Seville, Spain – December 26, 2011
Today’s Adventure – Seville, Spain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We got a slow start today. We left the lodge at about 09:30. For us, that is very late. Regardless, we arrived near the old town Seville at about 11:00. After finding a place to park, we began our walk toward the old town area. Along the way, we saw many architecturally interesting buildings.
In a block or two, we found the Guadalquivir River. It is a lovely setting. Many pedestrians, joggers, and bikers enjoyed the route that morning. On the river, we saw a sculling boat and a sightseeing boat. When we turned around, we saw the stunning abode of the President of Andalucia. I believe that the title is more akin to the mayor.
Passing by the president’s house, we walked through a small park to get to the old town area. Several people walked past us, leading greyhounds. We were not sure what was going on, but as we arrived in the old town area, we saw a significant gathering of the greyhounds and their handlers. We have no clue what was going on with the group near Puerta de Jerez.
We all wanted a coffee (and restroom), so we searched for a cafe. We settled on Cafeteria Coliseo. We each had a coffee. Leslie had also ordered us a pastry while I was off looking for an ATM. When I returned, I found we had each received a cake, Rascon de Reyes. It is a traditional pastry served at this time of year. In English, it is King’s Cake. Typically eaten on Three Kings Day, January 6, there usually is a baby Jesus figure hidden in the cake. Whoever finds the character is blessed. The cakes that we had today did not have a hidden baby Jesus. That is because the ones we had were individual cakes, not slices from a larger cake.
Today was the first time I had tried the cake. It was good, but it was very sweet. The cake we had was roughly the size of a bagel, cut in half horizontally. The filling is like whipped cream. Sprinkled on the top were large crystals of sugar. Interspersed on the top was dried fruit. I could not eat all of mine.
While we were seated at the café, we noticed several horses and carriages nearby. I asked how much it was for four people. The driver said it was 50€ (US$61). He showed me on a map the route we would take. It was quite lengthy.
After we paid for our coffee, we walked over to one of the carriages. We got in and began our tour. It was then that I noticed there were carriages everywhere. The one we selected was very comfortable.
During our ride, our driver, Jose “Pepe,” told us several tidbits about Seville in Spanish. He said the river is called the Rio Guadalquivir. That is an Arabic word. It means the same thing as the Rio Grande. Ships navigate the 80 kilometers back and forth to the Atlantic. At the end of our ride, Pepe told us his horse’s name was Romero. He was kind enough to allow a photograph.
The following are some of the sights we took in during the ride.
The beginning of our carriage ride.
When we got off the carriage, we began walking along the Avenida de la Constitucíon. Within about a block we came across a vendor at a stand roasting chestnuts. Tyler had said he wanted to try some again. We stopped to get a small bag. Leslie began singing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” to the vendor. After each phrase, he asked her to continue singing. He seemed to enjoy her voice.
We continued along the avenue, popping into a tourist store periodically. During our walk, we saw a unique street performer, a man that danced a couple. On his back was a costume with the upper torso of a man and a woman. On his legs, he had the black pants of the “man.” On his arms, he had the bloomers of the “woman.” In the center of a fabric circle on the ground was a pair of boots. After a bit of limbering up, the man started some music, bent over, put his hands in the pair of boots, and began dancing as a “couple.” There was a colorful vessel nearby to accept tips from those watching the performance. It was entertaining.
We continued walking until we made it to the area of Plaza de San Francisco. At about 13:40 we stumbled across La Bodega de Gongora (The Gongora Winery). Tyler and I had the paella – again. Leslie and Hillary had a tuna and tomato salad. To drink, we had a vino tinto, Hillary had a rum and Coke, and Tyler had a cerveza. After the meal, we decided we needed some calamari. It was delicious, as Hillary discovered. If we got a hand close to the calamari, we risked losing a finger!
While we sat at the restaurant, I spotted a funny t-shirt hanging nearby. It read as follows:
Husband for sale or trade (I’ll pay the difference)
- With or without whiskers, with cellphone and TV remote control, without dependent children
- No baby, no smoking, no playing, no…
- Just one owner, papers, immediate delivery.
- Excellent financing plans
From the restaurant, we strolled to El Corte Ingles (The English Cort) store to buy some wine to take back to the lodge. After purchasing the wine, we grabbed a taxi to Plaza de España. We had driven by it earlier when we were in the carriage. What a fantastic building and space! We got there at about 15:35.
Built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, The Plaza de España is full of all sorts of colorful ceramic work to accent the building and plaza. Even the balusters on fences and the bridges are painted ceramic pieces. We also found some tile medallions on the ground in the brick paving.
As soon as we arrived, Tyler and Leslie rented a rowboat. That was for the small canal in front of the building. While they were in the boat, Hillary and I walked along the sidewalk. There are tile alcoves of every province in Spain. We took photos of the places we have visited. It is hard to grasp just how much time was involved in planning each nook, making the various colored tiles, and then transferring a historical depiction of each particular town onto the tile. Every cubicle is beautifully done.
We left the Plaza, walked back to our car, and headed back to Rota, Spain. We arrived at the lodge at about 18:30.