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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Day in Seville


We left Estepona to begin our 2 1/2 hour journey 
to Seville in the dark of night.  As we drove we 
could see dawn breaking over north Africa.

The day was looking bright and sunny and I was
hoping to find lots of treasures at the Thursday
Antique Market in Seville.  We were making great
time and then the rain started.  We made it to the
city and got terribly lost and ended up in a part of
the city that was definitely not for tourists, we were
on the tiny streets that I call "mirror scrapers" in
our Citroen Picasso that I called Das Boot.  After a 
long backtrack we parked near the bullring and 
started our day of exploring.


We hopped a bus to the Macarena district in
the northern part of the city.  I went into an
antique store to ask about the market but 
they said it would be canceled due to the rain.
Noooooo...


So we went to church instead.  Specifically
to the Basilica of Nuestra Senora de la 
Esperanza Macarena.  It is a small but
beautiful Neobaroque church built in the
20th century.


It is so well known because it houses the 
Virgin of Hope statue, the most revered
image in Seville.


The wooden statue dates from the 17th
century.  La Macarena is the Patron 
Saint of matadors.


You can climb behind the altar to 
view the church as the Madonna does.


Through mirrors on each side we can view
her face, including the crystal tears of the
Crying Virgin.


The museum attached to the church 
houses the floats, costumes and treasury
of the Holy Week Brotherhood.  These
items are used in the Holy Week processions
called Semana Santa which happen all over
Spain during Holy Week but are very popular
and elaborate in Seville.


This paseo shows:  When Pilate saw that he could
 prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, 
he took water, and washed his hands before the 
multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this 
just person: see ye to it.


The rain had stopped when we left the 
church so we decided to walk back to the
central part of the city.  We took lots of
photos, popped into a bakery for a little
treat to eat on the way...


... now, it may have taken a bit longer than
anticipated since I jumped into every other 
doorway to take photos of the tiles in the
vestibules.  So beautiful.


Seville is a very pretty city,  I always feel 
the best way to get to know a place is to
walk its streets.


We finally made it down to the beautiful
plaza near the Cathedral.


The Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede is
the largest Gothic cathedral and the 3rd
largest church in the world.  


I have been in A LOT of Gothic cathedrals
and I have to admit I am not a big fan.


I find them too large and too cold.  Now 
Mr. Wonderful and I differ on this subject.
When we are traveling around Europe there
is often a church on every block and we often
have this same conversation:

Mr. W:  Ohhh, look a church.
Me: We can't go into every church we see.
Mr. W: I'll just pop in really fast...
Me:  Grrrrr...

So here is my confession.  I had words 
with Mr. W in the cathedral.  Maybe it was
because we were up before dawn, maybe 
because we walked what felt like many 
miles, okay, maybe I was cranky but 
essentially I told Mr. W to find himself a 
church that travels and go visit churches 
with them.  Yeah, not my finest moment.
And I was in church.


I can appreciate the architecture ~ yes.


But I find that I can't help thinking
about Martin Luther...


An interesting fact about the cathedral is
the presence of the tomb of Christopher
Columbus, though there is a dispute about
whether or not his remains are actually here.


I soon escaped to the Patio de 
las Naranjos.  It is filled with the
beautiful orange trees that are seen
all over Seville.  Don't be tempted to 
eat them though, they are bitter and 
used for marmalade.


From the patio you can see the Giralda
Bell Tower ~ a former minaret of the 
mosque that stood on the site.


After a little time in a cafe I was in a 
better mood which is generally what 
happens when I visit a cafe.  We then
visited the Alcazar of Seville, a Royal
Palace and formerly a Moorish fort.


I have heard the Alcazar described as 
a small Alhambra.  I would agree, I 
found it to be more colorful than the
Alhambra.


The gardens are breathtaking, even
in February.


And there was one after another...


after another.


The rains started again so we walked
back to our car and headed home and 
thought we were doing so well when 
once again we missed the road we needed
and this time it was in rush hour traffic.
Ugh.
When we finally found our way we had
a pretty frightening trip home through the
mountains in a downpour.


But we had to get home because we were
going to see Flamenco that night.

Then home to pack because we were moving to
a different village the next day and we had to be
up before dawn again since we were headed to
Granada the next day, another 2 1/2 hour trip
through the mountains in the other direction.

And this is why we often feel we need a 
vacation after our vacation...

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