Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sevilla, Spain

We said goodbye to our dear friends Jennie and Wayne yesterday morning in Marrakesh. They're returning to Australia (with a 30 hour flight ahead of them - yuk!) and we were flying, via Madrid, to our next stop, Sevilla, Spain. It has been a magical, memorable 2 week stay in Morocco that we have shared together!
We got to our apartment (Pelayo Terrace) on Calle Luis Montoto, Sevilla  well after 8.00pm last night after a bit of a hiccup caused by my mistakenly informing our landlord we'd be arriving a bit after 2.00pm!!! We recovered from the confusing start to our stay and our orientation visit conducted entirely in Spanish (!) with a bottle or two of Tempranillo and some late night tapas at one of the local, friendly bars in the well heeled area around our inner city apartment.

We started slowly this morning and found our way through the picturesque streets of Sevilla's old town to the meeting place at the main cathedral for one of Pancho's walking tours, starting at 11.00am. We ended up having enough time to enjoy a coffee hit first, before the 2 and 1/2 hour walk got under way.
Sevilla's cathedral area is jam packed with tourists and there is already a very long queue for people wanting to enter the building today. It is the largest Gothic Cathedral in Europe - which started as a mosque under the rule of the conquering Moors (from Morocco). It was transformed and extended to become a Christian Cathedral in the Middle Ages. The Cathedral bell tower (formerly a minaret) is remarkably similar to the Koutoubia mosque in Marrakesh (and we know that having been there so recently).

 It takes us a little while to get used to our guide Manuel's accent...but we all grow to like his expressive and rhythmical way of talking and all his hand clapping and animated gesticulation.
Our next stop was the iconic Hotel Alfonso X111, just across from the Real Alcazar (we only skirted the wall around this amazing royal palace and garden today) in the newer part of old Sevilla town. This hotel is fit for kings, and with room rates well above the 500euro per night rate we are highly unlikely to ever see much of its interior.

We walked past the beautiful old cigar factory building (it belonged to the king - for making his cigars with tobacco from the Americas), which now houses part of Sevilla's university.
.....then we walked through the Parque de Maria Luisa until we rounded the corner to the stupendous Plaza de Espana, built at enormous cost for the 1929 Exposition in Sevilla...and probably never used for anything of much importance since...but what an amazing monument to grand vision and big ideas!

We enjoyed our walking tour of medieval and early 20th century Sevilla, but after finishing at around 2.00pm we were in great need of a drink and time to eat and rest.  Sevilla must be one of the easiest cities in the world to find great food, welcoming service and perfect mid Autumn temperatures for al fresco dining. We had no trouble settling in for a few hours of relaxation at our choice of cafe in a small plaza in the old town.

We walked more later in the afternoon, finding our way to the downtown shopping area around Centro and spending a little while on some retail therapy (focussing on bags today).

It was well after 6.30pm before we were finally walking back to the apartment (after at least a 15-16klm walking day today), and much to our surprise we discovered this (Metropol Parasol) in Plaza Mayor........ I'm not sure what the local's attitude is to this....but any city that can produce the Plaza de Espana is well capable of producing a "mushroom" too if it chooses to.
We enjoyed a light supper of beer and cheese tonight on our breezy apartment terrace overlooking the dense foliage of the Calle Luis Montoto plane trees - about all we felt capable of after walking so much today in this beautiful city.

1 comment:

rossie l said...

Enjoying following your adventures. I'm sure you are having lots of wonderful tapas and wines now in Spain. Xx