March 5, 2007

M&M Visit Sevilla

The Brothers J Take Seville

Sevilla was the one place that The Brothers J Part Uno requested we visit while M&M were here in October. I am quite certain that this request had very little to do with Spain, Sevilla itself, or Rossini for that matter (though he is good fun) and very much to do with that delightfully fwustwating wabbit, Bugs Bunny. So much so, in fact, that the Brothers J Part Dos informed me that I simply must include a link to the Rabbit of Seville in this particular post. The Brothers J - once again proving, through their ability to communicate with grunts, looks and thoughts alone that the rest of us will truly never understand them. It is best to simply comply and enjoy the results.

Therefore, I present for your amusement: The Rabbit of Seville

We began this lovely day by dealing with everyone's favorite vacation participant: Travel Drama. We had all had just about enough of TD thus far, so we were brief in our instructions. We changed the delivery address for the delayed luggage to a good friend of ours here in Sotogrande. I, being wary of the fact that we had once again spoken to someone at a computer and not at the actual airport where the bag was located, decided to write a note for the delivery guy using my best español (it wasn't that great) know, just in case they still delieverd it to our apartment instead of to the new address.


We have saved this note for all other visitors so that we shall be prepared if their bags are also delayed. Once again: Just.In.Case.

Having done all that we could regarding the luggage, we parted ways with doggy-fantastic - quite dramatically as he is very much like that eldest child...always wanting the attention - and were off to find our way to Sevilla.

Most of the drive was easy-peasy. The tricky part, as with any city in Spain (thus far), came when we arrived at the city and had to navigate the calles and avenidas without any well-placed street signs. Basically, we played a guessing game much of the time to figure out what street we were on, especially in the older parts of town. Oh, and of course tourists, they usually want to go to the older parts of town because that is where all of the old sight worthy stuff is located.

The one constant in each city/town that we have visited are the many signs for hotels, parking, and the centro. We played a game of Follow That Sign (centro) and eventually figured out that we were on Cristóbal Colón, one of the main streets beside the river. This was excellent, as we were hoping to park along that street somewhere as it is very close to the places we wanted to visit.

Unfortunately, we arrived in Sevilla in the late morning and many of the easy-to-reach parking garages were already full. Señor CC navigated some of the your-car-might-fit-but-it-might-not streets and we drove past a few garages that were full. We finally drove back out to Cristóbal Colón and just as we were contemplating crossing the river to park, The Brothers J Part Uno noticed that a previously full garage was now libre.

Can I get a WOOT!?

This parking garage was in a prime location; it was within a two minute walk of the Plaza de Toros. The white, yellow, and red color scheme seems to be the way to go; every bull-ring we have seen is painted those colors.

Our next order of business was finding a place to eat lunch. Up to this particular day we had been eating pretty much wherever. We had eaten tapas in La Línea for lunch, which is a very traditional southern Spain thing to do, but we hadn't been seeking out any particular foods. We were informed prior to driving to Sevilla that The Brothers J Part Uno had a list (A LIST!) of food that he simply must have while in Spain. Therefore at this moment we were not only looking for lunch, but for paella because he MUST HAVE PAELLA.

Let me be clear: I totally agree. He must have paella while he is in Spain. So must you and you and you. Also, Tahj, Ahj and R-Shelly should have some. It is mighty tasty when done well.

We found a small restaurant that was open and that served paella, so that is what we ordered. I must say that it was far better in Sevilla than in the few places I had tried in near Sotogrande. it was yummy indeed and there may have even been pictures taken of that massive pan of food.

No, I didn't take the picture, so I don't have it to share with you.

If there exists such a picture.

I did say may have been.

We headed off towards the cathedral after we ate. This cathedral is very old and it one of the largest, if not the largest, in Spain. The architecture was very interesting. The cathedral was first a Muslim mosque. After the reconquest, it was converted to a cathedral. When Cristóbal Colón sailed west to find a new route, all of the wealth was sent back to Spain, through Sevilla. The royal palace was in Sevilla for many years, and because of this, it was a very wealthy city. One can see this by looking at the cathedral.

Visitors are not allowed to use a flash inside the cathedral. At the time I had not had my camera for very long and I was not sure how to use it for taking pictures without a flash. As expected, many of my pictures are quite...interesting because of this.

Not wanting to mislead you, I admit that I hardly know anything more about that facet of my camera now, five months later. Yes, a class. Yes, I am scheduled (hopefully) to take one this summer.

