Seville: Day Two

And this, dear reader(s)… (the “(s)” is just in case, there might be more than one of you), will be our last blog for a little while because we’re headed back to Bobadela and our spacious and nearly perfect apartment with the slight blemish of having no internet. As it turns out, I burned up all sorts of minutes by playing music through the iPhone as we drove here, so I probably won’t look at much on the phone either. I wish there was some sort of meter that showed up in the background telling you when you’re using minutes, because we had no idea we were burning up minutes faster than a pyromaniac in hell. Apple puts in these great technologies like “music from the cloud” but neglects to tell you that you’ll spend $50 on one road trip listening to them. Now we’re going to force ourselves to love the sound of rubber on pavement during our four hour drive home.

At any rate, we went back down into the heart of Seville, where the three main things to see are the streets and charm of old town, the Real Alcazar (as opposed to the pretend one), and the Seville Cathedral.

Here is the best of the 4,302 pictures we took today (give or take three or four thousand):

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This is a view from The Puente de Isabel II bridge overlooking the Canal de Alfonso XIII.
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I don’t know how all those guys on the roof keep so still for so long just to please the tourists.
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The buildings aren’t as old as they are in Lisbon, and the architecture is more varied and much of it is quite beautiful.
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Just another example of the variety and coolness of some of their buildings.
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We were shocked to find out that Sevillians not only eat ferrets, but they have entire stores dedicated to nothing but! Unfortunately, this store was closed, so we didn’t get a chance to sample the delicacy. And I was so looking forward to ferret-on-a-stick!
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We like castle walls.
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This is the outside of a bullfighting ring. We don’t really have any desire to see an actual, gory, bullfight, however. There’s enough bullshit to go around right now anyway.
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This is the goddess-of-holding-up-a-ball.
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This is for my sister Lynne. Finally, a statue of a woman on a horse! She did look a little bit like the Wicked Witch of the West, however.
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Old Seville is filled with lots of narrow streets and outdoor cafes. You can just wander around and get lost while experiencing the charms of the area.

Next up was the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, better known as Seville Cathedral. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world as well as the third-largest church in the world. It was completed in the early 16th century, not long after Christopher Columbus sailed for the new world to “find out what all those Indians were doing over there.” It’s also the place where he’s now buried, as you’ll see below.

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This is the altar as seen through the gates.
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Their idea was to build a cathedral that made you feel pitifully small, putting you in your place next to the grandeur of God. Actually our tour guide told us their motto was “to build something where future generations would say they must be crazy.” I’d say mission accomplished.
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This organ has 6,000 pipes and used to take 13 people to play it: one to hit the keys and 12 to pump the air through the pipes. It only plays a couple of times each year so that the 12 can catch their breath. Just kidding, it’s now all electronic. But now it takes 35 people to maintain it. Probably.
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This has blub-blub-blub kilograms of silver in it. How am I supposed to remember exactly how many our guide told us? Anyway, it’s a lot. Heigh ho!
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These are priceless crowns made of gold and innumerable diamonds and rubies and other shiny objects. It’s possible it is the most expensive thing we’ve ever seen. Besides that last medical bill anyway.
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This was the place where the word “Goddy” turned into “gaudy.”
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This particular ceiling goes all the way to the top.
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Did we mention that it’s a very large organ?
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And that it has 6,000 pipes?
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And that these ceilings go all the way to the top?
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This is a close-up of the most expensive thing we’ve ever seen. We couldn’t spot the price tag, however. We were hoping it was on sale. See the little angel in front? Her torso is made from one of the largest natural pearls ever found.
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You can’t help but walk in, mouth agape, and mutter, “Gawd…” which is pretty much what they were after, I think.
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Just li’l ol’ me to give you some perspective as to the size of this structure. I think God was trying to shine his light on me but he missed by about six feet.
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If you look in the center ring inside this piece, the curly thing is thought to be one of the thorns from the crown placed on Jesus’ head during the crucifixion.

As mentioned above, Christopher Columbus is buried in this church, or at least half of him anyway. The rest of the bones may or may not be in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Or maybe even Cuba. In any case, since one of his sons and some other relative is also buried here they were able to do a DNA test to confirm that the bones in the coffin in this cathedral is actually that of Christopher Columbus. Not that he cares anymore.

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This is the Columbus family crest.
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This is to prove we were actually standing in front of Christopher Columbus’ tomb.

And this is the tomb. As you can imagine, Chris is a pretty popular figure around these parts. After all, if it wasn’t for him, there wouldn’t be any McDonalds or Burger Kings in the city!

The tower below is part of the cathedral. We walked all the way to the top, which I think was 143 stories or something like that. It was all via ramp, because the king who had the tower commissioned wanted to ride a donkey all the way up. We appreciated that, even though we didn’t get a donkey.

And here are the views from the top:

We also took a guided tour of The Alcázar of Seville, originally developed by Moorish Muslim kings. The palace is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Spain, being regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of mudéjar architecture (which is a combination of Islamic and Christian) found on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe.

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We were surprised to find out that Jesus is now a tour guide of these ancient holy sites. True story: his name really is Jesus (Hay-zoos).
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You can see the Muslim influence, as well as the chandelier in the window at the top. The top floor is still used as a residence for the royal family.
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They had a bunch of tapestries all in one room that were absolutely huge. Took each one two years to make. I think that’s why the ended up inventing sewing machines.
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This is only half the room.
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This was the bathtub for a queen. They sometimes filled it with milk. Jesus didn’t tell us if it was whole milk or 2%. Either way, that was a lot of udder work.
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The entrance. We walked right on through because we were being led by Jesus.
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Apparently there are lots of “Virgin thisses and thats” in Spain, but they’re all the same virgin. Here the Virgin of (I forget) stands over Christopher Columbus and some kings and other dignitaries.
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I am duly impressed by something.

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These channels were kept from the Islamic construction (much of which was otherwise destroyed), and were originally used to clean one’s feet before one entered the temple. I think they had smaller feet than me.

Much of the grounds are dedicated to a large garden area. Pretty and peaceful, and surely a cool place to come during the heat of the summer.

That’s it! We wrapped up our day by enjoying a late lunch with Gary, a gentleman from Seattle we met on one of the tours. It was nice to chat with an American-accented voice and share our experiences. He takes a month out of each year to motorcycle around Europe. We all agreed that more Americans should get beyond the borders and experience the world!

3 thoughts on “Seville: Day Two

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