and more relaxed than I could have imagined on a Monday. And on this day, finally, the weather, for me, was perfect. A lot less sun and a little cloudy which meant that it was all round cooler, although a little more humid. It felt like Hong Kong in the summer. After lunch we headed over to the east side of town to Plaza de España, a huge semi-circular building (this time more Renaissance/neo-mudéjar in style) and the centrepiece to the Parque Maria Luisa. In front is a mini canal (sometimes called "the Venice of Seville") where you can rent boats to row along to the end and under the four bridges, which represent the four ancient kingdoms of Spain - Castille, Aragon, Navarre and Leon. The curved facade of the main building is covered in tiled mosaics spread across 48 benched alcoves in the wall. Each is decorated with it's own mosaic to represent each province in Spain. Jess and Shannon took a seat by the alcove for Alicante while I walked along to find Coruña's little place on the wall.
There was a girl from work that I recognised on the bus we took to the airport on Friday and I saw her again on the plane. She asked if I wanted to swap seats with her because she was next to Shannon and she could see that we were flying together. I thanked her and when we landed said goodbye and that was pretty much it. I didn't know her name or what she did and I thought maybe she wasn't from work and I just knew her face from somewhere.. So on our last day we went to the Plaza de España and I went on to find Coruña on the building front and standing next to the little sign next to Coruña's alcove, there was the girl from the plane!! And so I introduced myself (like a weirdo) and learned that her name was Christy and yes, of course she was from work (small world) and a Product Manager for ZARA Kids. We bonded over the fact that we're both Hong Kong Chinese (!) and then about our shitty phones as we tried to take one another's tourist photo on the Coruña bench. We made plans to meet later at the airport again - obviously flying back on the same flight (really small world) - and carried on our separate ways. It's funny how coincidental things find themselves.
I got lost in the park for the next hour or so wandering through the exotic trees and shady paths and fairytale buildings. There was another space in between two pavilions, Plaza de America, with a large pond and a couple of boys sat, with their bikes at the side, feeding white doves out of their hands. Sounds from passing people were muted by the constant buzz of the cicadas and horse hooves. Jess called me from someplace else in the park that she had wandered to and we met at the cafe where Shannon was cooling off.
Our last stop was the Museo del Baile Flamenco but we were too late to watch the show. Instead we watched the screens with the choreographed examples of the different styles of Flamenco dance and learnt about all the emotions and the history and culture behind it all. By the time we made it back to the apartment we had about an hour to pack and organise our things before calling a taxi to pick us up later after dinner. We returned to Maquila for our final meal, saying goodbye to Sevilla with the best food and friendliest service, and finishing our weekend just as we had begun. It could have been super poetic in that sense (ok it kind of was) but in reality it was kind of also because we were in a hurry (before we knew about the flight delay) and we were staying right around the corner. But still, a happy coincidence that worked out as a happy convenience at that.