Thursday, April 6, 2017

Seville and the Road to Lisbon

Wayne and John at the 
John and Kathy Lima drove to Seville from Lisbon yesterday.  They have been spending the winter in Lisbon since January, and offered to pick up us and take us to Lisbon from where we will fly home.  We went to the Abades Triana for dinner.  As yesterday's lunch, the presentation and service for exceeded the food.  But we had fun walking there and back.  Kathy and John recalled places they had stayed in the past.  This morning we packed up and headed for Lisbon.  John took us through the Algarve area, which is beautiful.  We stopped in Sesimbra for lunch.  Sesimbra is an ocean side village whose main industry is tourism and fishing.  The tourists go for the beach.  We went for the octopus.  

A short drive from there landed us at the Lima's apartment.  It is very nice, comfortable and homey.  There is a great view of a plaza where various activities can be enjoyed from women dancing to men practicing Tai Chi and kiosks selling goods.  Across the plaza is a hill covered in colorful buildings and the Castle sitting atop.  

Wayne and Kathy admire Watson's Work

We set off to explore that little hill with its very steep, narrow roads.  Our first discovery was the wall photographs of Camilla Watson. She uses a method that lets her develop photographs onto wood of people who lived in the area.  They are hung along the streets.  What a wonderful way to remember and honor the people of the neighborhood.  

Wayne in the Pantheon Dome
Further on our walk we visited several churches, rich with tiles and the Pantheon.  Originally the Church of Santa Engracia, it was converted in 1916 into a Pantheon where Portuguese personalites are entombed.  

Dinner tonight was at an Italian restaurant on the Rua Augusta, a pedestrian way with restaurants cheek to jowl.  After dinner we walked down to the river where live music was playing.  
Pictures of our glorious day at flickr.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Plaza de Espana

Wayne at the Plaza Espana
Today we walked to the Plaza de Espana in the Parque de Mariea Louisa.  The Plaza was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition.  So by relative terms it is new to Seville.  The architecture is a mis of Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival.  In other words, fabulous.  There are tiled alcoves along the plaza that represent the different towns in Spain.  People were sitting in them for a portrait with their home town alcove.  

Torre del Oro seem from the Abades Triana Restaurant


Our other goal of the day was to check out and have lunch at Abades Triana Restaurante.  It sits on the other side of the Canal de Alfonso, has a glass front that offers a view of the Torre de Oro across the canal.  I had a whole bass baked in Salt, Wayne had duck and we both shared Iberian jamon.  The presentations were above board.  The jamon was shaved and presented at the table. The bass was uncovered and deboned at the table.  The view was nice with kyakers, scullers, and rowers continuing up and down the canal.  We decided to book a table for dinner with the Limas, who are coming tomorrow to take us to Lisbon.  
More pictures at flickr.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Polishing the Silver

Iglisia Salvador


A day of exploring took us to the Iglisia Salvador which is constructed on the remains of the 9th century main mosque in Seville.  It faces the Plaza del Salvador which was busy with bars and patrons. The Church of the Savior is Sevilla’s 2nd biggest church, and is decorated in the Andalusian Baroque style. Baroque doesn’t exactly jive with my personal decorating tastes. It’s a bit, um, ornate for me. The cathedral was absolutely dripping with silver and gold leaf, and everything that could possibly be covered with ornate carvings was packed full of ‘em.It’s a great chance to see one of the floats that is carried in each year’s Holy Week Parade. There were 4 of them just dripping with silver (Oh, that Inquisition did pay off) and being polished by a devotee.  


We spent another evening sipping wine and watching the bats fly from the Giralda Tower.  Tomorrow John and Kathy come from Lisbon to spend the night.  They will drive us to Lisbon for a visit and then our flight home.  
Pictures at flickr.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Fools' and Moor


On April Fools' Day we drove to Granada to see the Alhambra.  Wayne has wanted to visit there since he studied about it in College.  I've also wanted to go since my college days and learning of the Moorish designs.  We got the rental car out of the garage (an ordeal in itself), maneuvered the 5' wide, pedestrian packed streets out of Seville, drove 3 hours, parked and walked to the ticket gate.  APRIL FOOLS'   There were no tickets, no more entries allowed.  In fact there were no more tickets available until May unless one wanted to get in the 4am line the next day as described to us by the guard.  I guess we've become a little cavalier as well as naive.  On the positive side, the drive was beautiful with surprises of snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains around Granada.

The Alcazar

We appeased ourselves for the previous day's disappointment and visited the Savilla Alcazar.  The Alcazar is a royal palace still used by the royal family.  It was originally built by the Moorish Muslim kings and is regarded as one of the best examples of mudejar architecture on the Iberian Peninsula.  So, there!, Alhambra.  The buildings open one after another into courtyards filled with the aroma of orange blossoms.  There are 17 1/2 acres of gardens.  To us the most beautiful room was was the Hall of Ambassadors in which a semi-spherical vaulted ceiling has golden pendants made to look like stars in a night sky.  Hopefully, my pictures will do a sufficient job to illustrated the various tiles and plaster work which is almost lace-like in appearance. We were surprised that the Moors ruled here for  700 years.  That is not an occupation.  That is a permanence that remained in architectural design, influenced music and language.    

Night Life in Seville

It is true that Spaniards disappear during the afternoon to reappear at night.  Most places close and stop serving lunch at 4pm. This suits are napping time just fine.  They open again at 8 or 9 for dinner and shopping.  The above picture was taken at 10pm to show how many people are still out, eating and strolling.  The temperatures are perfect for encouraging this.  It has become hot in the sun during the day but cool at night.  

Pictures at Flickr 
Video at YouTube

Friday, March 31, 2017

Seville

Andalusia Vineyards

Yes, that is a vineyard.  Just one of the miles and miles of vineyards that we saw as we drove from Valencia to Seville.  Once the vineyards vanished, then the miles and miles of olive groves appeared.  I thought that Greece had more olive trees than I had ever seen.  I believe Spain now holds that place.  And, in between the vineyards and the olive groves were acres of grasses (oats and barley I think) so green it was surreal.  I kept trying to capture it all in photos, but alas I'm afraid I failed.  

 Seville Apartment

Our VRBO has a distinctive Spanish flair to it.  Marble floors and stucco walls give way to high ceilings and wrought iron works. We are on the bottom floor of a 3 story building that encloses a courtyard.  There are some drawbacks, but the location overcomes any negatives.  We can walk to the most interesting and beautiful parts of the city.  A few steps from the apartment is the Seville Cathedral and the Alcazar.   

The Cathedral of St Mary of the See

The Seville Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third largest church in the world.  The scale and volume of the space can take your breath.  Notice the size of people next to the columns.  They are completely dwarfed.  It has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain.  The many chapels are so ornate that I found them almost vulgar.  But they are filled with Della Robin sculptures, Murillo paintings and undisturbed stained glass.  There is an orange garden adjacent to the Cathedral that was filled with the aroma of orange blossoms.  

Cathedral at Night

The bell tower or La Giralda has bats.  Bats in the belfry.  Our very funny waiter on our first evening confirmed that for us. And then he said, "they shit all over everything."  On our third evening we sat at an outdoor table beneath the tower, listening to flamenco music, drinking sangria and watching the bats fly.  

Many Cathedral photos at flickr.
City views at flickr

The Pig on YouTube
Cathedral on YouTube