Monday, 9 August 2010
With a week to spare before we venture to Japan, we decide to revisit one of our favourite countries, Spain, but this time the picturesque city of Seville. We had loved Barcelona when we visited earlier this year and knew that we would be warmly welcomed in regard to both hospitality and weather. From the time we arrive the thermometer remains around the 40 degree mark, so we opt for a steady routine of sightseeing, drinking, siesta, eating, more drinking followed by ice cream…a tried and true approach to Spanish tourism in the heat of August. We are fortunate that our hotel is in the old town, which means that some of the best tourist sights are at our doorstep and we are able to walk the narrow cobblestone lanes to most locations. We are amazed by some of the architecture with its strong Arabic influences, which are gradually undergoing careful restoration. In particular Torre Del Oro (The Golden Tower) and La Giralda with it’s imposing minaret, whose many ramps we patiently walk in the scorching heat of the day to reveal the best view of the city. The tower is attached to the grand gothic Cathedral of Seville, which is the third largest in Europe and houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus as well as many priceless church artefacts. Another highlight is the Real Alcazar palace with it's ornate decorations reminiscent of Morocco and it's tranquil gardens. Just around the corner from the hotel is the Plaza de Toros regarded as the oldest and most beautiful bullring in Spain and despite our objections to the sport itself, we remained impressed by this spectacular arena. Not too far away from the city centre is The Spanish Plaza, which is a complete surprise to me as I know very little about it but now regard it as possibly one of great buildings in the world. When the sun finally retreats around 10.00pm, the locals begin to emerge to enjoy their paella’s and drink sangria’s in the many street cafes, while the beautifully maintained horse drawn carts clip clop by. Like most tourists who stupidly tramp around in the midday sun, we are tanned and tired but in the cool of the evening we now happily try to blend in. All is well, until our lack of Spanish inevitably gives us away!