Sevilla (Sah-VEE-ah), Spain

Community Highlights Europe Sevilla (Sah-VEE-ah), Spain

Our arrival in Sevilla was an experience of 'lost in translation'. Everything ended up well, but getting there proved to be difficult.

Our Airbnb host informed us his father would meet us at the address given in the booking. Fortunately, we found a temporary parking spot nearby so we could move all our suitcases and backpacks from the car to the sidewalk. Our booking notes had the apartment listed as #102, but the list on the apartment wall was in the format of 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, etc, with no #102 in sight. After waiting a bit, Kathryn decided to contact the host, who lives in Mexico -- 8 hours earlier but at least it was not too early there.

Meanwhile, Kent & Dennis went to park the car in one of the lots our host recommended and also showed up on Google Maps (the two do not always appear together). Dennis had researched parking prices and expected to pay between 20 and 30 euros per day, but the attendant kept insisting (in Spanish) that we pay 'whatever we want'. After much use of Google Translate and assistance from a passerby who spoke both English & Spanish, we determined that the cost really was a contribution -- with a suggestion of 0.60 euro per day (yup, that is less than 1 Euro!). The hitch was that we had to remove the car from the lot between 3 pm Saturday and 7 am Monday. All in all, this took about 45 minutes. Still, it seemed to be the best parking deal in town.
Proof that the price was only 0.60!

Proof that the price was only 0.60!

MEANWHILE, back at the apartment, Kathryn finally met with the host's father, who had been up in Apartment 2B the entire time, waiting for us. Like our experience with the parking lot attendant, Google Translate was necessary for us to learn about entry and keys, check out procedure, how to operate the appliances, etc. But with 6 people and 3 phones using Translate, we were able to conduct all our business successfully.

Wine was needed after this, so we hurried to a close-by grocery store for some essentials (including the wine) and a rotisserie chicken for ending our long day.

Friday began with us exploring the Triana neighborhood in which we were staying. The pedestrian zone that leads to the bridge to main part of Seville was full of restaurants, shops, etc.

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We stopped at the local Mercado and admired the presentations of meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables at the various stalls. The Mercado had a large parking garage underground so we checked it out, since we need to move our car Saturday afternoon.

Next up: touring the Cathedral in Seville. Did you know that it is the largest church in Europe (measured in square meters) and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world? We have been to St. Peter's in the Vatican and also St. Paul's in London, both of which are longer, but the Seville Cathedral is just as impressive because of its hugeness. Here are photos showing its immensity from both the outside and the inside.

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The side entrance for tourists is impressive in itself, but it's just a side entrance.
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The inside the Cathedral is immense. It contain the world's largest alter. It is hidden behind has a large screen in front of it, which makes it hard to photograph. Columbus's casket is also in the cathedral - finally - after being moved 5 times. We thought you might like to see the world's largest pearl that is among the church's treasures. It's used as the body for angel on this crown.
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We decide to climb the Giralda Tower of the Cathedral to see the view of Seville. Little did we know that we would be climbing 34 ramps (think flights of stairs that have been turned into a ramp) plus 17 steps at the very top. Whew! But, the view was wonderful.

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On Saturday, we moved the car to the Mercado Parking Garage -- not sure how much it will cost but it will certainly be more than .60 euro!
We then visited the Reales Alcázares de Sevilla (aka the "Royal Alcazars of Seville"). It was originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Spain and regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of Mudéjar architecture ( partly Gothic, partly Islamic style of architecture prevalent in Spain in the 12th to 15th centuries) found on the Iberian Peninsula. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence and it is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. We had seen architecture like this in India at various Muslim sites (including the Taj Mahal, and we enjoyed seeing it again in Spain. Here are a view photos.
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We had tickets for 7 pm concert at La Casa des Flamenco - and what a show it was! We absolutely loved it! It took a little while to get used to the sung music: quite eerie and strange, with 'echoes' of calls to worship from minarets. And the percussion is done by snapping fingers, clapping hand to hand or legs or boots, and stomping shoes. Very different from anything we had seen elsewhere -- especially different from the fado singing in Portugal.
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As we walked back to our airbnb, we saw suddenly saw 30 men carry what looked like a wooden platform stacked with heavy things. How odd. We looked it up on Google and found out that this is 450 year old tradition in Seville. During Holy Week, floats are carried by men on platforms such as these in parades throughout the town -- these guys were 'practicing' -- followed by throngs of penitents. The floats and parades are a very significant part of worship during that week.
Cathedral tower with float carriers

Cathedral tower with float carriers

Sunday was bright and sunny after some very cloudy days, so we took a long walk down one side of the river, crossed a bridge and walked up the the other side. Of course, we had to stop for a drink and we found a lovely restaurant with outside tables right on the river. It was a truly a lovely repast.

On Monday, we moved the car from the Mercado Garage back to the cheap lot. Turns out that it cost 37 euros for about 36 hours in the garage and it cost about 3 euros for 3 days at the cheap lot!! We walked around downtown and found out that the sights we wanted to see (the Hospital of Venerables and the Indies Archives) were both closed that Monday, even though they are usually open. We consoled ourselves with a nice lunch in the sun on a nice plaza, after wandering through some of Seville's very narrow 'kissing lanes'.
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We said good-bye to Kent and Pam on Tuesday. We were sad to see them go as we had had a lot of fun with them: eating churros dunked in hot chocolate, eating lunch on our balcony, seeing wonderful sights, walking all over, and playing cards - Golf and Oh Hell - and drinking wine most evening. Thanks for a great 3 weeks!

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It rained off and on on Tuesday so we caught up on business before going to another flamenco concert, this time at Cafe de la Memoris. It was different from the first one but just as enjoyable.

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The rain continued on Wednesday, our last day in Sevilla, but we did not complain too loudly since the rest of Europe was experiencing snow and cold, and Boston was having a Nor'easter. Then, it was on to -- Granada!

This featured blog entry was written by Laffer01 from the blog Portugal Spain Budapest Netherlands.
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By Laffer01

Posted Wed, Mar 14, 2018 | Spain | Comments