Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seville - 7 October 2010

The Old World and the New World were inextricably linked in Seville as it was here that Queen Isabel commissioned Columbus and it was from here that he set sail; it was Seville that held the sole trading rights for the New World; it is here that the Archives of that era are preserved; and it is here that Columbus remains in one of the grandest tombs that we have ever seen.

Our morning started with the Cathedral, the largest church building in the world and where Columbus' tomb is to be found. Next door is the Archive of the Americas, where the records of the era of exploration (and exploitation) are preserved, including the log of Columbus' trip.

A little further down the street is the Alcazar, a place to lose yourself (almost literally) for at least half a day. Rooms beyond rooms, within rooms and multiple links to and from the gardens mean that it is impossible to see it all in any methodical way, but that simply adds to the enjoyment as you re-enter rooms from a different door and see a whole new vista.

An added tour, and well worth the extra cost, is the Upper Palace – still the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Cameras are confiscated on entry to this area as they take no chances with people who ignore the rules.

After exploring the streets of Seville we headed out to the Plaza de Espana where an Exhibition was held in 1929. In spite of sections being closed and the workmen still on site there was enough of this impressive site left open for us to enjoy.

No visit to Spain is complete without a meal of tapas. Last night we arrived late from our flight, and didn't set out to eat until 11pm. This is not a problem in Spain, and we had a delicious selection of tapas at a small local restaurant Bar Alcoy, recommended to us. Today we sampled another venue for a late tapas lunch, not as delicious, but the venue is amazing, and well worth a visit for the ambience – El Rinconcillo. Dinner later in the evening at Dona Elvira was a good deal more expensive, but once again the setting was worth it, a tranquil square beneath orange trees.

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