What a pity to be in Seville (Spain) and experiencing heavy rains! The tour-guide said that they now do have enough water for the next upcoming three years – and it’s still raining.
The bad weather happened to us on the second day of our stay. But on arrival Seville welcomed us with sunshine and temperatures around 17 °C. Before we got to the hotel our tour-guide offered us the opportunity to see the Parque de Maria Luisa with the Plaza America and the Plaza de España. Both places are worth a visit and show breathtaking architecture. The air was filled with with the scent of orange blossoms. A British lady would say: lovely! And that explains exactly how it was. After this short break we rushed to the hotel.
We stayed at the Hotel Ribera de Triana in room #220 with a nice view of the town and the Canal de Alfonso XIII which carries the channeled Guadalquivir River (filled up to a level that hasn’t been for a long time). A first stroll along the river banks lead me to the bridge Puente de Isabel II, a steel-work structure from the 19th century. The quarter that surrounded this area was very urban and with a lot of restaurants and nice tapas bars. For the first evening, however, a dinner for all of us was scheduled at the hotel’s restaurant and immediately afterwards, a flamenco dance performance announced for 21:00 hours. Therefore we first had to return to the hotel and postpone the solo excursion into the culinary delights of Andalusian cuisine until the evening after.
The flamenco dance performance took place at El Patio Sevillano and had to be paid separately (38€/pp). The performance lasted two hours, was worth the money and exactly what I had in mind when booking it. A good investment to the expenses of the trip. After the show the bus was waiting to bring us back to the hotel. A nice service of our driver.
The following morning we had to get up early because a visit to the Real Alcázar was scheduled for 10:00 o’clock already and a city guide was awaiting us. Therefore the night was over at 7:00 hours just to make it in time. The Alcázar of Seville (or Royal Alcázar) is a representative monumental compound and shows within its walls and gardens, amalgamating influences starting from the Arabic period, late Middle Ages Mudéjar right through to the Renaissance, Baroque and the XIX century. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Catedral de Sevilla and the Real Alcázar are dating from the Reconquest of 1248 to the 16th century and imbued with Moorish influences – they are a testimony to the civilization of the Almohads as well as that of Christian Andalusia. The Giralda minaret is of Almohad architecture and it stands next to the cathedral which is the largest Gothic building in Europe and houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus.
Not far from the Real Alcázar is the Hospital de la Caridad. Originally the brotherhood was devoted to giving a Christian burial to the mortal remains of the sentenced to death and those who died drowned in the Guadalquivir River. Later on the Venerable Miguel Mañara transformed the brotherhood into an institution meant help and care for the ones in need by providing food and home for them, thus equipping the place with a hospice for patients at a terminal stage. The treasures of the Holy Charity’s Chapel, which is part of the hospital, are paintings by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Juan de Valdés Leal and Pedro Roldán. Our tour-guide gave a brief explaination of the paintings and the altar. Who likes to read more in detail of the paintings, please feel free go to the links implemented into the text above.
After the visit our guided tour terminated. The next tour was scheduled for the upcoming day at 8:45 o’clock. Quite early but caused by a taxi driver strike starting at 10:00 o’clock and the break day for the bus driver. On our way back to the hotel we had a couple of tapas at a local restaurant: Nice but nothing special or worth to mention. You’ll find easily bars and restaurants in Spain which are quite acceptable and with reasonable pricing, too.
The morning started with heavy rains – again – and a couple of taxis were waiting for us to bring us to the Casa de Pilatos. “This palace dates from the last quarter of the 15th century and springs from the union of the Enríquez and Ribera families. As a result of their members’ intense relationship with Italy, throughout the 16th century it underwent deep transformations and became the filter through which the new Renaissance forms and tastes were introduced into Seville. Alterations carried out in the mid 19th century in accordance with the romantic taste complete its picturesque appearance, a harmonious blend of mudejar-Gothic, Renaissance and romantic styles (©www.fundacionmedinaceli.org).” Because it was raining heavily, a visit to the insight was worth it. The gardens were almost flooded but nice to look at through the windows and doors. Our very experienced guide explained the transformations over the centuries and how the proprietors could afford to get some restoration work done. They had the idea to invite students to perform restoration works on the ceiling of a room, so that the wood could be preserved and repainted. This was beneficial for both sides: the students gained experience and the owners a perfectly restored ceiling.
An astonishing monument is the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, that again showed the wealth of the catholic church. Solely the big altar that measured 30 m by 18 m in total carried more than 340 kg of gold. And there are so many exciting paintings, wood carving pieces around the organ pipes and the organ itself. But before I do start writing to much about it I recommend that you follow the link that I implemented and read about it there. It is worth it: The reading and a visit!