How pretty is Sevilla
I couldn't believe that I was on my way back to Sevilla and I had the luxury of 24 hours to spend in this pretty city! I texted my friend Eduardo (remember when I arrived in Sevilla for the first time). He called back to say that he was on his way out of town for the weekend but offered me his appartment for the night.
I sped from the bus station to catch him before he left and we had a rushed but lovely chat about my trip. I was remembering our last conversation, just 10 weeks before as I headed off for my first day in the Camino. What a joy to be able to complete this small ritual, joining again and sharing some precious moments with my generous friend Eduardo.
I now had 24 glorious hours to drink in as much of Sevilla as possible.
Alcazar in Sevilla
My first stop was to be the Real Alcazar followed by the Cathedral and accompanying Giralda. The Alcazar is not just one of the great palaces of the Spanish crown, it is the most original representation of truly Hispanic style - the Mudejar. I suppose this describes Moorish architecture and engineering techniques adapted to a Christian world. The original palace was built in true Moorish style (10th century) by Abd Al Raman III but was transformed during the renaissance period (14th Century) using craftsmen from Granada
and therefore retaining Moorish styling.
I thoroughly enjoyed my meander through the palace rooms and delightful (and huge) gardens surrounding the complex.
Alcazar in Sevilla
Another hot afternoon spent soaking up the centuries of history in one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain. I have to say, although not as spectacular visually as the Alhambra, I enjoyed it more because it was so peaceful and a joy to wander the open spaces amid the French and English style gardens with wandering peacocks.
It would be easy to become overwhelmed with the beauty of the structures and interior decoration; wood and marble carvings and intricate Moorish tile designs, but I found myself absorbing the energy of the place. It was overwhelming sometimes I felt like an intruder in someones private space.
By mid afternoon, I moved on the the nearby Cathedral, stopping first at the gate I had entered 10 weeks prior to get my Pilgrim Passport.
View from the Giralda over Sevilla
I remembered the morning I requested my little booklet form the serious priest. He spoke no English but was familiar with fumbling foreigners and made the process very simple for me. I had to register my details with the Church and they record name, age, Nationality and passport details for their records. I received my Pilgrim Passport with the first stamp from the Sevilla Cathedral, knowing that the final one would be in Santiago de Compostella in 7 weeks time. My path had strangely led me back to this doorway now, and I stood for some time letting the emotion take me back along my 1000km journey. I was beaming and tears welled up with pride at my acheivement. How lucky I am.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon floating around the spectacular Cathedral (one of the largest churches in the world!) and the Giralda tower.
Back where I started. Standing outside the Cathedral with Santiago behind me.
The 34 ramp climb to the top of the tower was like a mini museum; little alcoves filled with treasures were revealed every few levels and broke the continuum of the climb. It surprised me that many people (and there were loads) did not bother to stop and read the informative plaques or take time to look out the windows at the orange grove below, the gargoyles, the Cathedral towers or the nearby Alcazar. The tower was constructed in the 12th Century by the moors (75metres high) and at a later date the Christians fitted a belltower to the minaret. Standing at the top with magnificant views of Sevilla, I wondered what it would be like to hear the enormous bells ringing out over the city.
After my sight-seeing afternoon, I was in the mood for food. I assuaged my appetite with a few tapas and then filled in time until dinner by looking at the beautiful shops.
Cute little riverside bar in Sevilla
Such a cosmopolitan city; incredibly beautiful but also with a friendly local flavour, I could easily live in Sevilla.
By 8.00pm I was ready for something new so took a small bus across the river towards Triana. I wandered the small streets heading back toward the river and noticed a man struggling with a trolley full of boxes and topped with a tray of plump ripe tomatoes. The box fell and I helped him load it back up. I offered to carry the tomatoes for him but he resisted until I boldly picked up the bax and led the way for him to follow. We ended up at the cutest little bar right on the edge of the river. The staff were busily preparing for the nightly trade, setting up tables, filling huge trays of ice with fresh seafood and chopping lettuce for the predictable ensalada mixta!
I decided to stay for dinner and placed myself right on the edge overlooking the beautiful river.
Sitting having dinner with a wonderful moon rising over the river
I had a view of the wonderful Torre d'Oro (tower of gold) with it's caramel stone walls glowing in the evening sun. In 30 minutes it would be replaced by the moon appearing over its top turret next to the tall ubiquitous palm trees, lining the riverbank. It was a warm magical evening and I shared the space with noisy family groups and adoring couples. I enjoyed my own romantic table for one and dined on pescado frito with an ensalada mixta.
Walking back to Eduardo's appartment was delightful in the balmy evening air, and I somehow felt a sense of belonging to this place called Sevilla. My path had strangely led me back here for another 24 hours to reconnect several paths begun months earlier. I have a feeling this path to Sevilla will become well-worn in the years to come . . .