Saturday, 9:53 am. Bike is parked next to Alfonso XIII, heavy with a layer of dust. No one is out, save the old men, hands clasped behind their backs in a slow, statuary salute.
Early Saturday mornings mean the city is entirely for me: no camera-toting tourists to dodge, no street performers belting out their tired anthems. The sting of smoke from the chestnut vendors blinds me from the soft, golden color of the sun, long before it drowsily roars with its midday strength.
La Esquina de Arfe becomes my fueling stop, just a brisk walk away from the nondescript churros stand. The woman twisting the long coils hands a doughy stick to a young boy, snatching it away at the last moment. Niño! she scolds, ¡Que te vas a quemar! I take my coffee templado and my toast a bit burnt with tomatoes.
Saturday mornings mean solitude – in the streets, in the Hospital de la Caridad, in my own head. I wander the streets of El Arenal watching vendors receive their fresh goods, feeling the sunlight on my face. After ducking into Plaza del Cabildo for a quick look at the antique shops, I burst out onto Avenida de la Constitución. In the City That Never Socializes Indoors, the streets have filled with strollers and shoppers.
María Praderes Dolores once sang that Sevilla has a special color. I imagine that it’s the color of the sun that sets in Triana and is born in Santa Cruz, illuminating the Giralda spire on early Saturday mornings.