We have been busy enough in Seville to make it difficult to find time to write. That’s a good thing.
We left Granada before it was light on Saturday. It doesn’t get light until 8:00 or so and it stays light until well after 8:00 in the evening. It is different from Santa Fe at this time of year.
While our train tickets didn’t indicate it, we didn’t take a train from Granada but instead took a bus back to Antequera where we picked up a train. Apparently, the construction project for the new, fast line, is impacting many routes. Our train had a hard time, it seemed, getting out of the station. It made a lot of noise and was very rough. I should have been paying more attention. After an hour or so we could smell smoke and the train ground to a halt, covered in a cloud of smelly smoke. The conductor casually, but quickly, went through our car (we were in number 1) and opened the door to the engine room. I could see his head sticking outside looking up and down the train while smoke continued to billow from somewhere. Patricia and I got ready to leave in a hurry, but no one sounded an alarm. We sat for a few minutes then the train moved about 50 feet, noisily and with more smoke. More waiting. Then, with more noise, the train lurched back into motion and we completed our journey to Seville. No explanation for what happened. It may be a good thing that that was our last train in Spain for this trip.
Our Airbnb apartment in Seville is ideally located. We can see La Giralda, the bell tower of the cathedral, from our windows. We are in a small complex in the old part of town, but this year our location is much quieter than last year. Everything is within walking distance. In fact, for dinner we walked down to a restaurant that was a favorite of our last year.
On Sunday we went back to the Fine Arts Museum, a place we really liked last year. There was a little art market with lots of local vendors set up in the surrounding plaza. We talked to one of the artists in a mixture of English and Spanish and Patricia acquired some new jewelry. The artist knew about pueblo ceramics from New Mexico–even if he was a bit vague about where New Mexico is–so we had a good conversation. [Several times in our travels people have said Ah, Mexico, I know where that is: South of Texas. One of the first things Alejandro Lopez, who is helping me with Spanish, and I worked on was describing where New Mexico is so I was able to give a pretty good location. What worked best was to say that it is between Texas and Arizona.]
When we entered the museum I was prepared to ask for a discounted entry because we qualify as “pensionistas” (or “mayores”) but we were delighted to be told that entry was free that day. We enjoyed revisiting this great museum, which should be a must-see, again knowing that we could come back again if we wanted.
Sunday evening we want to a flamenco performance at the Flamenco Museum, which is right around the corner from us. It was great. The dancers move so quickly that it is hard to get good pictures and videos aren’t allowed, but I think our memories will have to do.
Our apartment is so well situated that we were able to see the total eclipse from our window. Unfortunately, the “total” part came at 4:45 in the morning, so we did not get the best night’s sleep.
On Monday morning we found a small restaurant that we thought would have typical things for desayuno (breakfast) but surprisingly it also offered a “Full English Breakfast” of beans, toast, sausage, toast, and coffee which Patricia had.
We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon at the Royal Alcazar, which is still a royal palace. It was started by the Moors and taken over by the Catholics during the reconquest, but they had the good sense to see and keep and even extend the wonderful architecture and gardens. We had a map, but didn’t follow it. We wandered around admiring the rooms, paintings, vaulted and wood-covered ceilings, and tapestries before we went out to the gardens.
[Those of you who are Game of Thrones on HBO fans will have seen the gardens and rooms in some of the last episodes.] The gardens are really extensive and we were able to find a grape arbor under which we sat for a while.
We are doing our best to support the local economy, so after the Alcazar we found a place that offered really good tapas and we had a little snack. Later on in the evening we went out for a while and encountered the first rain we have seen on this trip. That “forced” us to go into a restaurant and have a late evening pizza–with enough left over for Patricia’s morning snack. [We may be turning into hobbits: there is always an opportunity for a meal or snack.]
Tuesday morning, after a more typical Spanish breakfast (they tend to be light), we visited the Parque de Maria Louisa, which is a public park along the Guadalquivir River, and the Plaza de España. To get there, we walked through the famous Royal Tobacco Factory (made famous in the opera Carmen) which is now a large art school.
The gardens are quite extensive with some ponds and fountains, but not as well tended and colorful as the gardens in the Alcazar. Plaza de España is very large and has an arc of classical-looking buildings on the east side, but I was surprised to find that the plaza and building are less than 100 years old.
[I’ll try to make a panorama out of some of the pictures I took.] We enjoyed our walk and saw some of the building that were created for the world exhibition in the 1920s.
Then we walked back to the Cathedral, the third largest church in the world and the largest cathedral. This was another place we visited last year but which we wanted to see again. The line to get in looked long, so we had some gelato while we waited. [See what I mean about food opportunities?] The wait was worth it, of course.
It isn’t that the best thing about the Cathedral is its size, but one has to be impressed by that as well as by the beautiful interior, the stained glass, and the sense of history. We saw a number of places inside that we didn’t have time for last year and we thoroughly enjoyed walking around being impressed by everything we saw. We even heard the organ, which is really large, playing while we were outside.
Tonight we went to a flamenco espactaculo (which sounds grand, but means “a show”) at the Casa de la Memoria. We saw and heard really good flamenco again. It looked like the performers were enjoying themselves. They certainly delighted us.For the second night in a row we ran into a small bit of rain as we waited to get into the theater, but it was no problem. Afterwards, even though it was a bit cool, we sat outside at a tapas place near the apartment for a late evening snack.
Added pictures to the Pictures Page on September 30.