Olivier and I spent eight days in Seville. If I’m honest, they were quite lazy days. You could probably cover most of what we saw in a long weekend, but we preferred to take things at a slower pace. In the mornings we got up, had breakfast at the bar across the road, did some sightseeing and then went for lunch, before spending our afternoons soaking up the sun by the pool. And that was just fine with us. We hadn’t had a proper holiday for a while and we wanted it to be relaxing!
On the third day I forced Olivier to get out of bed so that we could go on a free walking tour. They’re run by a company called “Feel the City” and the idea is that afterwards you give a donation if you want to. The guides did a roundup of tourists from lots of different hotels and then we were divided into groups by language. We joined the francophone group and were led around the city by Angela, a lovely Spanish girl from Seville, who had studied French at university.
Here’s a little of what we saw…
One of the main streets in Seville, with a mix of ancient and modern architecture.
The world-famous cathedral. The Giralda (bell tower) in the left of this picture is the former minaret of a mosque which stood on the site when Andalusia was a Muslim region. The tower is the oldest part of the cathedral, and dates from the 12th century. The rest of the cathedral was built in the 15th century, as the city was conquered by the Castilians in the 13th century and had come under Catholic rule.
This is a view of the Cathedral through the west door. This door, like the tower, was also part of the ancient mosque. If you look closely you might be able to see the distinctly non-European decoration on the inner arches. The door was left standing and incorporated into the Catholic cathedral, where it was renamed the “Door of Forgiveness”, symbolising its “conversion” from Islam to Christianity. (Ouch!)
This Latin graffiti is hundreds of years old and was daubed on the walls by students in bulls’ blood to ensure that it couldn’t be washed off. More permanent than a permanent marker! (I wish I could remember what it says, but unfortunately I can’t!)
This building is another extremely old corner of the city; it has been a bakery since 1385! (Although I believe it has been renovated since then!)
The whole city is full of colourful winding streets which I absolutely loved.
As we walked along the Guadalquivir river, the sky turned an ominous shade of grey, and seconds later the heavens opened. We took shelter under the trees, but within ten minutes we all looked as though we’d got in the shower fully-clothed! Luckily we found a shop selling cheap umbrellas, and persevered! The walking tour finished at Plaza de España, an incredibly beautiful place which I shall save for another post!
As the weather had taken a fairly dramatic turn, Olivier and I took shelter in a cafe and had thick hot chocolate with churros whilst waiting for it to pass. Luckily it brightened up again later and we had a sunny afternoon by the pool before going out for tapas in the evening.
To be continued…