Day 10 – Seville

Today we tour Seville. One of the first stops is the Plaza de Espana, which has to be one of the most stunning spots I have ever visited. The place was created for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, which aimed to show the ties between Spain and the Americas. Many countries had pavilions, some of which still remain standing, now used for administrative offices and other purposes.

But the Spanish representation, this Plaza de Espana, is too beautiful to be believe. Each region in Spain has a niche covered in tiles depicting its history and traditions. The boxes to each side held brochures on the regions, so that attendees could learn about the region’s features.

Our guide points out the map showing the region of Huelva. Each region has a map in tiles surrounded by the emblems of its provinces.

The Canary Island niche.

I decide I want a photo of myself at this awesome site.

It’s very hot today, but the interiors of the buildings provide respite as does the water in the pond.

Vendors sell items around the site, including fans, iconic to Seville.

Next we visit the historic center of Seville, site of the Cathedral and and Alcazar. Pieces of Christopher Columbus – a femur? a tendon? – are said to be buried in this cathedral. The Dominican Republic also lays claim to his body, although Spain had DNA tests done on their bits, which were found to be the real deal. The Dominican Republic is apparently holding off testing. Hmmm…

Unfortunately we do not have tickets to enter the cathedral to see those body bits. We’ll have to trust that they are really there.

A rare sighting…What nuns dress like this anymore? I might have asked them, but it’s too late now.

The muslim influence clearly shows in the architecture.

I visit the General Archive of the Indies, a repository of archival materials documenting the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and Asia. It is a UNESCO Heritage Site, along with the Cathedral and the Alcazar.

On display is a trunk used to hold and ship valuables, showing a very complex lock system in the lid of the trunk.

On leaving the archive, I come across the a very large demonstration.

They are marching for issues related to education.

A narrow alley opens up into this beautiful area, residences upstairs and a few shops below.

I stop for lunch and order a couple of tapas. Hard to know what to order given my poor Spanish language and culinary knowledge.

I decide on the Salmorejo de fresa – which the waiter tells me is a mix of tomatoes and strawberries. It’s very good, but he forgot to mention the cream.

Next I take off for the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, the oldest bullring in Spain. The museum takes visitors through the history of this bullring in Seville.

I have been to only one bull fight when I was in my twenties. I recall the intense heat, the heavy stench of strong cigar smoke, and a nauseus feeling, despite the excitement of the action in the ring.

I am taken by the matador costumes, all hand embroidered and embellished.

A large number of posters from the very early day to current times line the round walls of the ring museum.

After the bullfight museum, I cross the River Guadalquivir. It is the only navigable river in Spain and allowed ships to take off to explore the New World and to bring back spices, silver and gold to Seville.

Across the river is a neighborhood called Triana, known for its ceramics. Seville sits on clay, which makes ceramics a natural. This shop has been producing traditional tiles and other ceramic objects over a century.

This woman paints one of the tiles, each made by hand.

Next I visit the Alcazar, a complex that started out as a fort and over time became the royal palace of both Muslim and Catholic rulers. I am one of the few in our group to obtain tickets. Everything is sold out. I have the last slot of the day at 6:30pm.

Unfortunately, I have no audio guide, ( the app refused my code!) so I only have the very terse placards in each room to understand what I am seeing.

But it is all extremely beautiful.

And gives me a very peaceful feeling despite the crowds.

A mixture of Arabic and Christian styles.

Tomorrow we head off to Cordoba and Granada.

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