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Published: July 31st 2013
Click to enlarge. You'll be able to see the fine mist the awnings spray on you to keep you cool.
Ah, Espana! We headed out as early as we could (without setting the alarm). The drive was about 2 1/2 hours total. There was no change or difference when we passed into Spain, although there was more signs of agriculture, notably olives and sunflowers. However, we did notice that the time on the iPad jumped ahead an hour - turns out we changed time zones! We parked at a mall on the outskirts of downtown and took a bus into the old city centre. Our first stop was at a Tapas restaurant with outdoor tables. We enjoyed the grilled squid, fried camembert with raspberry sauce, avocado stuffed with seafood, grilled swordfish to name a few. We also had a dish of paella. All delicious!
Next was the Cathedral and the Giraldi tower. We didn't actually go up the tower as the heat was excessive today and the kids would not have made it up. It was so hot today that both were red/purple faced and at times, I think suffering from heat exhaustion! Even in the shade the breeze blew on you like someone just opened an oven door. In this we walked some 6 km. All of the cafes
Grilled baby squid. Mmmmmm!
have tables outside covered by umbrellas and awnings and these are actually lined on the underside with misting apparatus (every 10 seconds or so, a very light mist sprays out to cool the patrons!). I had read that the city is known for being hot so I guess the misters are required every day, not just today.
We continued on to the Real Alcazar which is the oldest Royal residence. The gardens of the palace were really spectacular and we saw peacocks roaming around. There were orange trees, pomegranate trees and lime trees as well as a maze and many ponds, fountains, and arches. The gardens were very extensive which was something considering the property was right in the city centre!
We walked through the Jewish Quarter and checked out a few shops on the way. Our last stop was the Plaza Espana which was built for the 1929 Olympics. It is a very large semi-circle building (huge) built entirely of tiles and is very ornate. There are huge ponds and fountains out front. It is located right beside the Parque Maria Luisa which is also really big for a park in the centre of the city. The
gardens here were really gorgeous and extensive.
At that point, I think the kids were actually close to falling over so we hailed a cab to get us back to where we parked the car. The air conditioning in the car never felt so good! We found our car and headed back to Portugal. We did get off the big highway at one point and checked out a couple of smaller towns. They seemed a little run down (lots of graffiti, etc) so we didn't stop. Maybe it was just that part of Spain.
Home again, we ALL got in the pool and stayed for quite a while to get our core temperature back down......
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