The magnificent sights around Sevilla.
Feb 26, 2005
Hola from Sevilla, the largest city of Andalucia and its capital in the South of Spain. It is definitely an enchanting place with bullrings, tapa bars, narrow cobbled-stone streets, flamenco and plethora of monuments that are unmistakably Spanish despite the strong influence of Moors, Goth, Islam and Christianity. Perhaps it was the air that makes me see everything Spanish! Whichever is the case...Sevilla is truly an easy city to like.
My mom, Jerry and I were really lucky when we were out looking for a decent place to stay that wouldn't bust our budget and stumbled into a nice and simple hotel, Hotel San Francisco, that offered us two separate rooms for the price of one (well...almost!). What's even more special was that it was right in the heart of Barrio of Santa Cruz and only a stone throw from the Cathedral and Real Alcazar (Royal Palace). We grabbed this opportunity and booked for 3 nights and had no regrets about it as the staff were very helpful and kept the place immaculately clean!
We went to the Cathedral and I was astounded to learn that it was first built as a mosque back in 1184. It then became a Christian Cathedral by 1401 and that was when Gothic style was added to the building in early 1500's. Renaissance took over by early 1600's and they added more halls, annexes and the upper section of Giralda tower. By early 1600's Baroque style was the fashion and naturally they added some more to reflect this style and completed in 1758. Few additional were made by late 1800's with its final touch by 1928! It was said to be the third largest Cathedral after St. Pauls in London and St. Peters in Rome. However Sevillans claimed that if it was measured by volume then it would without any doubt ranked first. I really don't give a fuss about its ranking as long as it is ONE of the largest, biggest, mammoth, and beautiful cathedral! The intricate stonework and crocketing on doorways and windows were simply wonderful. I held my head high with my mouth agape staring at soaring flying buttresses, menacing gargoyles, and colorful stained windows. The feeling was amazing and I got goose bumped several times as I wander through towering pillars that separated into fine ribs to hold the domed ceilings. I thought of the generations of people who toiled (no doubt with sweat and blood) for a combination of over 800 years to put together this magnificent Cathedral to stand mighty and proud till the end of time.
The visit to Real Alcazar (Royal Palace) was also a treat! It was originally a Moorish fortress but when Sevilla captured it in 712 A.D., it was then transformed into a palace. It became popular place for Spanish royals to stay while visiting the area. It is also one of the best surviving example of Mudejar architecture in Spain. Its dripping wealth with marbles and brick columns everywhere. The design were strongly Moorish and Mudejar. The rambling garden in the back was to die for with hundreds of water fountains and beautiful sculptures. Well-manicured lawns, bushes (some in maze designs) and trees would make any gardener envy with green! It was a pleasure walking through the garden and to admire the palace from afar. Definitely one of the nicest walks in the garden for me!
Visited Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza, the largest and major bullring of Sevilla. I have never been to any bullrings and had always envisioned them to be drab with bleachers and some dried blood from the bulls and sometimes matadors on the inner wall of the ring. But I was wrong when I entered this bullring as it was much more sophisticated with bleached-out white walls and saffron yellow trims. There wasn't none of that cheap wood bleachers but instead was made with solid red bricks. It really made a nice contrast to the light yellow sand in the ring and white walls. There was a small museum inside the bullring as well as emergency operating room in case the bull got the upper hand! It was fascinating taking a tour around the building and witnessing its long history of bullfights with some matadors taking top honors. If you're ever in Sevilla you shouldn't miss seeing this place, too!
I can swear that we have already walked over 100 miles during our stay here in Sevilla! We have walked for more than 8 hours each day taking strolls around different parts of the city. Walked by a pharmacy store with an electronic weigh and decided to see how much I weigh as I was sure I had lost some pounds by then. But it seemed the machine had some issues with me cause it spit out a slip of paper that informed me that I weighted 79.5 kilograms (about 175 lbs). Decided I didn't like Spanish's weigh teller and much preferred Japanese one as it had told me that I weighted a lot less than the Spanish version! ;-)
Anyway...We are gonna change our itinerary a bit and will head straight for Morocco tomorrow instead of going to Cadiz as we really couldn't wait to see and experience Morocco. Well...the truth is that our money is running out faster than we anticipated, as it was no longer cheap to stay in Spain, or elsewhere in Europe, with Euros rising against the dollars! Should be much cheaper in Morocco so we could live like Kings and Queens for a while before coming back and travel frugally! Its OK when I travel in India or Africa but not here in Europe as I gonna have me some class and style! :-p
Hang in there and you will hear more from me about Morocco and whether we are living well down there or not! ;-) Until then...yall stay warm and safe and I will be with you in spirit!
Big beary hugs as always,