I firmly believe that the are some places that each of us is destined to love. Often these are places that hold special meanings to many; occasionally they may be polarizing. (For example I still can’t bring myself to love Barcelona, even though many consider it to be a magical place. And yet I deeply adore Paris, which many find cliched, overcrowded, and frigid). But the point is that which cities you are destined to love don’t always make intuitive sense.
For me, Paris makes sense. It’s full of itself, sure, but not because of its impeccable style or riches (hey Milan, which I hate). It’s because of its deep adoration for literature, which is tucked into every available corner, competing for space only with cafes serving wine or places selling cheese, which I also love.
But Sevilla theoretically has no reason to capture my heart. Much as I’ve tried, I can’t say I’m crazy about the Spanish language, Flamenco dance, or hot landlocked cities. And frankly, there’s nothing THAT special about it. It’s old and beautiful but so are many, many other cities. It’s not usually on the list of must-see destinations, even in Spain.
And yet Seville, for some reason, has been calling my name ever since I first looked at a map of Europe. And when I finally landed here, I felt the rightness of my being here resonating deep within me. I felt that magical “click” that I didn’t even know I had been searching for ever since I found Paris. “I LOVE this city,” I thought the second I turned a corner and landed on the square where I would have breakfast. “No wait” thought commitment-phobic me, “not so fast. Surely you don’t LOVE it. Surely you just like it, and it will disappoint you within the hour, and you will be over it just like most other cities.” But it continued to not let me down. I walked and walked and walked, turning corners, getting lost, constantly losing my bearings, constantly becoming even more deliriously happy.
In Seville, I didn’t feel the profound sense of loneliness that I frequently experience when traveling alone. In many cities I’ve felt deeply sad, frustrated or uncomfortable being alone. But in Seville (as in other cities I believe I was fated to love), I felt that being alone there was the way I was supposed to be. I was complete. Me and the city, together, were complete.
I never thought that a city could teach me so much about love, but astonishingly, it really did. Because this is real love: It may not make much logical sense to you or anyone else around you and yet it feels inevitable. It feels too strong to be more than a mere infatuation, and yet it persists far beyond its expected expiration date. It requires nothing else but you and the object of your love. No activities, no distractions, no third wheels to make you forget the tedium of existing. It’s complete in itself. And I am so happy that I have, at least, found it in one more city (and that cities don’t require me to be flawlessly loving, doting, monogamous, or consistent in any way).