Tuesday, February 15, 2011

La lluvia en Sevilla no es una maravilla....

In the movie My Fair Lady, there is a classic rhyme that says "the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."  However, when literally translated into Spanish this phrase no longer rhymes, so they changed it to "la lluvia en Sevilla es una pura maravilla" (which means the rain in Seville is marvelous).  After two days of rain here (and more coming tomorrow), I beg to differ with this quote....there is nothing marvelous about the rain in Sevilla, especially when walking is the main form of transportation.

Before coming to Spain, I knew that everyone walked everywhere and even though I'm a runner and enjoy exercising this was something I was a little unsure about.  In Stevens Point I couldn't imagine walking from my house to school everyday (about 5 miles each way) and by living in the dorms or on campus in Duluth I really haven't had to worry about getting to class.  And even more important than getting to class, what about grocery shopping??  I don't think it would be possible to walk from any of my previous residencies to a grocery store and back with all the food I needed or in a reasonable amount of time.  In Spain, however, the most you'll every have to walk to get to supermarket is 2-3 blocks.  These are not huge grocery stores with a billion different brands of every item on the shelves, but they've got everything one could need.  Similarly to the grocery stores, pretty much all stores and shops here are smaller but have more locations dispersed throughout the city.  While there are a few shopping malls, many streets have been designated as shopping districts and no cars are allowed.

While walking is the main form of getting around Sevilla (and personally my favorite way to experience the city), it is also a city of about 700,000 and there is a lot of vehicle traffic as well.  The first rule about driving in Spain is that if your vehicle can fit.....it's a road (which is probably why there are so many mopeds).  As for actual traffic rules, I am still not sure if I understand them.  I have yet to see a stop sign and even though there are traffic lights everywhere they have an interesting flashing yellow light feature that, from what I've observed, is like a red light you can go through if there are no pedestrians, bikes, oncoming traffic, etc.  Also, for pedestrians, there is no button to press to "inform" the stop lights someone is waiting to cross the road....it is pretty much implied that there will always be people waiting to walk across the intersection.

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