7 October 2013

A day in Seville

After two days of relaxing travel my late Summer holiday really got going with a full day exploring Seville. This took the form of a guided tour in the morning then free time for the rest of the day.

Our hotel, the Inglaterra, was conveniently situated on the edge of the old town in the south-west corner of Plaza Nueva.

On the other side of the square was the Town Hall which gave an early indication of the decorative style of the grander buildings in the city.

The guide took us on a short walk south along the main road towards the Cathedral that was to dominate the day.

At that time we just stood and gaped at the exterior while waiting to go in to the royal palace next door. This took longer than usual due to problems with their ticketing systems. At least we had the cathedral to look at and some brilliant sunshine to enjoy.

The royal palace did not try to complete with the cathedral on scale but free of religious restrictions it won on decoration.

This was our first exposure (on this trip) to the Moorish style of colourful ceramics, intricate plaster and patterned cedar ceilings.

The structure of the palace would also become familiar with an open courtyard in the centre surrounded by small rooms that all look much the same but which had different purposes, e.g. living or sleeping.

From there we took a coach ride to Plaza de España, which is one of the places that I wanted to see, but this was a only whistle-stop tour and I resolved to go back later in the day.

That was the end of the formal tour and we were then taken back to the hotel. After a short break I went out again to do some freelance exploring.

I found a little cafe in the old town, not that easy as they were all very busy, and had a slow but fun lunch as the two waiters had a serious row and one of them walked off. I then did some general rambling turning from one pretty street in to another. A few had some loose shades to keep the worst of the heat off and this only added to the streets' charms.

I then went back to the cathedral and this time I went inside, not to look at the cathedral but to climb the tower and look at the city.

The tower was unusual in that there were no steps up but a series of ramps instead.

There were windows all the way up and with the tower being square it offered views of the whole city.

I am not that good with heights, but they have to be climbed to get views like this, and so I was pleased to find a very solid and quite tall wall with thick railings above. I was still somewhat nervous and I had to walk around the viewing level carefully.

It was quite hot by then and I had done a lot of walking so I had a beer break on the way back to the hotel where I had a short siesta. There was no time for a nap as I had to recharge phone batteries and do various web things.

An hour or so later I headed back to Plaza de España, this time by tram.

The sun was racing down when I got there and it added a warm touch of red to the brick work.

The Plaza is over the top in a way that tops should be gone over. It is almost surreal which I guess is why it was used as a royal palace in Star Wars 2 (under the new numbering scheme) rather than go to the effort of drawing something in CGI.

The building is semi-circular with a moat in front of it that is crossed by four bridges. There is a large fountain in the centre of the Plaza and two pools of water leading to each end of the building. It is all very impressive and I was right to go back there.

The light dies quickly then but I had done all that I wanted to do that day. It was still warm, if not hot, and the siesta had worked so I decided to walk back to the hotel. I may not have taken the most direct route, or the route that I intended to take, and that did not matter.

I found myself unintentionally back in the Jewish Quarter where we had stopped for a coffee in the morning so I went in to look for a restaurant.

That part of the plan worked well and I found a good restaurant in a pretty square and I sat outside for an hour or so having a leisurely paella.

The day had one final treat waiting for me back at the hotel. There was a bar on the roof where I had a daiquiri nightcap while appreciating the few monuments lit up for my pleasure. Appropriately the chief of these was the cathedral which had already featured twice in my busy day.

I am sure there is more to Seville than I managed to see in a day but I had more cities to see that holiday and a day was all that I had, and an excellent day it was too.

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