Published: April 6th 2008April 6th 2008
After being cold in Madrid, we were really excited to head south to Sevilla. We went to the Atocha train station and bought high speed train (AVE) tickets to Sevilla. We met a nice couple from San Francisco that we chatted with on the 2 ½ hour ride. Upon arriving, we got a map at the tourist information center and asked how to get to the center of town. We took a bus and walked to a hostal, dropped off our stuff and headed out to explore this quaint town. We arrived on Monday 3/24, the day after the holy week of Semana Santa ended and there was evidence of the huge Easter festival near the Cathedral with rows of chairs and benches surrounding the grand church. The Barrio de Santa Cruz (originally a Jewish ghetto) is full of winding, cobblestone streets and planted windows that hold similarities to Florence and Venice for me. I love the feeling you get walking through the old parts of the town, knowing the history that you’re now a part of.
The Alcazar Palace was originally built by the Moors and in addition to the Moorish influence there is a lot of Jewish influence
as well. We started our tour of Sevilla with the Alcazar Palace and its extensive outdoor gardens. It was incredible and unlike any other palace I’ve seen. The architecture is much more elaborate and colorful than other palaces. After finishing up at the Alcazar, we headed to the river to have lunch and I have to say, I was so excited to finally have a simple salad! Adam and I leisurely ate by the water with the sun beating down on us. It was heaven after a very long Midwestern winter!
After lunch, we walked along the riverside past an old lighthouse where the ships that discovered the Americas were documented. We also strode past the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza Bullring that was stark white with bright yellow accents and took pictures. We attempted to see the inside, but were unable to. I’m sure you must buy tickets to a bullfight which is something I refuse to do. We continued our stroll through the Parque de Maria Luisa that was full of ponds, benches, tall trees, fountains and flowers. We crossed through the park to the magnificent Plaza de Espana, which to me is an underappreciated
building built in a U-shape with all the provinces of Spain represented. It was full of ceramic tile (azulejo) decorated benches and bridges. On our way back from la Plaza de Espana, we bought tickets and toured the Sevilla Cathedral. We have learned that most attractions have long lines in the morning, but if you wait till siesta time or later, there’s little to no wait. (Hint for when you go to Spain!) We entered the enormous cathedral in which the whole old town centers around. It enveloped you with its elevated ceilings and gothic columns. Inside there is a tomb dedicated to Christopher Columbus and while there is speculation as to whether or not it truly contains his remains, it is still humbling to think about. We continued through the cathedral filled with gold and went to La Giralda, an adjoining tower from the 12th century. We climbed (or walked as it’s built as ramps versus stairs) to the top with views of the city around every corner. While we were at the top looking at the gorgeous views of an amazing city, the bells in the tower decided to chime and fortunately they weren’t quite loud enough to
knock us off the tower.
We returned to our hostal, Hostal Cordoba, and took a much needed siesta before heading out for an Italian restaurant. I have to admit, I love tapas in the states and have been looking forward to eating fresh seafood in Spain since we don’t have access in St. Louis, but I have been a bit disappointed in the food. The seafood is mostly fried and we’ve mostly seen fried whole sardines and octopus. Needless to say, we have been eating loaves and loaves of bread and I can’t tell you how much I miss broccoli!
On Wed, 3/26, we decided to take a much needed leisure day so we returned to the riverbank to sit at an outdoor café to people watch and read our novels while enjoying the Southern Spain sun. It was delectable! We decided to try to get some fish for dinner before heading to our Flamenco show. Most of you know, I have wanted to become bilingual and even spent the summer of 2006 in Guatemala studying Spanish, but Spanish isn’t all that prevalent in St. Louis so I’m out of practice, especially because Spain Spanish and Central American
Spanish differ. Regardless, my attempt to ask for “pescado sin huesos” (fish without bones to avoid those whole fried sardines) I thought made sense. What came out of the restaurant was whole fried squid. I guess the waiter was right. They don’t have bones. Oh well! We’ll get some good seafood in Florida next time we’re there :)
The Flamenco Show was intense. I loved how fierce the dancers were. It was very different than my preconceived notions, as it seemed more of a fight than a dance with almost violent facial expressions. It was technically harder, but had a bit less flare than I anticipated. The dancers were extremely talented and Adam and I both thoroughly enjoyed the show as much as we loved Sevilla!
On to Toledo next......
There are more photos below