A 9 am start this morning in Seville. We headed for la Maria Luisa Park, Plaza España, built for the 1929 World Fair. In fact, many countries built pavilions in this area for the World Fair which our guide told us was a bust due to the economic conditions the world was experiencing. Currently, the plaza seems to get a lot of use from both Hollywood and Bollywood. Star Wars Episode 2, the Dictator among other movies and many music videos have been shot here (our guide said). The place is stunning. It is built to look historic, but it is a mix of styles, Roman, Baroque, Classical… The tiles used as accents, make the plaza sparkle in the sunlight. If you visit Seville, you have to check this place out. It may not be nearly as old as the old city, but it is very pretty.
Our bus dropped us off at el parque de Murillo, the famous painter from the area. In the park’s center was a monument to Christopher Columbus. We entered through La Juderia (the Jewish Quarter). Our guide again explained a time when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in Spain in peace. She also explained the Jewish people of those times were tanners and controlled the water system of those times, making it difficult even for the Royal Alcazar in the old city.
Seville also had the bitter oranges lining the streets like we saw in Cordoba. Although white washed walls were as common as in Cordoba, they did outnumber other structures and gave the old city a beautiful look.
We visit the cathedral dedicated to our lady of Macarena with its stunning Giralda bell tower. The cathedral was consecrated in 1248, but in 1401 it was built as a second largest Catholic Cathedral. Up until that point, it was Mosque serving as a cathedral, but fell to the ground following an earthquake. It is also where the only verified remains of Christopher Columbus can be found. Since he didn’t want to buried in Spain, they have honored his wishes by having his finger interred in an elevated coffin held up by four bronze statutes containing the faces of Queen Isabella looking to the future and King Ferdinand looking down in shame. The Queen passed away before should could provide Columbus the riches she promised and the King did not honor her wishes depriving Columbus of the wealth he was promised by the Queen. Our guide tells us the King was jealous of the Queen and Columbus’ relationship which may have seemed too intimate for the King.
After our tour, we climbed the tower. It has no steps. When it was built for the Mosque, it was built with a ramp so the person who would go up five times a day could use a donkey. Pretty smart. Up until 2/3 of the way up, it dates back to the times of the Mosque, but the earthquake damaged the top and it was rebuilt in 1558-1568. If you go, do miss out on some great pictures of Seville from the various windows on the way up the tower. The top is beautiful, but there are equally beautiful spots on your way up.
After lunch, we headed to the Royal Alcazar. We’ve seen several in the last week, but this was by far the most intricately decorated in the Mudejar style. If you go, spring the 4 euros for the audio guide. Without it, you will not now what you are looking at. Many of the signs were missing pieces making it impossible to know what you were looking at. Admission was 8.50 for adults and 2 for students with ID. Don’t let your child leave home without an ID. Unless it is obvious they are in grade school, they will pay as an adult without a student ID.
After some shopping, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy the pool. The sun sets in this area at almost 10 pm. It is plenty hot and sunny for the pool at 6 pm. However, when we arrived, the pool was as nasty as the rooms were with a ring of body oils decorating the water level line of the pool. We didn’t get in.