The metropolis of Sevilla was our next destination, we had long been told of the beautiful city and at last we were in the right area to visit. Our location for Bessie was at a great setting in Gelves Marina; slightly out of, and south of the city, looking out over the Guadalquiver River with the marina behind. Herons stalked on the river margins, ducks and moorhens paddled around and during dusk each evening, a flock of around 50 cattle egrets flew to a roost somewhere nearby and bats flew erratically catching insects. The steady comings and goings of boats, rowing lessons for kids on long thin boats and occasional noisy jet skis kept me entertained for a whole afternoon of relaxing after we arrived.
We used the bus to get into the city each day which was easy, cheap and took only 20 minutes dropping us a short walk from the centre itself. Horses with carriages were everywhere, looking very striking as they trotted with tourists all over the city in a constant clatter of hooves; I never tired of admiring them. Firstly a walk in a lovely large park , some autumn colours in the trees and shade over wide pathways for pedestrians, bicycles, 2 and 4 seated cycling carts and of course the glossy horses with yellow wheeled carriages. There were fountains and pools, reflections in the water added another dimension and a gazebo styled building overlooked the water.
The Plaza España is a magnificent area with a large expanse of decorative paving, a curved ‘Venice’ styled waterway complete with boats just in front of a beautiful curved building with towers at either end. One of the features within the whole area was lovely coloured tiling, either in decoration along walls, ceiling and floors, but also as pictures depicting many cities around Spain with maps too.
Walking around the streets and squares the buildings are varied in architectural style, colour and age making it fascinating, the views are constantly changing and interesting. It was Halloween when while we were there and many shops had decorations and amusing signs, everything was so colourful.
An old cobbled, tree lined street had a wonderful collection of tapas bars where we stopped to try some different dishes we hadn’t seen before. One was a very busy no frills experience, just good food, and cheap too. The barman drew a chalk circle on the bar in front of you putting in the number of tapas you ordered and simply amended it and charged accordingly at the end; no paper, pens or electronic devices in sight, brilliant.
The huge cathedral stands impressively with its varied Mudéjar and Gothic architecture gleaming in the sun, it’s so big I couldn’t find a single place to get a photo of the whole building. With many turrets, finials, and the tall Giralda Tower looked great against the blue sky, a large round window with elaborate and decorative details surrounding it, and an enormous arched doorway, complete with thoroughly modern ‘sail’ shading for the visitors as they wait to view inside. We didn’t as there were several days to wait for a viewing slot, may be another time.
For something different we went into the Achivos de India building, a large square building right next to the cathedral with marble floors and staircase with an elaborate diamond plasterwork ceiling. Upstairs was a very good exhibition of telling the story of Magellan’s historic first circumnavigation of the world and the heavy toll it took of men and ships. We knew nothing about it both felt we had learned something, it was really well put together with information in English and many displays.
Walking alongside the river the tall pale stone, 12 sided, Torre de Oro has stood there since the early 13th century and was damaged by the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755. Further along is the Plaza de Torros, the old bull ring, not used for that purpose anymore and has been done up as an historic building. Triana on the opposite side of the river is a colourful area, buildings line up along the river bank just after crossing the Triana Bridge, which itself was structurally attractive having great circles along it’s length. We found a colourful indoor market to wonder around, lots of fruit and vegetables, cheeses and cured meats, nuts, pulses and fresh herbs, cakes and breads.
Totally different from everything else we’d seen was a large modern structure built in 2011, the Las Setas de Sevilla, meaning The Mushrooms of Seville. It is the largest wooden structure in the world standing at 85 feet tall, inside Roman remains which were discovered while being built have been preserved and displayed. It has a street level market, and large plaza shaded by the structure, a restaurant, and the upper levels give great views over the city.
The one major building we waited 2 days to see was the wonderful Royal Alcázar; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the beautiful Mudéjar and Gothic styles and still used by the Royal Family as their Palace when in Sevilla. No description can do it justice; the decorative walls, courtyards, tiling and friezes, ceilings, wooden doors, enormous tapestries, the list goes on….
Moving outside there were large gardens, beautiful and peaceful right in the centre of the city, huge trees, water fountains and formal ponds, geometric designed gardens enclosed in hedging. In one area of the garden is the 17th century hydraulic Water Organ that plays music once an hour as the water flows through the pipes, one of only three in Europe.
In total we spent 6 days in Sevilla, so many great things to see in a city that is easy to walk around and navigate around the places of interest. It is pretty with spacious plazas, great places to eat, parks and the river, and of course the wonderful horse carriages are everywhere adding to the atmosphere. So glad we have finally got to see it and spend time there, and we definitely need a return visit in the future.