Actually, what I’m feeling is whew!
I loved writing Seville’s New Normal: Insider Tips for Visitors 2022. It started out as a purely practical guide, a way to answer the questions that were constantly arriving in my email inbox: How has Seville changed over the past two years? Is it safe? Is it fun? Can I even get into Spain?
With two million people a year visiting Seville, it was clear I could not reply to each and every one individually. So I thought, “Why not corral all my info into a short guidebook?”
But then, as I set out to assemble the information in something approaching coherent form, it struck me that Seville isn’t just about facts, it’s about stories. There are ancient myths, medieval legends, modern superstitions, and tidbits of hot gossip about every nook and cranny of this city. It would shortchange the book if I didn’t include at least some of them, along with a few of my own zany expat exploits. The older stories beautifully define Seville’s legacy of lunacy, passed down through hundreds of generations to me . . . and now to you. I love these stories and believe some of them may even be mostly true.
For instance, if you’ve visited Seville, you may know the Alameda, an absurdly long plaza in the northern part of the city centro. But did you ever wonder why the two pillars at the southern end are off-center?
Having your city established by an actual god conveys certain bragging rights, and to make certain nobody missed this point, in 1574 Seville officials built a vast public garden — Europe’s first — and named it the Alameda de Hercules. For decoration they chose six Roman columns that had stood on the other side of town for 14 centuries. Hauling ancient, 30-foot stone columns in wooden wagons over unpaved streets through a busy city; what could possibly go wrong? Incredibly, two made it safely to the new garden before one managed to roll off and shatter spectacularly in the faces of horrified onlookers.
No doubt a few heads rolled — possibly literally — over that snafu, and suddenly no one wanted the job of pillar transporter. The two surviving columns, topped with statues of Hercules and Julius Cesar respectively, stand at the southern end of the Alameda, their off-center alignment reflecting space left for the third that never arrived. The other three columns are aging gracefully in the Calle Mármoles (Marbles Street), where they are likely to remain until the end of time.
I thought providing some of these tales would give you all a fuller picture of Seville’s landscape, past and present. In the end, what I’ve written is not a conventional guide listing monument visiting hours, railway timetables, and budget hotels; you can easily find all that online. And it’s not comprehensive; you won’t find the top ten of everything in every category. But you will learn where I go for the essentials of life: churros (fried dough), flamenco, that perfect dry martini, a good vantage point for photos of the Three Kings parade, emergency dentistry, pre-flight Covid tests, and the latest changes in Spain’s entry requirements.
It addresses these questions from my email inbox:
How have the last two years reshaped Seville?
When is the ideal time to visit?
How can I check Spain’s entry requirements?
Why do Sevillanos eat five meals a day?
What do locals do for fun?
What’s with all the oddball myths & legends?
People still take siestas? Do I have to?
What if I get sick?
Will I have reverse culture shock going home?
In the book I explain the most striking thing about Seville these days is how normal it seems. People mask up and get vaxxed without a fuss, and then go about their daily lives. With more than 85% of Andalucíans inoculated, this is quite possibly the safest destination in Europe. Of course, that could all change in the next five minutes due to this pesky Omicron variant or some other nasty surprise. Be sure to keep checking this blog for updates.
In the meantime, I’m hedging my bets. I frequently slip a few coins into the nearby shrine of San Pancracio, Seville's patron saint of health. Yes, of course I know it’s pure, medieval superstition. But hey, what harm could it do?
Seville's New Normal is fun and informative, and my goal is to make it accessible to all. I’ve priced the Kindle version at 99 cents. Even if you’re a subscriber, you might want to buy the Kindle edition because A) it’s a more convenient way to read, B) it boosts my Amazon ranking, and C) the higher that rank is, the more visible Amazon will make my book so more readers will find it. Of course, reviews help a lot, too. The paperback is also priced as low as possible ($4.99). I won’t make much on these sales, but if they make a dent in the number of emails in my inbox, I’m more than satisfied. I’ll be raising the price right after the holidays.
Want a free sample of the book? Click on the live preview button below.
I don’t mean to brag, but figuring out how to insert this live preview was just one of the many pieces of technology I’ve mastered this week. The technical side of publishing is not my strong suit, but I've soldiered on, spending countless hours burrowing into previously unknown recesses of my computer, Amazon’s author support pages, Kindle formatting, Microsoft Word, my web host, and the mailing platform. I have triumphed over approximately 43,697 technical glitches. The worst cropped up just after this post first went live: the mailing platform I use crashed, and several of the links I'd sent to subscribers, which were perfect when I sent them out, suddenly went wonky. Thanks to everyone who alerted me to the issues! Now, two days later, all appears to be working perfectly. Fingers crossed, knock wood.
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If you're a regular subscriber, you should already have received a copy of the book in Microsoft Word — my small way of saying thanks for being part of my readers' circle. (If you somehow missed it, please let me know; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll re-send it.)
If you're not yet a subscriber, click on the link below to sign up for your free copy of Seville's New Normal in Microsoft Word and the free updates I'm sending out about Seville and international travel.
If you'd prefer to get the book in Kindle or paperback versions, here's where to find it on Amazon.
At this point I think, hope, and pray that all my tech glitches are resolved, and that my dozen rounds of proofreading have caught at least most of the worst typos.
So whew! The book is out! Tonight I will be picturing every one of you settling down in your favorite armchair, happily reading Seville’s New Normal and dreaming of your next visit to this wonderful, warm, zany city.
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As my regular readers know, I never get free or discounted goods or services for mentioning anything on this blog (or anywhere else). I only write about things that interest me and that I believe might prove useful for you all to know about. Whew! I wanted to clear that up before we went any further. Thanks for listening.
I'm an American travel writer based in Seville, Spain and currently visiting my home state of California.
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