Day 045: Seville, Spain
Day 045: Seville (supplemental)
Hi everyone. We’re in Seville, Spain today. Tomorrow is the 4th of July and we should be in Lisbon, Portugal. They probably won’t celebrate the holiday in quite the same way. In the past week we visited three ports in Italy, then Monte Carlo and Barcelona. We have over 1500 pictures from those seven days, so expect some “retro” posts.
Your support keeps us going and we hate not being well connected. We continue to be judicious with the Internet minutes available, balanced with some really sketchy connection issues in the Med. even this morning the speed was much improved after passing through the Gibraltar Strait into the Atlantic. The air even smelled like “home”, a big ocean smell again after the inland seas.
Departing from Cadiz, you will take a scenic 90-minute non-guided coach ride to Seville, the capital city of Andalusia, and one of the more artistically and culturally significant cities in southern Spain. Along the way, you will see a country side rich with cotton fields and olive groves and pass the historic Tobacco Factory, the setting for Bizet’s Carmen. You’ll arrive within walking distance to Seville’s monumental complex of the Alcazar, the Cathedral de Seville and the Archivo de Indias, the three together forming an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s here you’ll start your adventure.
Seville itself is over 2000 years old. It’s the influence of the various civilizations that gives it a distinct personality. In addition to a strong medieval, renaissance and baroque heritage, you can feel, and see the heavy influences from Arabic culture. The Alcazar is a perfect example of the fusions of these cultures. Originally a 913 Moorish fortress this royal palace became a spectacular blend of the Islamic and Spanish Christian architecture. It is still the residence of His Royal Majesty Juan Carlos when he visits Seville. Walk through the various rooms, halls, and patios and you’ll see this unique and unexpected blend of beauty. The spectacular gardens and fountains are definite must-sees as well.
Nearby is the Cathedral de Seville, built on the site of an ancient mosque. This 15th century church is the largest gothic building in the world and the third largest church in Europe. As you enter, you can see works of art abounding, whether it’s the architectural wonders such as the cathedral’s dazzling golden interior, traditional gothic details, or the stunning stained-glass windows, iron screens (rejas) elaborate 15th-century choir stalls, or the works of Goya and other masters.
Adjacent to the cathedral is La Giralda, the 12th century Moorish Tower, and the only remains of the mosque that once stool there. It’s city’s most recognizable landmark. While there are no steps inside, if you are up for climbing the seemingly endless ramp, you will be rewarded with amazing views of the city.
For an example of a quintessential Andalusian palace, visit the Casa Plaza de Pilatos in the Plaza de Pilatos. It was given its present name because the result of its Renaissance/Moorish construction efforts was thought to look like Pontius Pilate’s house in Jerusalem.
To really feel the soul of Seville, be sure to see the picturesque Santa Cruz district for a stroll through its narrow and winding cobblestone streets. El Barrio is deep in the heart of the Seville’s historic center, and was the old Jewish Quarter until the 15th century. Rebuilt to its current glory in the early 19th century, it’s filled with charming tree-shaded plazas, white-washed homes, taverns and cafes. The perfect place to experience life as a Sevillano.
After a full and memorable day, you’ll gather your treasures and meet your motor coach for your scenic return to Cadiz and your ship.