Tempus Fugit: Farewell and Adieu to You, Fair Spanish Ladies – Sevilla, 18 December 1988


This was the type of aircraft which bore me home to the States from Spain on December 18, 1988 – 34 years ago to the day. (Image Credit: Iberia)

But, I’m leavin’ on a jet plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again

Oh babe, I hate to go. – John Denver, Leaving on a Jet Plane

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Another cold day in Florida…another weather-triggered memory brought on by low temperatures, beautiful morning skies, and a penchant for remembering anniversaries of events from the Land of Ago.

It’s been 34 years since I last walked out of the apartment (2E, at No. 1 Virgen de Robledo) in the Sevilla neighborhood of Los Remedios, which is across the Guadalquivir River from the various places (the CCIS Center and the main campus of the Universidad de Sevilla) that I had gone to during the 12-week-long Semester in Spain study-abroad program that had ended just a few days before.

I fell in love with the sight of La Giralda at night when I first saw it in September of 1988.

Just like in 2022, December 18, 1988 fell on a Sunday. It was, if my memory serves, a gorgeous if chilly day as I lugged my trusty carry-on traveler’s bag – slung precariously from my dominant – left – side while Manuel, my landlady Josefa’s husband, lugged my two heavy suitcases down the long flight of stairs to the “piso de abajo” of the apartment building I had called home for 88 days.

It was early in the morning – I think it was around 7 AM – and (as is often the case when I have to fly anywhere) I had already been awake for a long time. Josefa (who went by the nickname “Pepa”) had prepared a farewell breakfast that included eggs, churros, and Spanish-style hot chocolate, so I was “good to go” for the Sevilla-Madrid leg of my return trip to “the World.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It was also a cold day; I don’t think the temperature had reached the 50-degree (Fahrenheit) mark yet, so I was dressed in “layers,” complete with a heavy overcoat, a knit blue-gray scarf that Josefa had given me in October and insisted I keep as a memento of my stay in her residencia, and a gray fedora (that I no longer have, sadly). I also wore the gloves that my journalism prof, Peter C. Townsend, gave me before I left Miami; along with the scarf, I still have those, though I rarely wear them here in Florida.

Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

The sky was still a dark shade of cerulean blue – the farther to the west you looked, it was still dark. In Miami, my ultimate destination, it was still 2 AM, and I hoped that Mom was getting a good night’s rest. But the sun was coming up on the east, so the sky was like Joseph’s coat of many colors, ranging from red-orange close to the horizon to pink, then blue. If there were clouds up there, I don’t remember them.

I dimly remember sitting in the back of Manuel and Pepa’s car as we made our way through the city to the Autopista del Sur and San Pablo International Airport, where I would board an Iberia DC-9 jet that would take me to Barajas International Airport near Madrid, where in turn I would get on another Iberia jet, this time a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10, bound for Miami and scheduled to arrive around 3 PM Eastern (or 8 PM GMT+1).

Cathedral and La Giralda u2013 Seville u2013 Spain u2013 Catedral y La Giralda u2013 Sevilla u2013 Espau00f1a u2013 WorldPhotographyDay22 by Eduardo J. Cabaleiro is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

I can’t say that I was either totally happy or totally sad as I watched the now familiar-to-me sights – the Torre del Oro, La Giralda, and other landmarks that had been my guideposts during the 12 weeks that I had lived and studied in Sevilla – come and go outside my field of vision inside the compact car (a SEAT from the late 1970s, I think it was).

I was, as I wrote in yesterday’s post, looking forward to returning to Miami. As great as my Semester in Spain experience was – I rank it as tied for first place, along with my “career” on the student newspaper staff at Miami-Dade College – it was not all grins and giggles: I’d experienced homesickness, the frustrations of the slowness of what we now call “snail mail” (the Internet was still in its infancy then, so the Fall 1988 CCIS group did not have email, smartphones with digital cameras, or even Internet access), plus I’d caught the Cold from Hell after getting caught in a deluge in the middle of Maria Luisa Park; it never deterred me from my studies or extracurricular activities and came and went, but that damn cold did not clear up till I was back in Miami. Add to that the loneliness that comes from seeing a lot of attractive young women…and not feeling confident enough to ask one of them out for a date, and you’ll get some idea of the downsides – at least for me – that I experienced in Sevilla.

My former neighborhood in South Florida as it appeared 10 years ago. (Photo by the author)

Plus, I couldn’t wait to be in my house – actually, my mom’s house, technically speaking – and in my own bedroom. It’s a cliché, I know, but as anyone who has traveled anywhere, even if its for a vacation or study-abroad experience, there’s no place like home.

And…yet, as we drove out of the city and onto the Autopista del Sur, I still felt regret that I couldn’t stay longer. In my head, I kept hearing the words of a sea chanty I’d heard in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws:

Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies

Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;

For we’re under orders for to sail for old England)[1]

And we may never see you fair ladies again.

Photo by Istvan Szabo on Pexels.com

[1] In the movie, Quint (Robert Shaw) substitutes “Boston” in place of “Old England.”

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

4 thoughts on “Tempus Fugit: Farewell and Adieu to You, Fair Spanish Ladies – Sevilla, 18 December 1988

    1. Alas, the photos are all stock ones. I have a smallish album of photos that include shots from Sevilla, but I’ll be damned if I know where they are. Plus, I don’t have a scanner, so even if I did know where my Spain pics are, they’re all physical pictures.

      I will, though, thank you for the kind words about the writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I lived in it for three months, and it was home while I was there.

        The only addresses I do not remember are the ones in Colombia.

        I DID take one of the photos on my post…it’s from 2012 and I was coming home with groceries from Winn Dixie when I snapped it.

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: