Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 4, Part 1

Ross & I got up early on Day 4 & explored Sevilla on foot. The city is large & we walked into the business district & started making our way toward the river. We didn't quite make it, but toured the University (lots of ads for English speakers if you are looking for a change of scenery). We tried to sneak into the Alcazar (Royal Gardens), but with no luck. The huge walls kept us out.
Alcazar Wall

The gardens and parks were beautiful.

We took a fabulous walking tour at 10. Nick still wasn't feeling well (I blame the lamb in Morocco) & skipped. The tour sold out (book early!), so we felt lucky to join. Concepcion was personable & charming & full of fun stories about her city. With more time, I would have taken her tours of the Alcazar & Cathedral. I love how the city ran out of money for this building & only decorated some of the columns.

I can't remember most of the details of the tour.

Except that the Jewish quarters have such narrow streets because the city stopped giving them more land & restricted upward growth. Most of the Jewish population left when Ferdinand & Isabella kicked them out, so there isn't much of the heritage preserved. The Moors fared a little better (not the people, but the architecture) as the original mosque was incorporated in the amazing Cathedral (where Columbus is buried).
One Massive Cathedral
The Cathedral of Seville was built from 1401–1519 after the Reconquista on the former site of the city's mosque. It is amongst the largest of all medieval and Gothic cathedrals, in terms of both area and volume. The interior is the longest nave in Spain, and is lavishly decorated, with a large quantity of gold evident. The Cathedral reused some columns and elements from the mosque, and, most famously, the Giralda, originally a minaret, was converted into a bell tower. It is topped with a statue, known locally as El Giraldillo, representing Faith. The tower's interior was built with ramps rather than stairs, to allow the Muezzin and others to ride on horseback to the top.

After our tour, Nick & Ross decided to take a tour of the Cathedral. My Aunt had suggested we do our shopping in Sevilla, so Cecilia & I made the tough choice to forgo any other sites & just focus on shopping. It was the right choice.

What we would do in Sevilla given another day or two: rent bikes & explore, tour Alacazar, Cathedral, walk to the River, walk along the river at night, find another night spot, hit some of the shops we missed.

What we bought: olive oil (none for me - what was I thinking?), local wine (orange flavored - not the best purchase since you aren't supposed to mail wine from Utah - we haven't opened any yet to determine if it is any good), flamenco dresses for the girls, mantilla combs & earrings for the girls, cuban cigars, fans, T-shirts, ceramics.

You can see my entire collection of photos from Sevilla HERE.

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