Back in 1974, I was one of the lucky pupils that had the opportunity to join a school cruise around the Mediterranean.
I remember the highs and lows of the cruise very well. Stormy seas, basic dormitories and horrible food were nothing compared with the variety of cultures and the amazing sights. Aged just fifteen, this trip marked the start of my travelling obsession.
Sadly, the revolution in Portugal meant a last minute change of itinerary; Lisbon (now one of my favourite European cities) was replaced at the last minute by Cadiz and Seville. I still remember the great pleasure of touring Seville Cathedral, but I also remember the bitter disappointment of a square that I knew should be beautiful, but was downcast and absolutely full of litter. I just couldn’t understand why a square named after its home country should be in such a dreadful state.
That memory has stayed with me for over forty years and last week was my first return trip to Seville. I went back to that litter-bound square and was completely unable to match my memories with what lay before me.
I began to wonder if I had confused Seville with another city. Today’s Plaza de España is a stunning square; bright, colourful, clean and full of visitors. I googled frantically to check out my failing memory and discovered that the square had undergone an expansive and expensive ( 14 million Euros) renovation in recent years, reopening in 2010. I still couldn’t find any images of it back in the 70s, though, so when I got home this morning I just had to hunt out my old photo.
I have edited one of last week’s shots to look at the same section of the building and fountain.
I’ll take you on a proper walk around the square very soon – I’m still amazed at the change, but oh so delighted to now see the beauty that was missing all those years ago.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 7 June 2016