[Back to the main event.]

The entrance to the cathedral is very deceiving. We passed through a small moorish tunnel to get from the ticket booth to the interior. There the are expands greatly. The ceiling feels like it is a kilometer high and there is a ton of open space above you. High up on the outer walls of the cathedral are stained glass windows that are full of color and depict many scenes.

Surrounding the main area are small chapels containing various treasures. Luckily there was an architectural detail that included a small rail on which I could place my camera in order to take long(er) exposure pictures. This is a shot of one of the side walls of a chapel. In it you can see the iron bars separating us from the area as well as the detail in the walls of the building.

Some chapels contained paintings and other more usual objects. Others contained brilliant red and gold objects from another time. Looking into these recesses was like looking at Sevilla as it once was. It allowed us to imagine what things must have been like in the times of Cristóbal Colón when Sevilla was the place to be.

Speaking of the man himself, there is a memorial to the adventurer complete with his remains. Four men hold up a casket and on one side there is a window through which we could see a very old small box that is said to contain what is left of Cristóbal Colón. There is still some debate as to the authenticity of the remains; some believe he may still 'reside' in Santo Domingo. This particular 'sight' is very popular; there is a special ramp set up to help visitors line up and view the memorial in a timely manner.

Another main attraction in Sevilla is the Giralda Tower. The tower is connected to the cathedral and your entrance fee includes a trip to the top, but they are in fact two separate buildings. The hike to the top is just that, a hike. We walked up about thirty-five short ramps until we finally reached a short set of stairs that took us to the top. The tower was built, as a minaret with ramps, by the Muslims so that a man on a horse could ascend to call the people to prayer. The view from the top is amazing. It is full of bells and offers a 360-degree view of the city.

When we left the cathedral, our exit was through the courtyard of orange trees. At one time, this was where the Muslims entered their mosque. It is complete with fountains and waterways throughout. It is here where we could really see the building's original purpose; the exit was an amazing Moorish arch.

Directly across the plaza from the cathedral is the Alcázar, a royal Palace built on the site of a Moorish fortress. Once in ruins, a palace was begun by Pedro the Cruel. King Pedro I used Moorish workers to construct the building, which gave it an Islamic design.

Throughout Spain we have found painted tiles. They are vastly different and all are beautiful. I knew that the Muslims also decorated with painted tiles, but I was not sure prior to my visit to the Alcázar of the difference between the Spanish style and the Islamic style. Our visit to the Alcázar was even more amazing because of the 'new' visions within.

Like the Alhambra in Granada, each ceiling is decorated in great detail and each is somehow similar but drastically different.

The doors are similar. Some are wooden and rise from floor to rooftop and some are metal. Many surfaces within the palace are gold-covered or graphically painted.

The Courtyard of the Maidens reminds me very much of La Alhambra's Courtyard of the Myrtles. There is a reflecting pool and gardens in this courtyard which is surrounded by marvelously detailed arches.

Equally amazing and worth your time are the gardens adjacent to the palace. Even in October when most flowering plants were no longer in bloom the area was beautiful. I can only imagine what it must look like in the spring.

The painstaking detail not end with the interior of the building. Exterior walls and small buildings are full of detail and color as well.

After our visit to the palace, The Brothers J and their wives were feeling a little tired. We decided to attempt food number two on the LIST! of things to eat in Spain. Luckily for all, this one was a real treat. We headed to the local gelado shop and each ordered whatever looked good. It was a tad difficult choosing our flavors as everything looked mighty yummy indeed.

We were all ready to sit down for a bit, so we walked back to the car after some souvenir shopping. We piled into the wee orange car that could and drove back towards the southern coast. Along the way were able to see a couple of these big guys:


On our drive home we were all able to reflect on our day...and to recall that pesky little Travel Drama once again. We had no idea if the luggage had been delivered...and if it had, where they had decided to take it. This was M&M's last chance to receive their bag in Spain because they would be heading home before the next scheduled delivery date.

Luck was on our side because there sat the enormous bag at our door when we arrived home. What a joyous homecoming it was! Doggy-fantastic was happy (especially now that the delivery man was done making his noise) and so were we. Rest was on the menu, but not for long, because we headed out to dinner at La Cabaña that evening. The food was yummy as always, and it made for a nice ending to a long but enjoyable day.

Long live the wabbit...

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