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Europe - part 3

By Wednesday, August 8, 2007 , , , ,

Our full day in Seville...

First we followed Cuna street to Plaza del Slavadore. This was an opening in the close, crowded buildings and was covered by high draping cloths. To one side was town hall and set up in the middle was a big hands-on display about health for kids. From here we walked over to Plaza Nueva and then back to Calle Siepres. As we got closer we could see La Giralda sticking was above all the other buildings. Where the square, Moorish section ended the Christian bell tower pointed up even higher. Early in the morning the plaza surrounding La Giralda and the cathedral and Real Alcazaes was basically empty of people but full of just enough annoying flies to not let us stand still for too long.
The Cathedral didn't open until 11 so we found the time the Real Alcazares opened and it was much sooner -- 9:30. So, a couple pictures later it was open and we went in. The Real Alcazar is the royal palace of Seville. We breazed through the first two patios and entered the palace. Moorish architecture is part of everything here. The arches and intricate carving on the walls were amazing. Inside, looking up was mind boggling. There one domed ceiling was almost like a visual illusion. Through there we walked out into the gardens.
The gardens were sprawling and maze-like. Also, quite and cool. We spent most of our time here. We climbed the steps up the wall that ringed the garden and explored the many paths. Once the flies found us again we headed back inside to another part of the palace filled with large tapestries. And then... we were done.
After the Alcazar we went and waited for the Cathedral to open and soon enough it did. The Cathedral is the largest Gothic Church in the world. Believe it! It was huge. Inside, massive columns held up the roof far above our heads. Ringing the edge of the great hall were little chapels for different saints. High in the walls were many intricate stained glass windows. In the center there was a massive organ made of 3 parts or maybe it was three organs. All of it was quite amazing and crazy to imagine that some one would attempt to build something this huge so long ago. After seeing enough pictures of Jesus for one day we went and climbed the tower. Up and up and up we went on a series of ramps that wound around the inside. They were built instead of stairs to allow a person on a horse to ride up to the top to ring the bell in case the alarm needed to be sounded. Nicely, each landing was numbered but we didn't know how many to expect. Something we had read earlier said there were about 300 steps and we assumed that meant stairs so when we encountered landings we were clueless. As we got higher and our legs got more tired and we were only at landing 20 we began to wonder just how many there were. Finaly at about landing 30 we reached the stairs -- just about 15 -- that took us up to the top. The view was worth the climb. From up so high we got a very good sense of how closely packed the city of Seville is. And... to our "joy" at 11:30 the bells just a few feet above our heads began to toll. Thankfully, they only rang twice. But that was enough to leave a bit of a ringing in our ears.After the cathedral if I remember correctly we went home for a much needed nap. For our afternoon excursion we set out to find the bull fighting arena. It was not all that surprising when we got lost on our first attempt to find it. But that was ok because we ended up with a yummy treat - churros con chocolate. I handed over the 4 euros and the man behind the counter gave me a bouquet of piping hot, fresh from the fryer churros and a cup of thick steaming chocolate. We took our treat to the near by plaza and enjoyed it while watching this interesting guy dance to the music in his head.We did find the bull fighting area. It's the oldest in Spain. We didn't see a bull fight, but we did get to tour the area and learn about the history and the culture. If a matador was ever to loose that would basically spell the end to his career, but the winners were celebrities. The bull fight is a three part choreographed dance that ends with the matador winning over the bull. Below are a couple pictures - one of the outside and on of the inside of the ring.

Other little bits of my life...

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