A birthday in Seville

From Chipiona we left Pintail in the marina and caught the bus up to Seville to spend a few days for my birthday. For two hours we drove through miles and miles of dry farm land, twisting up through hill villages until finally we found ourselves in the city – and what a city we found.

We found our first airbnb nestled in the tiny streets and it certainly delivered on its promise of views of the Cathedral from the roof terrace!

 On our first afternoon, amongst all the ancient buildings we found the controversial Metropol Parasol – the waffle-mushroom roofed market. Of course the market was shut as we got there at siesta time but there was a really interesting, if incongruous, exhibition about the widening of the Panama canal.

 Even in late September the temperature was still up in the 30s so we were grateful for the thoughtfully shaded shopping streets.

We didn’t need to go far to find all sorts of beautiful and often ancient architecture – Almohad towers, the Renaissance town hall, the Cathedral spanning centuries.

 In the south of the city we found the grand mansions of the 1929 Expo but weren’t much in the mood for celebrating colonialism.

 In the north we found the modern buildings of the 1992 Expo.

We crossed the river to Triana where we found the market

and buried beneath it the Castillo San Jorge. We had read about the religious tolerance towards both Christians and Jews during the Islamic Empire in both Spain and Portugal and how that tolerance was utterly shattered with the coming to power of the Catholic monarchs. However, finding any mention of the Inquisition in Spain is difficult. At Castillo San Jorge they had literally tried to bury it! In the museum beneath the market, amongst the ruins of the castle, there are audio visual displays depicting the impact of the torture inflicted by the Catholics and the stories of their victims. The exhibition ends with an ever relevant reminder about the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 We saved our visit to the Alcazar for my birthday treat and had our first proper introduction to exquisite Mudejar decoration. We felt slightly overwhelmed by all the intricate carving and by being allowed to trample all over the ancient tiles.

 After the opulence overload of the inside of the palace,  we found the gardens incredibly tranquil and equally beautiful.

In my new birthday trousers I matched the tiles decorating the walls, benches and buildings outside

and of course we loved this tiny sailboat tile on one of the paths.

The gardens also delivered some very camp statues including a very jaunty Neptune!

Back outside the walls of the Alcazar we loved the wide, open streets and squares of Seville

and as the sun set on our last evening we went in search of Carmen at the incredibly grand Tabaco Factory where she fictionally worked.

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