Trip Start Dec 26, 2011
47Trip End Apr 17, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Well, this is downright silly, but each time we experience a great city we say to ourselves…"well, this is it, we can't find anywhere else that can live up to this!” We said this in Barcelona, then Toledo, then Cordoba, and now we are saying the same about Seville. It was quite wondrous, and we have still only scratched the surface. It makes us wonder if we had done them in reverse, would we still think that the later ones surpassed the earlier ones? No way of knowing.
The bus ride in and back was very pleasant… about 20 minutes, and basically an express with relatively few stops, and for 1.45 Euro each way, a bargain compared to Vancouver’s Translink. Some of the route was past shops and light industry, but as we entered the city we passed row upon row of 19th and early 20th C villas, fountains and gardens
From the bus stop, we had a 15 minute walk to the Oficina Touristica. As is common in Spain, the agent there seemed only mildly interested in us, as if we were interrupting what they really wanted to be doing, but we still picked up a decent little tour map. After pausing at one of the numerous Starbucks to orient ourselves, we strolled over to the great Cathedral.
The Seville Cathedral is the biggest in the world in terms of square footage, and the third longest in the world. Like the Cordoba Cathedral, it is founded upon the site of a middle ages mosque, however in this case there is very little evidence of the original mosque. Beyond the sheer size, and the brilliance of its choir and chapels, it did not quite equal Toledo nor Cordoba in architecrural and artistic merit. The most exciting feature was its Giralda tower, based on the original minaret, which has a ramp system round and round to walk to the top for magnificent views of Seville. Pat and I often split up with an agreed meeting time and place so that we can both enjoy the particular features we wish, and in this case it meant that I (Bill) had to climb up twice! The first time I thought Pat must have gone up ahead of me, but as I did not find her up there, I had to go down and retrieve her, then walk up again
After a picnic lunch on a pleasant square, we went to the "Real Alcazars”, or Royal Palaces. This turned out to be certainly one of the highlights of our trip. We decided to join a guided tour despite the extra 5 Euro each, and glad we did, as we discovered many of the architectural features and historical stories that we would have overlooked. The complex has 3 principal buildings, with each from different eras, and with different stories. The oldest building was founded in the 8th C by the Muslims, and features some fabulous tile work, mudahjar arches and courtyards, and fascinating history. Following the “reconquest” by Ferdinand III the Alcazar became the home of the Royal families. There are direct connections with many of the “big name” families of Europe, such as the Hapsburgs and the Tudors, as so many of Spanish royal offspring were pawned off to these dynasties in the name of alliances. Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first with, for example, was born in this Alcazar.
Great explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Magellan were feted in the palace, and are honoured in the Explorers’ Chapel. It is almost a shocking feeling to to be in the actual physical spaces once occupied by almost mythical persons
The Alcazar pretty well filled out the day, so we have decided we must stay at least one more day in Seville. It seems so bikeable that we plan to drive into the outskirts tomorrw and bicycle in along the river. To be continued…
January 31, 2012: Sevilla
Another pleasant day in Seville, but not as dramatically interesting as yesterday
After another Starbucks break, we headed to the Plaza Espana, which is a gigantic 19th C palace built in a great semi-circle around a fountain and plaza. It was particularly notable for its effusive tilework. We have not yet found any info on its history, but it must well have been a royal complex of some sort. Now it seems to have provincial government ministries and a courthouse. Very dramatic!
From there we rode westward along the banks of the river about 4 kms, then crossed over to the south side which was the area of the 1992 Seville Expo. It is now a bit of a rag-taggle of dilapidated old Expo buildings with some attempts at using them for commercial enterprises, but it really seems a bit of a ghost town atmosphere, with the graffitti artists winning the battle. Vancouver’s Expo site development is so much more liveable.
Back over to the north side, we visited the Museo de Torroes at the 19th C bullfight ring. There was a compulsory guided tour which was interesting for learning some of the factoids about bullfighting, such as… every bull gets killed, that is the matador’s responsibility, there is a one in five chance of a matador or one of the other team members getting injured in an event, most of the horses used by the picadors used to get killed but now they have heavy leather armour, there is a bullfight here every Sunday from April though October, and every day in the festival time of April.
That was it… we rode back out to the van, then some major shopping catch up, and back to the campground. A pleasant day, but not our usual fantastic standard!